Most Challenged Books of 2017

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It is amazing that we still live in a society that challenges and bans books, but thus it is true.

Every September (September 23-29, 2018) Ban Book Week puts a spotlight on the literary struggle we face every year in this country.? Based on content and socio-economic conditions, here is the list of the Top 10 most challenged books in 2017.? We hope this promotes dialogue and/or curiosity to sit down and read one of these critically-acclaimed books.

Top 10 Challenged Books of 2017

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 354 challenges to library, school and university materials in 2017. Of the 416 books challenged or banned in 2017, the Top 10 Most Challenged Books are

  1. Thirteen Reasons Why written by Jay Asher

Originally published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller has resurfaced as a controversial book after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie

Consistently challenged since its publication in 2007 for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism, and sexuality, this National Book Award winner was challenged in school curriculums because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.

  1. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier

This Stonewall Honor Award-winning, 2012 graphic novel from an acclaimed cartoonist was challenged and banned in school libraries because it includes LGBT characters and was considered “confusing.”

  1. The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini

This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”

  1. George written by Alex Gino

Written for elementary-age children, this Lambda Literary Award winner was challenged and banned because it includes a transgender child.

  1. Sex is a Funny Word written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth

This 2015 informational children’s book written by a certified sex educator was challenged because it addresses sex education and is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.

  1. The Hate U Give written by Angie Thomas

Despite winning multiple awards and being the most searched-for book on Goodreads during its debut year, this YA novel was challenged and banned in school libraries and curriculums because it was considered “pervasively vulgar” and because of drug use, profanity, and offensive language.

  1. And Tango Makes Three written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole

Returning after a brief hiatus from the Top Ten Most Challenged list, this ALA Notable Children’s Book, published in 2005, was challenged and labeled because it features a same-sex relationship.

  1. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

This autobiographical picture book co-written by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.

Local Charleston Children’s Book Author Helps Children and Moms Adjust to Babysitters

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Local Children’s Book Author Helps Children – and Moms – Adjust to Babysitters

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Every child has experienced the fear of a new babysitter arriving and wondering if mommy will return; every mother has felt a tug at her heart when leaving an upset child. To ease those fears, local author and West Ashley mom Teri Errico Griffis wrote “While Mommy Is Out,” a book designed to help children prepare for being left with a sitter or child care provider. The book was illustrated by Tami Boyce, a local graphic designer.

Inspired by true events from Griffis’ days as a nanny, the book follows Little One’s day as Mommy announces she will be heading out and leaving Little One with a babysitter for the first time. Little One faces his biggest fear – making a new friend – while discovering Mommy does indeed return home ready for hugs. “While Mommy is Out” is a narrative for children needing an introduction to the concept of a babysitter and why it’s not a scary situation, as well as reassurance mommy will always come back home to her little one in the end.

“It is common for both parents to work, and very important for mothers to take care of themselves,” Griffis said. “Children are experiencing babysitters more and more and it is natural for a child to be nervous, which makes it hard on everyone. This book really excites children because they will learn to see their time with a babysitter as a fun adventure with a new friend.”

“While Mommy Is Out” is available for $15 at and at Mr. K’s Used Books near Tanger Outlet.

About the author

Teri Errico Griffis began her career in the early 2000s when she first interned with the writing staff of ABC soap opera “All My Children” in New York City. From there, she reported for local newspapers and magazines before being recruited by the global company, WWE, to help launch their first children’s magazine. She also won a New England Press Association Award. She moved to Charleston in 2012 and spent years volunteering to improve children’s education through nonprofit work. Today she resides in West Ashley with her family where she writes and edits several successful publications.

About the illustrator

Tami Boyce is a Charleston-based illustrator and graphic designer. Her work can be found at various establishments around Charleston, including Theatre 99, Early Bird Diner, Frothy Beard Brewery and ReForm Studios, as well as ZaPow! Gallery in Asheville, N.C. Boyce pulls inspiration from her humor and heart. Some of her illustrations are observations on life, memories, or just wishful thinking as to how animals might actually behave in the wild.


