Property of the Rebel Librarian
Property of the Rebel Librarian
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Annotation: When twelve-year-old June's parents overreact after finding an "inappropriate" library book, June's enjoyment of school unravels. But when she spots a Little Free Library, she realizes she doesn't have to give up her beloved books.
Catalog Number: #167621
Format: Perma-Bound from Publisher's Hardcover
Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 275 pages
Availability: Indefinitely Out of Stock
ISBN: Publisher: 1-524-77147-3 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-2257-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-524-77147-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-2257-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018001349
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
After seventh grader June Harper's ultra-strict parents catch her reading a book they deem inappropriate, they launch a campaign to remove the school librarian and many of the books in the library. June starts a secret lending library in her locker and discovers a stronger, braver side of herself. Despite some underdeveloped characters, this is a snappy story of rebellion that should galvanize young book lovers.
Kirkus Reviews
Seventh-grader June Harper sets up a secret lending library when her school decides to ban books.When June's overprotective father finds a school library copy of a book called The Makings of a Witch, her parents put pressure on the school to place Ms. Bradshaw, the school librarian, on administrative leave and, in addition to emptying June's home library, to strip the school library of anything deemed inappropriate. "Students in possession of unapproved texts will face disciplinary action," reads the board resolution, and teachers will be fired. As a rule-follower, June is conflicted, but she can't help feeling that this is wrong. Compounding her confusion are her reciprocated crush on eighth-grader Graham, who asks her to lie low and choose between him and books, and her best friend, Emma, who sympathizes with Graham. When June finds a Little Free Library in her neighborhood, she is inspired to create a contraband lending library in an abandoned locker. This quickly grows into a movement, if only users can keep it a secret. Varnes' debut is a straightforward advocacy book for children's right to make their own reading choices. Most characters default white except for brown-skinned implied Latina Abby Rodriguez. June's narration is sometimes clumsy, and some characters, such as June's parents, are thinly developed and come across as extreme. The ending, however, is realistically open-ended.An accessible introduction to the importance of the freedom to read. (Fiction. 8-12)
Publishers Weekly
When 12-year-old June-s father finds a library book he deems inappropriate among her belongings, her protective parents go on a censoring rampage, taking away the book and auditing her personal library-even, eventually, rewriting the end to Old Yeller. Before she knows it, they-ve called a PTA meeting, removed books from the school library (-It-s called a book extraction,- her father says), and gotten the librarian suspended. When June discovers a Little Free Library along a new route to school, and other kids learn that she has access to books, June soon finds herself running an underground library. Her crush, Graham, has asked her out, but his participation in the censorship has her questioning their relationship, especially after she meets new book-loving friends. When a school witch hunt for anyone with banned books reveals June-s role, she must decide if she has the strength to fight for the right to read. Debut author Varnes-s painting of overbearing parents occasionally feels over the top (their book rewrites extend to pasting over fart jokes), but the farcical take also drives home important points about bureaucracy, oversight, and freedom. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7 To say 12-year-old June is passionate about books would be an understatement. Luckily, she has a great school librarian, Ms. Bradshaw, to feed her voracious appetite. But when her strict parents decide her latest check-out, The Makings of a Witch , is inappropriate, they start an all-out war against the freedom to read. Ms. Bradshaw is suspended, the majority of the books are removed from the school library, and students may only read from a list of approved titles. Fortunately for the students at Oakwood Middle, June is an activist in training. She starts an underground library filled with books from fellow students and the town's Little Free Library. Before she knows it, June is the most popular girl in school and reading is the coolest thing to do. This debut novel tackles the issue of censorship in a humorous and engaging way. June is a worthy and winsome heroine who is sure to charm. Every book title mentioned in the story is included in a list at the end. VERDICT This funny and fast read could be used to fuel discussions about book banning, censorship in general, and activism. Tiffany Davis, Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, NY
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Horn Book (4/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (8/1/18)
Word Count: 49,756
Reading Level: 3.9
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.9 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 199140 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.2 / points:11.0 / quiz:Q77506
Lexile: 560L
Guided Reading Level: W
Fountas & Pinnell: W

You're going to read a lot about me and the things I've done. Most of it's true.


