|Attack of the black rectangles|
Author: King, A. S.
When sixth-grader Mac discovers several words of his classroom copy of Jane Yolen's The Devil's Arithmetic are blacked out he is outraged, so he, his friends, and his eccentric family set out to do something about the censorship imposed by one teacher and the school board.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 517520
Kirkus Reviews (+) (09/01/22)
School Library Journal (+) (00/09/22)
Booklist (+) (08/01/22)
The Hornbook (+) (00/09/22)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2022 Gr 5 Up—King's latest novel is so timely and relevant, some readers may feel like the author has been privy to what's going on in their own schools. Mac is in the sixth grade and is a kid who knows his own mind. His teacher is known around town to be a strong, conservative influencer—for reasons that are never explained. Ms. Sett runs her classroom like she seems to run their small town, with antiquated rules and expectations. Girls aren't allowed to wear shorts to school and no junk food is available, and these are enforced city ordinances. Ms. Sett is a conundrum when she doesn't tolerate bullying and is an advocate of children but then censors books in her classroom including the book Mac is reading, The Devil's Arithmetic, in a literature circle. When Mac and his classmates find black marker has been used in all the books to mark out words thought to be inappropriate for sixth graders, Ms. Sett has gone too far (not even canceling Halloween got the kids as riled up as the "black rectangles"). While Mac and his friends work against censorship, Mac is also dealing with his father's mental illness. He has a good mom and grandad to support him when things get very confusing with his dad. Readers will find it easy to side with the outraged students and parents who go to the principal and then the school board to protest censorship and make sure the rules will protect everyone, and not just the opinions of one person. This title is slightly more sophisticated and mature than Alan Gratz's Ban This Book but is equally satisfying. VERDICT A striking book on censorship; a must-have in all middle grade classroom and school libraries.—Kim Gardner - Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 08/01/2022 *Starred Review* In Printz Award–winning King's latest poignant, humorous, and bright middle-grade novel, she searingly writes about the different ways censorship can impact the freedom to read. Sixth-grader Mac Delaney is aghast to find black rectangles all over his copy of a Jane Yolen novel about the Holocaust, and when he and his friends seek out the source, they discover the terrors of bureaucratic school boards and adults who treat kids like they are dumb. Whip-smart, tuned in to the mind of sixth-graders, and beautifully concluded, the novel takes a bold stand in a time of book bans and rampant censorship but does not go the traditional route of outright bans and empty shelves; rather, it's individual words that are being censored. Young readers will leave inspired to stand up and protest in their own lives and to be more like Mac, Marci, and Dennis in speaking up, even when their own lives are complicated. Against the backdrop of family issues, first crushes, and the end of elementary school, this is a beacon of hope for middle grades and an object lesson in treating kids like the intelligent readers they are. Perfect for fans of Avi's classic Nothing but the Truth and Alan Gratz's Ban This Book (2017). - Copyright 2022 Booklist.