Monday, December 1, 2014

The Seven Deadly Sings by Nakaba Suzuki

In Britannia, The Seven Deadly Sins, feared worries, have been exiled.  But when the king's guards, the Holy Knights, imprisoned the king and stage a coup, princess Elizabeth goes off to search for The Seven Deadly Sins, the only ones who could fight the Holy Knights.

Dammit, The Seven Deadly Sins.  I am so disappointed in you.  It all started off so promising.  "This is great," thought I.  A middle grade manga with action and adventure and a cool story.  But no.  No.  It is not to be.

Because of the groping and the breast grabbing and ass touching and obnoxious innuendo turns what would have otherwise been a delightful middle grade read into something I can't justify putting in my library.  And I am highly annoyed.

The first of the Sins Elizabeth comes across is Meliodas, who's apparently Wrath despite the fact he's perpetually cheery.  Elizabeth faints pretty much as soon as she gets in the door of Meliodas' tavern.  She was dressed in armor, so he's surprised to see she's a girl.  He proceeds to confirm the fact she's a girl by sniffing her (the drawing is him sniffing her crotch) and squeezing her breasts.

The first chapter has Meliodas rescuing Elizabeth from various near death experiences.  She keeps getting flung into the air.  Meliodas catches her, and every time he does, we get another breast grabbing picture.

Elizabeth is portrayed as naive and dense.  At no point does she tell him to knock off groping her.  She is just so grateful for his help.  At one point, they're searching for another one of the Sins in a forest.  Elizabeth says, "Something's touching my butt."  "Don't worry.  It's just me" (illustration of him with her hand under her skirt touching her ass)  "Oh, that's a relief.  I was scared for a second there" is her response.  Ew.  Gross.  Making me uncomfortable.  Meliodas has a talking pig, Hawk, who tells Meliodas to "stop," and "this is not the time," and "That shouldn't be a relief!"  I think having a character say those things is suppose to make the fact that those things are happening OK.  But it doesn't.  It doesn't stop it from being icky or from Elizabeth submissively taking it.

And it doesn't make it any better for a middle school librarian looking for manga.  I cannot put this in my library, and that's frustrating, because there's nothing wrong with the story.  Why'd the smarmy groping have to be put in?  It doesn't add anything.  Meliodas isn't even the Sin of lust.  At least then he'd have a reason (although not an excuse) for his actions..  All it accomplishes is limiting who can read this book.

The Seven Deadly Sins is rated T, which is 13+ but I don't think that's appropriate.  I mean, the story is definitely T, but the fondling puts it out of the T range.  Again, it's a shame.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

News

The Ferguson library gives a lesson in community.  From Salon.
Four Questions for...Jacqueline Woodson.  From PW.


Jacqueline Woodson: 'I don't want anyone to feel invisible.'  From The Guardian.


Meanwhile In America, Brown Girls Are Still Dreaming.  From BuzzFeed.

Winnie the Pooh banned from Polish playground for being 'inappropriate hermaphrodite.'  From The Independent. 

If everyone loved reading as much as this 8-year-old does, the world would be better.  From Vox.

How The Hunger Games Team Brought Mockingjay – Part 1 From The Page To The Screen.  From BuzzFeed.
The 5 biggest differences between the Mockingjay book and movie.  From USA Today.

How The Hunger Games Challenges Old Hollywood Expectations About Gender Roles.  From BuzzFeed.

I Sacrifice, Therefore I Am Good: Young Adult Fiction Heroines and Self-Destruction.  From PopMatters.

Neil Gaiman: Why Disney's Sleeping Beauty doesn't work.  From The Telegraph.

Best Books 2014.  From SLJ.

Tennessee School District’s Tech Policy Blocks Students’ Constitutional Rights, ACLU Says.  From The Digital Shift.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

News

St. Louis School librarian offers LibGuide on Ferguson.  From SLJ.

Why Tamora Pierce should be Hollywood's favorite author right now.  From io9.

What young adult novels have taught me about how America will be destroyed.  From JuneauEmpire.com.

Do authors of YA novels glamorise crime, or help readers to avoid it?  From The Guardian.

Amazon, Hachette end ebook pricing dispute.  From Library Journal.

Highland Park ISD says six books will require parental permission.  From dallasnews.com.

How to read: step by step instructions to pleasure reading.  From YALSA The Hub.

Time-management tips for book-group discussion leaders.  From The Booklist Reader.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis

Fin has a strange ability: he's instantly forgettable.  It's part of what makes him a master thief.  And also incredibly lonely.  Fin lives in a world filled with magic and monsters, all connected by the Pirate Steam, which is made of magic itself.  Marrill is use to going on adventures with her parents, but now her mother is sick again, and Marrill is afraid.  When the Pirate Stream accidentally bumps into Marrill's world in a search of the Map to Everywhere, Marrill jumps at the chance of magic that might cure her mother.  Fin hopes the Map to Everywhere will help him to find his mother, but they'll have to stop the end of all words first.

This was a great start to a new fantasy series.  Marrill and Fin were both fully realized characters, and there's some excellent world building going on.  This is a series I will definitely get for my library, and would be interested in reading more as they come out.

All the different worlds are touched by the Pirate Stream, and the more magical worlds have more of a connection to it.  That's why Marrill's regular world (our world) hardly ever sees the Stream.  Fin's world, filled with magic, has a harbor that connects to the Stream.  If something should happen to the Pirate Stream though, all words are effected.

