Sunday, October 4, 2009

Robert Cormier: Banned, Challenged, and Censored

Robert Cormier: Banned, Challenged, and Censored, by W. H. Beckman. Published in 2008 by Enslow Publishers in Berkeley Heights, NJ.

A short (about 160 pages), illustrated guide, structured for use in middle and senior high schools as a teaching aid for the discussion of literature and censorship. This book gives a brief history of censorship in general, then describes book challenges around one particular author, Robert Cormier. Cormier was a prolific writer in several genres, including Young Adult fiction. Among his well-known Young Adult novels are I Am the Cheese, We All Fall Down and After the First Death. His book The Chocolate War was been among the most challenged school and library books during the 1990s.

This guide reviews several of Cormier's books, discussing their plots, and the literary devices used by the author (metaphor, imagery, symbolism, etc.). It also describes the claims by challengers and counter claims by supporters. Discussion questions for classroom use are included.

This really is an excellent resource for adults as well as teens.

The best news is that it's part of a series. Companion volumes, all with the Banned, Challenged, and Censored subtitle, focus on J.K. Rowling, John Steinbeck, Medeleine L'Engle, and Mark Twain.

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