Happy Banned Books Week, September 30th – October 6th

Banned Book Week celebrates the freedom to read and challenges us to read books that have caused controversy. Since 1990, the Office of Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association has been keeping track of books that are challenged at public and school libraries around the country. The American Library Association describes a book challenge as, “a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness”. In 2011, 326 books were challenged around the country. Books are challenged for a variety of reasons and what some people consider classics others consider challenge worthy.

For more information about Banned Book Week and more challenge worthy reads go to:


Read what all the fuss is about with this selection of 2011’s challenged books from around the United States. You may be surprised to find some of these titles on the list.


COLLINS, SUZANNE                                  Original Date: 2008

In a future North America, Panem’s rulers maintain control through a televised survival competition pitting teens from twelve districts in a fight to the death. Sixteen-year-olds Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are this year’s girl and boy contestants from District Twelve. Some violence. For junior and senior high readers.

BR   18488         BT   03374         DB   68384       DX   68384

LB   06861      RC   68384


ALEXIE, SHERMAN                                   Original Date: 2007

Spokane Indian Reservation. Fourteen-year-old Junior–beset with physical problems caused by brain damage–transfers to an all-white town school. Called a traitor by his best friend and Tonto by his new classmates, Junior uses humor and wit to bridge the cultural divide. Some strong language. For junior and senior high readers.

DB   65403  DLD       RC   65403


NAYLOR, PHYLLIS REYNOLDS                          Original Date: 1985

Throughout the summer, Alice McKinley has been remembering all of the dumb things she’s ever done.  She’s had no mother for years; no wonder she’s always getting into embarrassing situations.  Now that sixth grade is beginning and she’s almost a teenager, Alice figures she’d better find a good role model–fast. This is the first in a series of 25 books.

RC   25250


HUXLEY, ALDOUS                                    Original Date: 1946

A satire of a technocratic future society in which people are rigidly classified and kept happy by a government-administered drug. When two bureaucrats, Lenina and Bernard, travel to a “savage” reservation, they “rescue” a woman and her adult son, abandoned long ago, and return them to civilization. An argument with the “World Controller” demonstrates the incompatibility of individual freedom and a totally  planned society. For senior high and older readers.

BR   01601         BR   11922         DB   47108  DLD     DX   47108    LB   02990         RC   47108


SONES, SONYA                                      Original Date: 2001

Fourteen-year-old Sophie describes her life in prose poems. She discusses her search for Mr. Right, her unhappy parents, her school activities, and her friends, Grace and Rachel. Grade 1 braille. For senior high readers.

BR   14156


LEE, HARPER                                       Original Date: 1960

Scout Finch is an outspoken and literate six-year-old tomboy when she begins her tale of growing up in a small Alabama town with her brother Jem and her attorney father Atticus. The children’s intense curiosity about a reclusive neighbor is eclipsed by Atticus’s attempt to defend   a black man against charges of raping a white woman. Pulitzer Prize winner.

BR   12850        DB   36414  DLD     DX   36414   RC   36414

Austin Teen Book Festival — Palmer Events Center, September 29th

I am looking forward to the Austin Teen Book Festival, which will be taking place at the Palmer Events Center in Austin on September 29th from 9:30 am – 5 pm. The festival is sponsored by the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation and BookPeople, a local bookstore. The festival is in its third year and is the biggest book festival of its kind in the country. Festival Director Heather Schubert says of the festival, “The Austin Teen Book Festival’s rapid growth is a testament to the extent to which the event is valued by teens, parents, librarians, and teachers.” This year they are expecting a crowd of over 4,000 people!

For more information about Festival, please check out their website at: http://austinteenbookfestival.com/

Or their Facebook page at:


The keynote speakers at this year’s Festival will be Neal Shusterman and Libba Bray.

Neal Shusterman will be speaking about the sequel to his 2007 book, Unwind.


In a future world, parents may “unwind,” or disassemble, their offspring between the ages of thirteen and eighteen to harvest their body parts for others’ use. Teens Connor, Risa, and Lev fight to uphold their beliefs and perhaps save their own lives.

