Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Blog Tour + #Giveaway: BAN THIS BOOK by Alan Gratz @AlanGratz @JeanBookNerd


An inspiring tale of a fourth-grader who fights back when her favorite book is banned from the school library--by starting her own illegal locker library!

It all started the day Amy Anne Ollinger tried to check out her favorite book in the whole world, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, from the school library. That's when Mrs. Jones, the librarian, told her the bad news: her favorite book was banned! All because a classmate's mom thought the book wasn't appropriate for kids to read.

Amy Anne decides to fight back by starting a secret banned books library out of her locker. Soon, she finds herself on the front line of an unexpected battle over book banning, censorship, and who has the right to decide what she and her fellow students can read.

Reminiscent of the classic novel Frindle by Andrew Clements for its inspiring message, Ban This Book is a love letter to the written word and its power to give kids a voice.

Praise for BAN THIS BOOK

“Readers, librarians, and all those books that have drawn a challenge have a brand new hero in Amy Anne Ollinger. She's a true champion and testament to how doing a good thing is the first step in finding your own courage."―Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor winning author of The Underneath

"Ban This Book is absolutely brilliant and belongs on the shelves of every library in the multiverse."―Lauren Myracle, author of the best-selling Internet Girls series, the most challenged books of 2009 and 2011

"A stout defense of the right to read." ―Kirkus Reviews

“Gratz delivers a book lover’s book that speaks volumes about kids’ power to effect change at a grassroots level." ―Publisher’s Weekly


My Favorite Book (And Why)

The late bus dropped me off in my neighborhood and I stood by the curb, looking down the street at my yellow house. Inside that house right now were Thing 1 and Thing 2, my two annoying little sisters. I closed my eyes and shuddered at the thought of having to spend one more minute with them. You haven’t met them yet, but trust me—if there was a prize for Worst Siblings of the Century, Alexis and Angelina would rank right above Fudge Hatcher, Stink Moody, and Edmund Pevensie—and Edmund Pevensie basically sold his brothers and sisters out to the White Witch for a plate of desserts.
Right then and there I thought about running away from home, just like the main characters in my favorite book.
Did I tell you what my favorite book is? The one that got banned from the Shelbourne Elementary Library? The one I said I would go to a school board meeting and talk about? Out loud? In front of other people? It’s From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. I like a lot of other books too, especially Island of the Blue Dolphins, Hatchet, My Side of the Mountain, Hattie Big Sky, The Sign of the Beaver, and Julie of the Wolves.Basically any story where the main character gets to live alone. Indian Captive is pretty great too, even though Mary Jemison has to live in an Indian village. But I would rather live with Indian kidnappers than live with my two stupid younger sisters.
I turned away from my house and looked down the road that led out of my subdivision toward the four-lane. Papa Taco, our favorite Mexican restaurant, was just fifteen minutes away by car. I could run away to there. How long would it take me to walk it? I shook my head. Even if I made it, what was I going to do?
In From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Claudia and her little brother Jamie run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and hide out every night in the bathrooms so the security guards don’t find them. I could hide out in the Papa Taco bathroom until they locked up for the night, but then I’d just be stuck in a Mexican restaurant all night. Now, if I could somehow get to the library …
My dreams of running away died as my mom’s car turned into the subdivision and came my way. I waited until she stopped alongside me and rolled down her window.
“Hey, stranger. Thinking about running away?”
“Of course I was thinking about running away. Every day I stand here and think about how I could fill my backpack with a change of clothes and all the money I have—which isn’t much, because you don’t give me enough allowance—and ride the late bus until it dropped me off somewhere closer to the mall, where I could sleep every night on the beds in the department store.”
That’s what I wanted to say. But of course I didn’t. Instead I said, “No.”
Mom was lighter-skinned than me, with frizzy hair and big dimples in her cheeks when she smiled, like she was now. “Hop in,” she said. “How was school?” she asked as we cruised the thirty seconds to our driveway.
I wanted to say, “It was awful! My favorite book got banned and Mrs. Jones asked me to come to a school board meeting and talk about it and I said yes and I don’t know how I’ll ever do it!” But instead I just said, “Fine.”
“Don’t put your braids in your mouth,” Mom told me for the millionth time. My whole head is covered in braids, some of them with little beads at the bottom. I suck on them when I get nervous. Which is a lot.
Mom pulled in beside Dad’s truck. I got out and stood by the car, reluctant to go inside.
“Oh, come on,” Mom said. “It’s not that bad.”
“Oh yes it is,” I wanted to say. But of course I didn’t.


Alan Gratz‘s first novel, Samurai Shortstop, was named one of the ALA’s 2007 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults. His second novel, Something Rotten, was a 2008 ALA Quick Pick for Young Adult Readers, and was followed by a sequel, Something Wicked, in October 2008. His first middle grade novel, The Brooklyn Nine, was one of the ALA’s Top Ten Sports Books for Youth and Top Ten Historical Books for Youth, and his middle grade Holocaust novel Prisoner B-3087 was one of YALSA’s 2014 Best Fiction for Young Readers and has won seven state awards. His latest novels are the YA thriller Code of Honor, a YALSA 2016 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and The Monster War, the third book in his middle grade steampunk League of Seven trilogy.

Alan’s short fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, online at Tor.com, and in the anthologies Half-Minute Horrors and Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction, which benefitted victims of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

As the first Artist in Residence at the American School in Japan in 2010, Alan spent six weeks teaching historical fiction-writing to middle school students in Tokyo, and he was the Thurber House Children’s Writer in Residence in 2011, living and writing in James Thurber’s attic for a month while working with young writers from all around the Columbus, Ohio area.

In addition to writing plays, magazine articles, and a few episodes of A&E’s City Confidential, Alan has taught catapult-building to middle-schoolers, written more than 6,000 radio commercials, sold other people’s books, lectured at a Czech university, and traveled the galaxy as a space ranger. (One of these, it should be pointed out, is not true.)
Alan was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, home of the 1982 World’s Fair. After a carefree but humid childhood, Alan attended the University of Tennessee, where he earned a College Scholars degree with a specialization in creative writing, and, later, a Master’s degree in English education. He now lives with his wife Wendi and his daughter Jo in the high country of Western North Carolina, where he enjoys playing games, eating pizza, and, perhaps not too surprisingly, reading books.

Photo Credit: Wes Stitt


--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

- 10 Winners will receive a Copy of BAN THIS BOOK by Alan Gratz


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