I can't help that, not that I'd want to.


I would do the exact same thing all over again if I had the chance.


It's like when you read a sad book for the second time. You know the moment is coming, and you know it's going to make you cry, but that doesn't stop you. You read it anyway, because you love the story.


So take your time. I'll just be sitting here, grounded for all eternity, while you read about the moments when everything fell together and apart. They're all here. Every last one.




The front door swings open after I walk home from school, right on schedule. Except today, Dad holds my copy of The Makings of a Witch.


I grin up at him, but he doesn't return my smile.


The flush of rising blood pressure snakes across Dad's pale face to his ears. It looks like he raked his hand over his light brown hair a million times while pacing in front of the window. That's what he did when they finally let Kate go out on her first date. Back and forth, back and forth, right in front of the window until she showed up on the doorstep. Except she made curfew and then the show was over. This one is just getting started, and I have no idea why.


Dad signals to the empty spot by Mom on the love seat.


"Would you care to explain this?" he says, holding up the novel.


I shrug. "Um, it's a book?"


He stares at me through his tortoiseshell glasses until I look away. "Yes. One that we don't approve of."


I don't understand. They've always been okay with the books I've read. I squirm on the stiff cushions. "Dad, it's just a book. I--"


"What concerns me more than anything"--he taps the bar code sticker--"is that it's from the Dogwood Middle library, of all places."


The grandfather clock ticks away the seconds while I squirm. I can't watch TV or use the family computer without someone looking over my shoulder, but books have always been safe. Mom cross-stitched readers are winners on a couch pillow to prove it.


"Dad, I--"


"No buts, June. You know the rules."


Dad is president of the PTSA, and he keeps his thumb on everything at Dogwood Middle. Especially me. It doesn't matter that I'm twelve and have never, ever given Dad a real reason to worry. Did anyone ask me to the school dance last week? Nope. Why would they, when he'd follow us the whole time?


The best part of Dad's day is hassling my teachers about posting my grades online. Easy to do because he works from home as a tech consultant. It's so embarrassing. Sixth grade was bad enough, but things got ten times worse in August when Kate left for college.


Dad gently taps the novel against his knee. "Missing kids. Witches. It's too scary for you."


"No, it isn't! I like creepy stuff. If you'd just--"


"No. This sort of thing won't happen again. Understand, June, it's our job to protect you. It would be nice if you'd meet us halfway. Until you do, you're grounded. No TV. No phone. No internet."


"What?" I've never even been grounded before.


"You heard me. Rules are rules."


Mom shakes her head with disappointment.


Shame creeps up my face, making me flush red like I always do when I'm upset. I want to crawl under the couch. Was it wrong of me to read that book?


"I'll return it after school tomorrow," Mom says.


Oh no. Tomorrow is our last game of the season, and Mom will be there anyway because she runs the uniform closet for our marching band. I can't believe this is happening. Poor Ms. Bradshaw, the librarian, is going to get a visit from my mom, and then there won't be a hole big enough for me to hide in.


What have I done?

Excerpted from Property of the Rebel Librarian by Allison Varnes
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Celebrate the freedom to read with this timely, empowering middle-grade debut in the spirit of The View from Saturday or Frindle.

When twelve-year-old June Harper's parents discover what they deem an inappropriate library book, they take strict parenting to a whole new level. And everything June loves about Dogwood Middle School unravels: librarian Ms. Bradshaw is suspended, an author appearance is canceled, the library is gutted, and all books on the premises must have administrative approval.

But June can't give up books . . . and she realizes she doesn't have to when she spies a Little Free Library on her walk to school. As the rules become stricter at school and at home, June keeps turning the pages of the banned books that continue to appear in the little library. It's a delicious secret . . . and one she can't keep to herself. June starts a banned book library of her own in an abandoned locker at school. The risks grow alongside her library's popularity, and a movement begins at Dogwood Middle--a movement that, if exposed, could destroy her. But if it's powerful enough, maybe it can save Ms. Bradshaw and all that she represents: the freedom to read.

Equal parts fun and empowering, this novel explores censorship, freedom of speech, and activism. For any kid who doesn't believe one person can effect change...and for all the kids who already know they can!

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