While Mommy Is Out


The Timrod Library: Stepping Back in Time (Summerville, SC)

By The Retired Mensch

The Mensch stepped back in time when he visited the Timrod Library in Summerville. The Timrod Library is in a colonial-style brick building with a porch and double doors set on high ground on Central Avenue. It is a steep walk from the street to the steps up to the porch. In Brooklyn we called those steps a stoop.

The Timrod is like no modern library. Most libraries are free. Dorchester, Charleston and Berkeley Counties all have free public libraries. The Timrod is unique in that it is a subscription library, meaning there is a fee to be a member and borrow books. The fee is not exorbitant, $15 for a family.

The Mensch paid a family subscription fee and in a few days the mailman delivered a typewritten letter thanking me for the subscription along with two library cards without barcodes or magnetic stripes.

When I checked out a book, the librarian asked for my library card, I forgot it. “No problem, just print your name here on the book card.”
For younger readers, the cabinet in the picture with all the drawers is a card catalog. Every book in the library is inventoried by the Dewey Decimal System, by author, by title and by subject. You need to know your alphabet to thumb through the cards to find a book of interest. There is no Google look-up here.

The Timrod has an interesting history. Originally there was a Ladies Reading Circle in Summerville in the 1890’s. That morphed from a Chautauqua group to chartered library in 1907. Timrod refers to Henry Timrod, the so-called poet laureate of the Confederacy, who was a school teacher in Summerville.

It is a quaint place to visit if you are looking for something different for your literary tastebuds. The Timrod is deceiving in that there is an extensive collection of modern fiction along with a plethora of South Carolina history and geography along with artifacts.

Although there are rocking chairs right inside the front door on the left, the more inviting reading space is over on the right where there are two lovely armchairs with their backs to the window. This is the path to the children’s reading room and historical collection, so be prepared for some foot traffic. Of course, if you are caught up in a good book, you’ll hardly notice.

“Dear Shira” Letter Found Among Recycled College of Charleston Text Books

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

“Dearest Shira” is handwritten on a 3” x 5” lined set of pages stapled together inside A History of Colonial Brazil:? 1500-1792 deep inside a recycle box on Calhoun Street in front of the FedEx office.

It is that time of year, when the College of Charleston students say goodbye to the text books and look forward to the next phase in their life.? From psychology to history, the recycle box overflowed with academic memories and even one copy of 50 Shades of Grey.

Yet, lingering between the pages of this green and black book of Brazilian history was the frail edge of these papers.? Deep in the heart of the night, we read the deep personal thoughts of a letter to Shira from Mischa.

Why was it left behind?

What is the relationship of these two?

We don’t know the answer, but there are strong and personal messages to take away from this eight page hand written letter.

As we read, we felt as if we were invading the soul of Mischa, but comforted that we could spare her words.? In a day of texting, smartphones and laptops, the idea that the written word still exists is a warm feeling.

Mischa speaks of her dad’s place, “Ah, what a strikingly attractive place this is.? I forget how thrilling and peaceful it makes me feel inside to be here (at The Highland Reservoir) and at my dad’s place.”? The morning sun charges up over the Eastern ridge of the small but breathtaking valley like a track racer eager to heat things up.? Hot cup of dark coffee on the back deck, air still refreshingly brisk but warming up fast to the point where I can feel the temperature change.”?

The use of analogy and vivid detail paints a wonderful picture of a beautiful place neither one of us had ever experienced, but felt we could through these words.? The importance of her father’s place and the ability to create a refuge from life was detailed so clearly in these words.

Reflection is a critical part of Mischa’s life in this next except:

“Now I’m sitting on the edge of the reservoir in a little secluded spot contemplating the first round this morning (Sunday) and those five stupid missed putts for birdies that I should have had, in an ideal sense.”