RC   66918        

DB  66918                                            

Libba Bray won the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Fiction from the American Library Assocation for her book, Going Bovine.

GOING BOVINE                                                          

After sixteen-year-old Cameron Smith is diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob, aka mad cow, disease, he sets off in search of a cure with a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf he meets in the hospital. Strong language. Michael L. Printz Award.                                                                                                                             

DB   72565                                                            

There will be panel discussions on a variety of topics, and the authors will speak on these panels throughout the day.

This year’s panels include:

  • “Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads,” featuring Neal Shusterman, Marissa Meyer, Rachel Cohn, Jeff Hirsch, and Dan Krokos, and moderated by Greg Leitich Smith.
  • “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore,” featuring Libba Bray, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Leigh Barduga, and Rae Carson, and moderated by Sarah Rees Brennan.
  • “Creature Comfort,” featuring Scott Speer, Anna Banks, Gina Damico, Tara Hudson, and Martha Brockenbrough, and moderated by Sophie Jordan.
  • “Real Life Happens,” featuring Jesse Andrews, Elizabeth Scott, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, E.M. Kokie, and Jessica Lee Anderson, and moderated by John Corey Whaley.

Moderator John Corey Whaley won the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Fiction and the William A Morris YA Debut Award for his novel, Where Things Come Back.

WHERE THINGS COME BACK                                              

Seventeen-year-old Cullen Witter believes he knows everything about his dreary town of Lily, Arkansas. Then his cousin dies from an overdose, his brother Gabriel goes missing, and an extinct woodpecker reemerges. Strong language. For senior high and older readers. Printz and Morris Awards.                                                                                                                         

BR   19488       DB   74276                                          

  • “The Thrill of the Chase,” featuring Will Richter, Lex Thomas, Eliot Schrefer, and Allie Carter, and moderated by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
  • “What Would You Do For Love?,” featuring Allie Condie, Kresley Cole, Jessica Shirvington, Tamara Ireland Stone, and Jessica Khoury, and moderated by Tracy Deebs.

TBP has books by many of the authors attending the festival in our collection, such as Libba Bray, Sarah Rees Brennan, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Ally Carter, Rachel Cohn, Ally Condie Kami Garcia, Neal Shusterman, John Corey Whaley.

The Teen Book Festival should be a great event for readers and writers of Teen fiction. Hope to see you there!

Moonwalking with Einstein – Book Club Podcast

Cover of Moonwalking With Einstein book showing four levels of a building. First level has a dinosaur exiting a door, second level has a monkey and a nurse, third level has a sumo wrestler, and the fourth level has a woman in a bikini on it.

Listen to the Texas Talking Book Program’s first podcast here! It’s an audio recording of our September 2012 Book Club meeting, where author Joshua Foer joined us to talk about his book, Moonwalking with Einstein.  

Host: Reader’s Advisory Librarian, Shannon




The transcript for the audio file can be found here:

National Book Festival — September 22nd and 23rd

The 2012 Library of Congress National Book Festival is September 22nd and 23rd in Washington, D.C. The first National Book Festival was in 2001, and was hosted by then First Lady Laura Bush. She based the idea for the National Book Festival on the already established Texas Book Festival which is at the end of October each year in Austin.  This year the National Book Festival is featuring over 135 authors, reading related activities and discussions, and a behind the scenes tour of the Library of Congress.  

The Pavilion of the States, sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, will be saluting the literary traditions of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. Each state was asked to select a book that best represents its literary tradition. This year the title that Texas is featuring is:

Old Yeller  by Fred Gipson

Original Date: 1956                                                      

1860s Texas. Fourteen-year-old Travis at first resents the big, yellow stray dog that hangs around his home, but he comes to love and depend on him. With his father away on a cattle drive, Travis is the man of the house and looks to Old Yeller for help and protection. Newbery Award winner.                                                                  

This book is available in Braille, on digital cartridge, and on cassette from TBP. Please call us at 1-800-252-9605 and ask for one of the following book numbers:

  • BR   07798         
  • BR   11976         
  • DB   47404 
  • RC   15325        
  • RC   47404   

There will be podcasts and webcasts throughout the National Book Festival, as well as many people using Twitter to discuss the Festival. For more information about the National Book Festival, or to listen to the podcasts or webcasts, please go to the festival website:          http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/

Book Club Wrapup: Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer

Picture of Shannon, Saidah, and Dani sitting around a table, with a conference phone in the midddle of the table.

