Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Book Club Review: The Shepherd's Granddaughter

Title: The Shepherd's Granddaughter
Author: Anne Laurel Carter
Genre: Middle School Fiction
Published: 2008
Pages: 221
Source: My middle school library. This book was recommended by Junior Library Guild.

I participate in a once a month Book Review Club, so I was going through my stack of books wondering which one I wanted to talk about for May. I just posted about a mother wanting to label YA books in her Florida public library so censorship was really on my mind. Then another article popped into my mailbox the other day about, The Shepherd's Granddaughter. I recognized the book instantly because when I was processing it I noted that it looked like one that I would like to read. After reading the article about this book being pulled from the shelves of Toronto school libraries I knew that I had found my book for the month.

Quoted from article: But Toronto District School Board trustee Sheila Ward is demanding that the book, about Israeli settlers attacking a young Palestinian shepherd girl and her family, be banned from library shelves. B’nai Brith Canada is also calling for its removal from all school reading lists, and the Canadian-based Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies is cautioning against the title.

Click here for the article in me you do want to read this.

My thoughts:
When I finished this book I couldn't for the life of me understand why anyone would want to remove it from libraries. This book does not make Israeli's out to be evil people, but it does bring to light some of the issues that Palestinian's live with on a daily basis. I feel that this book is important because it gives notice to both sides of the story and portrays each side in favorable and unfavorable lights. Yes, Israeli's are portrayed, at times, as tyrants pushing their way into the lands occupied by Palestinians. But then the author shows how some Palestinian's want to react with violence and threats. We all know that this way of dealing with conflict can not continue, but how do you stop it??? Well, it sure as hell isn't by censoring and removing books that certain groups of people take issue with. We start by educating our children and showing them that violence, no matter which side of the fence you're on, is not the answer. And hope and pray that this new generation of humans will somehow bridge this cultural difference. Will it happen? I don't know, this conflict is ancient, but I do know that we need to have honest, thoughtful discussions about the issues. I for one will be talking about this book to the students at my school that I feel will appreciate the story within the covers and be smart enough to start asking questions, investigate, and make an informed decision about how they feel in regards to this situation. I urge you, the reader, to pick this book up and make that decision for yourself...should we allow groups who don't like that another point of view (other than theirs) is being brought to light and they want to stop you from questioning the information that you've gathered from the nightly news, newspaper, magazine, and the internet get away with censorship?????? Regardless of where you stand on this issue, this book deserves to be on the shelves of libraries worldwide. I am one librarian who will make sure that the copy at my middle school is never pulled from circulation.

Links that I found interesting:
Number of Palestinian children killed
Facts about Palestine
Facts about Jerusalem
The Wall
Palestine-Israel Links
The Gaza Crisis
UK Guardian article on why soldier was justified killing 13 year-old girl

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@Barrie Summy


  1. *bleep* *#()$#$&u$#@(&#)#(@$*)@#(*!!!!!!!!!! And noooooooooooooooooo I'm not censoring myself lol lol!! grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr that makes me mad!! I have told U this before...censorship of books irritates the *bleep* out of me!!! Seriously...if U ban books, what's next? Movies, TV...the NEWS???? the news is MUCH worse than books as it LAYS it all out there and U can SEE it will people/children learn what IS happening in the world if we have peeps that are trying to shield them from...ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh everything???? ugh....ok...I am rambling...but U got me going girl!! LOL LOL LOL!!! I remember at work one time the woman I sat next too was from Nigeria...and the stories she told me....she had me crying for her EVERYDAY....if these type of stories are NEVER told and will anyone HELP??????

    Ok....preaching over....
    LOVE U! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  2. Okay, the font on your blog looks fine. It's just my computer at home. At first when I saw that you were reading this book, I wasn't sure if it was something I would want to read, but now I do want to read it. I don't know why people can't leave books alone. Not everyone is going to like every book. If people don't want to read it--then don't but don't take it away from the rest of the people that want to read it or may come across it and learn something from the book. Great posting!

  3. What an interesting, important, informative review, Staci. I'm going to spend some time visiting all the links, and I definitely want to read the book. Thank you!

  4. Thanks for another great post on censorship!

  5. I couldn't agree more with you more on your thoughts about censorship. I have a feeling that the book is under such controversy for political reasons that stem from some pretty sensitive areas in the school board in this case. What a shame.

    I will be looking for the book, thanks.

  6. The author's interview was excellent. Here's another frustrating example of censorship that makes no sense. It only makes me want to read the book.

  7. Interesting controversy and discussion of censorship; it does make me want to know more about the book.

  8. Sounds like a must-read to me! I read about the controversy in Toronto and was thrilled you chose this book to review. Thank you for joining in!

  9. We need more awesome librarians like you! The book sounds very thought provoking - one that would create great conversations.

  10. Fight the power, Staci! Censorship has no place in public libraries.

  11. How silly to try to categorize books as being "YA." Ha! Once I graduated from Nancy Drew in my pre-teens, I read adult books and these were some of the most unforgettable books of my life. Great post!

  12. Thank you for bringing this book to my attention. My middle school daughter is learning about the Middle East at school and this will make a nice read in conjunction with class. And I can't wait to read it either.

  13. I hope the controversy brings attention to the book and attracts more readers than it would have gotten otherwise. Thanks for the review!

  14. Staci, I love when people speak on for what they believe. Yay for you. This sounds like an important book.

  15. "I do not believe that it can be too often repeated that the freedoms of speech, press, petition and assembly guaranteed by the First Amendment must be accorded to the ideas that we hate or sooner or later they will be denied to the ideas we cherish."
    -Justice Black, Communist Party v. SA...CB, 367 U.S. 1, 137 (dissenting opinion) (1961)

    That's one of my favorite quotes about the issue. To me, it sums up the essence of the argument against censorship!

  16. Heaven forbid there be a book out there that might portray a group of people in a less than favorable light! We're all perfect aren't we? Good grief people, wake up!

  17. The whole Israel/Palestine thing is just insane. Some people can use violence and others can't. You pushed people off their land, what did you think was going to happen. There is bad on both sides, but no one wants to let the past go and compromise. Some past things should be remembered, but certain events do not make whole groups exempt from treating people wrongly.
    I will certainly check this out. Thanks Pumpkin!

  18. This sounds like an interesting read and one I'm anxious to get to. Your thought-provoking review has really piqued my interest, Staci. Thank you!

  19. This definitely sounds like a book that could generate a great discussion. Good for you for promoting it.

  20. great article and I enjoyed your thoughts too. I feel like we should be able to choose what we want to read--everybody is entitled to read and write what they like. thought provoking post today.


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