In the hustle of city life, you learn to embrace what you cannot have near you as stated so eloquently, “He stuck out the first ten holes with us and then had to get back to the farm chores.? Always something to get done.? I really miss having some acreage to put energy into.? It’s rewarding and fun and whenever I get up here with some time, I help out as much as I can.”

Soon, the big secret is revealed; the longing for a cigarette.? In her words, “Mmm, that was a good cigarette or ‘coffin nail’ as my dad calls them.? I feel guilty about hiding the fact that I smoke from him, but I don’t want to degrade his perception of me, because I know how right he is.”

The subtle love between father and daughter is so poignant in the revelation of her secret.? Her need to be a part of his world and escape her own tells a telling tale.

In the final words to Shira, we are taken to a beautiful place, one many of us dream of:

“My friends are plunging into the water, but I am going to climb this exquisite willow tree here on the bank and gather some vibes.? Loving you. Mischa”

Thank you Mischa for letting us into your world for a brief time and showing us the passion of family, simplicity and country life.


Read Across America Day – Charleston Recommendations

By Minta Pavliscsak
By Minta Pavliscsak

“One Fish. Two Fish. Red Fish. Blue Fish.”

There’s no mistaking where that comes from when you hear those words. Even if you do not know what follows, you know those words belong to the one and only, beloved Dr. Seuss. Today, March 2nd, we celebrate his birthday as Read Across America where we encourage our youth to read with their families on this day and every day of the year.
To celebrate, Charleston style, we have compiled a list of books that have been inspired by our great city. It starts with children books and is continued with a list of adult fiction. While this is a through list, I am sure that something has been overlooked. Please leave a comment with any book that is missing so everyone can enjoy! (Note that I did NOT include history books, picture books, cookbooks, and the like. I apologize but while wonderfully done there are simply way too many of them to list!) Consider adding some of these to your personal library. I know I have put many of them on my wish list already! Be sure to find a cozy spot to snuggle up in and read a good book today. Enjoy!

For the little ones:

Goodnight Charleston by Mark Jasper
Everybody Surfs Folly! By Vickie Trippe
Hermy the Hermit Crab series by Andrea Weathers
Charleston A to Z by Rob Hicks
Hey, Charleston!: The True Story of the Jenkins Orphanage Band by Anne Rockwell
Jack the Cat by Russel Horres
Legare the Lowcountry Lizard series by Christi Sanford
A Silver Flyer: A Charleston Christmas by Lawrence Anderson Armstrong
Hungry Mr. Gator series by Julie McLaughlin and Ann Marie McKay
Chestnut by Constance W. McGeorge
Joseph’s Charleston Adventure by Laura Jenkins Thompson
The Story of the H.L. Hunley and Queenie’s Coin by Fran Hawk
Nipper of Drayton Hall by Amey Parsons Lewis
P is for Palmetto A South Carolina Alphabet by Carol Crane
Princess Charleston series by Kelly Sheehy DeGroot
The Springer Spaniel Mysteries series by Nancy T. Lucas
All ‘Bout Charleston by Ruth Paterson Chappell
Rosebud Roams Charleston by Sally Hughes Smith
Let Them Play by Margot Theis Raven
The Adventures of Gia the Giraffe by Hannah E. Salters
Santa is Coming to Charleston by Steve Smallman

For the Not So Little Ones:

The Devil of Charleston by Rebel Sinclair
Tea Shop Mystery series by Laura Childs
Par for the Course by Ray Blackston
Great Mischief by Josephine Pinckney
The Palmetto Connection by M.J. Macie
A Cruel Legacy by M.J. Macie
Charleston by John Jakes
Chrono by Warren Dennihan
Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden by Emily Whaley
Charleston: A Novel by Margaret Bradham Thornton