Friday, November 21, 2014

News

Barbie book implies girls can't be coders; Mattel apologizes.  You can read parts of the original here.  And you can read an awesome remix here.

CO Students Protest Proposed Changes to ‘Censor’ AP History.  From SLJ.

A good night for children's books at the 2014 National Book Awards.  From PW.

Miami, Florida: With No Internet at Home, Kids Crowd Libraries for Online Homework.  From Library Journal.

Ladybird drops branding books ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls’.  From The Guardian.

Daniel Handler makes some highly inappropriate remarks at the National Book Awards.  He has since apologized.

The Trouble With Teen Programming.  From SLJ.

SLJ's review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - part 1.

5 YA Books to Read During Learning Disabilities Awareness Month.   YALSA The Hub.

California: 100,000 Los Angeles Elementary Students Still Without Libraries.  From Library Journal.

Comic Books Are Still Made By Men, For Men And About Men.  From FiveThirtyEightLife.

13-year-old girl wins Minecraft Hunger Games Tournament on International Games Day.  From SLJ.

Latinas For Latino Lit: 'Remarkable' Children's Books of 2014.  From NBC News.

Comics in Schools and Libraries.  From SLJ.

24 things YA fans are tired of hearing.  From BuzzFeed.

The Freedom Libraries of Mississippi.  From SLJ.

10 facts about Beverly Cleary's Ramona.  From mental_floss.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Paper Cowboy by Kristin Levine

It's 1953, and Tommy just wants to hang out with friends, be a cowboy and pretend to fight communists.  But then Tommy's older sister Mary Lou is terribly burned in an accident, and things begin to fall apart.  Tommy's mother, who was always moody, has violent outbursts and beats Tommy.  Tommy starts bullying other kids at school, and frames a shopkeeper for being a communist.  Rumors of communism spread out of control, and Tommy doesn't know what to do to set things right.

This was very well done.  The story is about Tommy and his family, but it's all the more powerful for being set against a backdrop of McCarthyism.  Tommy doesn't realize the consequences of his actions when he puts a communist newspaper in Mr. McKenzie's store.  He's angry and wants to do something mean.  It's shocking to him how quickly people turn away from Mr. McKenzie and boycott his store, even when it's made clear it was a prank.  Everyone is so afraid of being labeled a communist.  Tommy decides to find out who the communist newspaper actually belonged to, thereby finding the real communist and clearing Mr. McKenzie's name.  Every time he's ready to accuse someone else, he realizes things were not what they seem to be.  It takes a while for Tommy to learn not to make quick accusations, and also, that having different beliefs don't make a person bad.

The story of Tommy's family is a sad one.  Today, Tommy's mother would probably be diagnosed with a manic depressive disorder.  There are scenes of her staying up all night cleaning or cooking, and then spending days refusing to get up.  She could go from sweet to violent in a second, and seemed paranoid about people making fun of her.  After Mary Lou is burned and hospitalized, Tommy's mother because more physically violent.  His father doesn't know how to deal with it, and rather than protecting his children he stays away from home as much as possible.  It falls on Tommy to take care of his two little sisters, and take up Mary Lou's paper route.

Tommy, who has no one to vent his feelings to, turns into a bully at school.  In particular he picks on the new boy, Sam, who is Mr. McKenzie's son.  Tommy and his friend Eddie are cruel to Sam, making fun of him, tricking him, and getting him into trouble.  It was an interesting perspective to see where a bully might come from.  It doesn't excuse Tommy's actions, but it was understandable that he might lash out in this way.

Things finally reach a breaking point and Tommy has to make some hard choices.  He learns to ask for help and that accepting charity is not a bad thing.  There are people around him who can support him.

It sounds like there's a lot going on in this book, and there is, but it all worked together perfectly.  Great historical fiction read.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

News

No Shortage of Kids' Comics at New York Comic Con.  From PW. 

29 Moments Any Librarian Knows Too Well.  But it feels so good when you figure out the book from, "I think it was blue..."!  From BuzzFeed.

After Some Victories, the Time Has Come to Legally Define ‘Fair Use’.  From The Open Standard.

Highland Park, Texas censoring books based on ALA’s Most Frequently Challenged List.  From OIF Blog.

Sita Brahmachari: the importance of diverse names in children's books.  The Guardian.
Finalists for 2014 NBA in Young People's Literature Announced.  From PW.

CNN predicts what teens will be reading next.

And then the queen kissed the princess: fairytales get a modern makeover.  From The Guardian.
S. E. Hinton and the Y.A. Debate.  From The New Yorker.

Warner Bros. is making more 'Harry Potter' movies — possibly a lot more.  From The Verge.

Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time?  From The New York Times.

Madeline, the Everygirl who never grows old.  CBS News.

On the Books: John Green celebrates 10 years since debut 'Looking for Alaska'.  From Entertainment Weekly.

Where are all the disabled characters in children's books?  From The Guardian.

'SNL' Parodies Every Young Adult Novel Ever Made With 'The Group Hopper,' And We'd Totally See It.  From Bustle.
 

A World of Beloved Books (According to Facebook).  Harry Potter wins everything.  From The Atlantic.

How Videogames Like Minecraft Actually Help Kids Learn to Read.  From Wired.

Diverse voices: the 50 best culturally diverse children's books.  From The Guardian.

How Canadian Jon Klassen became one of the most sought-after children's book illustrators in the world.  From The Globe and Mail.
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