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Property of the Rebel Librarian: 07/06/20

Property of the Rebel Librarian

Property of the Rebel Librarian by Allison Varnes is a middle grade novel about censorship at Dogwood Middle School. It all begins when June Harper's parents discover an author of horror books is doing a presentation at the school. They believe the tale of witchcraft is inappropriate for their daughter and for any other student.

After the event is canceled things escalate quickly. The librarian is suspended. A committee is formed and the library is gutted of any "inappropriate" book. At home, all of June's books are confiscated and edited by her parents.

But it's when June sees a Little Free Library that she takes on the mantel of the Rebel Librarian. The majority of the book is how June and other students continue to read what they want in spite of the crackdown at the school. While the book that sets off the chain of events is fictional, the remaining books are actual titles — ones that have been challenged or banned.

The book is a celebration of today's youth. It's a reminder that tweens can make their own decisions about entertainment. They can self censor. Adults should give them the tools to do these things but not stifle them.

But this book's ending isn't a reset switch. June, the librarian, the school, the students, the parents, all end up in a new place. It's better than where it was at the height of the censorship, but it's a messy resolution.

Five stars

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