Prince of Tides and The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy
Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons
Settling Accounts: In at the Death by Harry Turtledove
Porgy by Dubose Heyward
North & South – Love & War – Heaven & Hell by John Jakes
South of Broad by Pat Conroy
Celia Garth: A Story of Charleston in the Revolution by Gwen Bristow
The Fallon Saga by Reagan O’Neal (AKA: Robert Jordan)
Galilee by Clive Barker
Ariel – Classic Crime Library by Lawrence Block
Lawyer for the Dog by Lee Robinson
Done Gone Wrong by Cathy Pickens
So Far Back: A Novel by Pam Durban
Werewolf Smackdown by Mario Acevedo
Four Winds: A Novel of the Old South by Thomas Conway Fishburne
The Cassique of Kiawah: A Colonial Romance by William Gilmore Simms
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
The Matchmaker’s Mark by Regan Black
Katharine Walton; or The Rebel of Dorchester by William Gilmore Simms
Charleston by Alexandra Ripley
On Leaving Charlestson by Alexandra Ripley
Folly Beach Mystery series by Bill Noel
Charleston Mystery series by Karen White
The Trust by Norb Vonnegut
Islands by Anne Rivers Siddons
Mother Please Don’t Die by Lurlene McDaniel
Haunted Charleston by Sara Pitzer
A Wedding to Remember, in Charleston, South Carolina by Annalisa Daughety
Sweetwater Creek by Anne Rivers Siddons
The majority of Dorothea Benton Frank’s books are set on the islands around Charleston, including Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, and Folly Beach, as well as Charleston Proper.
Just about anything by Mary Alice Monroe

20 Ways to Start Out The New Year Right – Because it’s not too late!

  1. Send out Thank You cards.thank you pen
    We know you got at least one awesome Christmas present! Chances are you got more, maybe even more than you needed. Let your loved ones know just how much their hard thought, time and money is appreciated!
  2. Download a new album. –Or for us old school folks, buy a new CD.
    “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” –Berthold Auerbach ?Crank it up, kick off that dust and live life!
  3. Start setting a little money aside each week for that dream vacation.
    Summertime sneaks up and you are left with a wanderlust accompanied by a low bank account. Avoid this disappointment in 2016 by anticipating your getaway.
  4. Get involved.
    With so many opportunities around Charleston to participate in a worthwhile cause, you have no reason not to get involved. It doesn’t have to be a long term commitment; it can be something as simple as hanging out with the animals at one of the local shelters. Need ideas on how to get involved? Check out our article Volunteer Opportunities in the Lowcountry – Get Involved.
  5. Drop the resolution!
    I’ve never really believed in New Year’s resolutions, for a few different reasons. #1) If you really want to make a change in your life, you should do so now, not wait for the beginning of a new year. #2) Chances are you’ll just end up disappointing yourself. Even if you start off with the best of intentions and things are going great, most of the New Year’s resolutions I hear about simply do not stick. By the end of February, if not earlier, they are forgotten about all together. #3) That’s a lot of stress to put yourself, and your loved ones, under. Usually these resolutions involve some massive change and you tend to think the change can come January 1st. Why do that to yourself? #4) They usually involve something completely unoriginal and something that really didn’t have a lot of thought put into it in the first place. You deserve better for yourself than that.
  6. Wash your car.
    Don’t neglect the thing you rely on most everyday. Add it into your organizational plans.
  7. Pick up a
    Books help open our minds and allow us to escape to anywhere our imaginations can go. Make the time to unwind, relax your mind, and snuggle up with a good story.
  8. Decide to love yourself.
    This doesn’t mean simply saying you love yourself, but just like in your relationships with others, you have to show yourself that you do. This includes eating right, getting enough sleep at night, exercising regularly, taking time for yourself, saying “no” when you can’t do something for someone -and feeling okay about it- and any other special way you can prove to yourself that you matter.
  9. Change your air filter.
    Another friendly service reminder courtesy of Charleston Daily. You’ll thank us later!
  10. Meditate.
    There are so many benefits to meditation! It is a stress relief, it helps with focus, it helps to reduce anxiety, it boosts your creativity, and it can aid in relieving depression, but the list goes on! Just devoting ten minutes a day can make a significant difference in your life.
  11. Go watch a movie by yourself.
    It’s really not as bad as it sounds. Trust us on this one and give it a chance.
  12. Make a plan.
    This can include absolutely anything. You’ve just got to get the ball rolling. Totally different than a resolution!?Really put some though into it, set small goals and work on them at your own pace. You’ll have more success with the results sticking this way.?The best ideas start out with a good plan.20151207_171211-01
  13. Spend a sunset at the Battery.
    There are many beautiful spots to watch the sunset around Charleston. The Battery is one of our favorites. You can spend the afternoon enjoying White Point Garden, have a picnic, walk around, or relax on one of the benches, then take in a spectacular sunset before ending your day.
  14. Spend the night at a fancy hotel or bed and breakfast (preferably one with a big tub).
    Just have a change of scenery?for a moment. It can help give you new insights on what’s really going on in your life. Do it locally so you eliminate the stress of traveling. Our recommendation? The Battery Carriage House Inn?located in beautiful downtown Charleston.
  15. Donate to a local charity.
    Of course charities will always welcome a monetary donation. But you actually don’t have to have any money at all to donate to most charities. Clean out your closet, clean out your pantry, clean out your garage. You will find lots of things to donate to different organizations. You can also pick a charity, visit their website for their Wish List and grab something extra next time you are at the store.
  16. Take a sunrise walk on the beach.
    I realize this was included in our “List of things to do before the end of 2015”. Well, did you do it? There’s never a bad time to take a sunrise walk on the beach. -I might recommend waiting for a day when it’s not raining, but other than that you’re pretty golden!-
  17. Pay off your lowest credit card.
    When working on getting out of debt, experts recommend paying off the card that has the lowest balance first. Don’t neglect other cards you may have, but even if you can put an extra $10/month towards that one card, you will start seeing a difference a lot faster. –It also helps if you don’t add anything else to that card! –
  18. Wake up fresh.
    This idea comes with appreciation?from my best 5 year old friend. When asked what I was writing, and I explained it to him, he took it upon himself to contemplate the subject and this was his first idea. I like it, a lot actually. So get your behind in bed at a decent time, snuggle in for more than your usual few hours, and wake up fresh!
  19. Purchase that perfect outfit.
    Start this year off looking and feeling fabulous! –Hey, everything’s on sale right now anyway! –
  20. Have a dinner party.
    This is a great way to connect or re-connect with friends. Plus throwing a party is just fun anyway. Good food, drinks, music, your closest friends…sounds like a great night to me!

