"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Banned Books Week Review: I am Jazz

Banned Books Week display at the Puyallup Public Library. Teeny-tiny versions of banned books are in book jail.

Today I made a trip downtown to pick up two books on the 2017 Most Challenged Books list published by the ALA: I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and Drama by Raina Telgemeier. Both were sitting on the hold shelf waiting for me. I checked them out after stopping by and chatting with the librarians about my choices and their display. I was so excited to get to reading them but I didn't check them out carefully before leaving the library. Drama was a Spanish-language version. Ha! Imagine my disappointment. I don't speak Spanish so I may even have to swing by a bookstore to get this one if I want it before the end of the week. Sigh. But I was able to read I Am Jazz quickly as it is designed for young readers.

Jazz describes herself as a person with a girl brain and a boy body. She never felt comfortable wearing boys clothes or doing "boy-like" activities. Her whole life she has loved things like mermaids, dancing, makeup, singing, back flips, and wants to be a pop star. When she was young, her family would allow her to wear girl clothes at home but not out in public. Finally one day her parents took her to meet a doctor who explained that Jazz is transgender. Since that time her family has accepted her as she is, as do most people at school once they get to know her.

The book is short, probably around 20 pages long, with darling illustrations by Shelagh McNicholas. If I was a parent of young children this would definitely be on my family reading list. Even if you don't have a concern that your child is transgender, it is a beautiful book about how to treat people who are different. It is based on the true life experiences of Jazz Jennings, who is now an advocate for transkids everywhere.

So why was I Am Jazz challenged and possibly banned so many times last year? The only thing I can think of is that some parents are afraid if they mention words like "transgender" or "homosexual" or "Buddhist", etc., that their children will become one. I Am Jazz was published in 2014 and has been on the top ten list of challenged books for each year since then.

Run to your public library this week and check out a banned books. It will encourage your library to make more purchases of banned books in the future!

For the complete list of the top ten challenged books of 2017 follow this link to the ALA webpage.


  1. Sounds like a fascinating read. I've never understood why some people think that they can be turned into something so easily. They are so threatened by any differences?

  2. I love the banned books exhibit with the books in a tiny jail; very clever. I just posted my banned books reading today as well.

  3. Love the book jail! Your Tuesday post got me all fired up about Banned Books Week and banned books in general, so I've been posting about them as well.

    What upsets me most about banning books like Drama or I Am Jazz is what a hateful message it send to kids who are gay or transgender. Like, "You are so offensive that you shouldn't even exist." I am happy to report that my small town middle school students are much more open to LGBQT characters than they were twenty years ago, and that even the kind of kid who mindless calls things "gay" as an insult is still boggled by the idea that these books have been challenged or banned.


I look forward to your comments and interactions! Join in the conversation.