Thanks to all who spent their Tuesday evening with us last week as we discussed Moonwalking with Einstein, and a special thanks to author Josh Foer, who called in to discuss his book with us! For those of you who were unable to attend the conference call, we have recorded the call and it will be available online soon.

Josh gave us some great advice. He said that one thing he hopes people take away from his book is that with the right kind of deliberate practice, you can do more than you think you can. We look forward to reading more books by Mr. Foer, but in the meantime here is a link to his website (including some of his many magazine and newspaper articles):


We have also prepared a bibliography of similar reads, books mentioned in Moonwalking with Einstein, and a bibliography of books by Josh’s family members who write (his two brothers and his sister in law all have books in our library collection). You can find the bibliography here:


Since we did all the talking in our meeting on Tuesday we’d love to hear what you have to say about the book. Here are some questions for discussion (feel free to post your thoughts in our comments section):

1) Mr. Foer said that he started off thinking that these remember-ers were freaks of nature. What do you think: yea or nay? Do you think these people have average memories but train them, or that there is something innate that makes them better at this than the rest of us?

2) Do you do any brain training? What kind? Has it helped you?

3) What did you think about the book as a mix of brain science and the author’s personal story? Did it fit together well?

4) Of the characters Joshua met in the course of writing the book, who did you find the most interesting?

5) How important do you think memory is in today’s culture when we have other ways of remembering things (ie writing, photos, etc..)?

For more discussion questions see: http://www.litlovers.com/reading-guides/14-non-fiction/8342-moonwalking-with-einstein-foer

And just a reminder to TBP patrons –Join us at 7 pm on January 24th as we read and discuss No End in Sight by Rachael Scdoris. This title is available in Braille, cassette, cartridge or download from BARD.If you are a TBP patron that is interested in this program, please RSVP for this event at 1-800-252-9605.

Visually Impaired Texan Competes for MasterChef–Tonight!

Houston resident Christine Ha is a national sensation due to her success on the third season of MasterChef, the popular Fox cooking competition series. Ms. Ha is a fan favorite, which is not surprising; her incredible talent, quiet charm, and stage presence are a compelling combination. Tonight, she competes as one of the final two contestants for the title of MasterChef.

What is surprising is that Ms. Ha creates all of those beautiful dishes without the advantage of sight. Ms. Ha has a visual impairment and uses a cane to navigate the sets of the show. Because she cannot read print, an assistant finds ingredients on her orders. Ms. Ha lost her vision over the course of eight years due to an autoimmune condition.

The Talking Book Program wishes Ms. Ha the very best of luck on tonight’s final show at 8pm CST on Fox. We hope to soon be able to say that a Texan is the first visually impaired MasterChef!


TBP Staff Pick – Penny

Reader Consultant, Penny, recommends State of Wonder by Anne Patchett:

I recommend STATE OF WONDER because the story moves along at a perfect pace with characters that are so well defined that I cared about what happened to them. My attention never wavered, and the visual image of the Amazon painted by Patchett is vivid to the point that I felt I could see, smell, and hear it. It is topical as well as it deals with the pharmaceutical industry, anthropology, medicine and fertility. I enjoy a good mystery, but this book could be filed under literature, medical thriller, suspense, mystery, bestseller … it wears many hats.

Author: PATCHETT, ANN                               Date: 2011

Vogel Pharmaceutical sends pharmacologist Marina Singh to Amazonian Brazil to locate elusive employee Dr. Annick Swenson, who was once Singh’s professor. While investigating the status of Swenson’s fertility-drug research, Singh also hopes to uncover the fate of colleague Anders Eckman, whom Swenson reported dead. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2011

DB 73464  

Call 1-800-252-9605 to order this title or download it on BARD.