20 Ways to Start Out The New Year Off Right – Checklist


Pop Up Library – A Quirky Symbol of Charleston’s Sense of Community and Generosity

On State Street, right in the heart of the French Quarter of downtown Charleston, lies a bit of a unique oddity.? To the naked eye, it may appear to some as an over-sized bird house.? To others, a mailbox whose primary resident is a librarian.? Both perceptions are rational but incorrect.? Right in the heart of the peninsula is a free pop up Library.

This pink community book exchange is designed to give and take books as you please, relying heavily on the generosity of others.

How does this work?? Great question.

  • You open the door and look at the current collection of books.? If you see one you like, you take it.? You are welcome to return it upon completion or keep it.
  • If you have a book or collection of books that you have enjoyed or been moved by and want to share it with others, you drop them off inside the one room library standing eye level high above a sturdy wooden pole in the ground.

There you have it.? Give a book, take a book.? Can you think of anything that symbolizes the kindness and generosity of Charleston like this?

Last evening we contributed eleven books including a best seller, book of questions, poetry collections, spiritual affirmations and Dr. Suess.? Now that is an eclectic mix.? There is a sense of fulfillment you have when you make a donation like this.? There is no tax deductible receipt or person to give you a smile and a thank you.? It is a true act of unrecognized kindness.

What makes this concept so fascinating is that you never know who will take your book or why.? Often times, it will never make it back, but will continue on a journey to enrich many other lives.

With this pop up library, you combine generosity, education, community and even share a little bit of yourself to a future stranger.

In the truest sense of Pay it Forward, we invite you, next time you are on the peninsula to bring a book or two and help keep this project thriving.