If you haven't tuned in to the book challenge of Kate Messner's new book, CLICK HERE to read what she has to say.
If you'd like to read a short, honest review, recently posted on the Barnes & Noble site, here it is.
I'd like to add my two-cents worth. First of all, as a former librarian, I know how tricky book selection can be. You have a limited amount of funds. You want to buy books your students and teachers will check out and use, or books they need for many reasons. Books you can in all honesty recommend, either from your personal reading or professional reviews. There are all kinds of reasons not to buy every single book that has a good review, even several starred reviews.
But I have a lot of trouble understanding why this book and Kate's author visit wouldn't be allowed into ANY school.
In the interest of full disclosure, let me say I know Kate Messner.
I've met her in person at events our (shared, but not for this book) publisher has sponsored.
This summer I'm even taking part in her amazing initiative, TEACHERS WRITE.
But long ago I decided never to recommend a book I haven't read. Or at least carefully skimmed and read about. I'll "share" others' opinions/ booklists/tweets and posts with a comment that I'm looking forward to reading this book or I've heard great things. But I'd never review a book or rave about it or even blog about something I haven't actually read. No matter WHO writes it.
So yesterday, I read THE SEVENTH WISH.
If you're still with me, let me say I'm highly recommending this book.
I'm planning to buy it for at least one middle-grade reader I know. I think she'll enjoy it for many reasons, as I did. The story has wonderful layers, from Irish dancing to friendships and a humorous hint of a boy-girl crush which turns into friendship. A magical talking fish.
There's even ice fishing!
But none of those storylines are what got THE SEVENTH WISH banned from a school.
And this is where I have trouble with book selection.
There is absolutely nothing in Charlie and her sister's relationship that didn't ring true.
There is absolutely nothing, as far as I could tell, that wasn't validated by Kate's extensive research on drug addiction.
I know from personal, sad experience how families struggle with these issues. Young readers who need this book will take away a lot of truth. Nothing good comes from not talking about an addiction. If libraries and librarians are the places and people we hope kids come to for information and support and safety, THE SEVENTH WISH--and books like this-- are what they need to find there.
Today Kate shared the update on this issue and I recommend that all of us CLICK OVER TO HER POST and read about the conversation she's having with the librarian and principal at the school which cancelled her visit.
As I said before, I totally understand the difficulties of "book selection" and I applaud the open dialog between authors and schools that this situation requires.