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Bri Meets Books

Children's and YA literature reviews.

Category Archives: anastasia series

Nightmare Academy by Dean Lorey, the first in a series, is the story of Charlie Benjamin. Charlie’s been plagued with nightmares for years, but his nightmares are different from other children’s: the monsters in them? They’re real. And they attack everybody but Charlie when they’re set loose.

After the dreadful “Naptime Catastrophe” at a preschool, Charlie’s parents keep him inside, schooling him, and protecting him for the world outside. Until one day, during a particularly horrendous nightmare, Charlie’s rescued by a lasso-swinging cowboy.who tames the nasty creature from Charlie’s dream. Soon after, Charlie’s whisked away to a strange school where children are trained to serve the academy. For once, he doesn’t feel so alone in the world, and finally has friends. But there’s that nasty problem of an escaped nightmare creature, one of the ominous “Named.” Together, along with the help of his instructor, Charlie and his friends must save the world and his family.

If Nightmare Academy is any indication, Dean Lorey’s series is perfect for fans of Harry Potter. The title reminded me of Skulduggery Pleasant actually, with its humorous tone, gripping storyline, and just plain sense of fun. The characters in the novel are well-developed, and the book remembers its audience, and keeps a childlike whimsy mixed with a dash of the supernatural, at all times.

Copy for review graciously provided by the publisher


Improv kept me from posting a book last night, so this post features two banned books!

“Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance.”
– Lyndon Baines Johnson

The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Thompson

I didn’t encounter this 1978 novel until 2007. I was going through a phase of reading all the “childhood classics” I’d missed when younger and checked this out from the library. I fell in love with Galadriel Hopkins a.k.a, Gilly.

Gilly Hopkins is a precocious troubled foster child. She’s rude and boisterous and most of all, racist. The treatment of blacks by Gilly is controversial. She regards persons of color as less than her, and manipulates them, until her foster mother teaches her respect for all people. Gilly’s language, swearing and taking the Lord’s name in vain, is also another reason parents object to the book. The book was even challenged as recently as September

Although Gilly is an unpleasant child, she eventually finds love and peace, and sheds her mean ways. Often, parents single the book out for its expletives, and fail to find the real meaning in the novel. Even the National Organization for Women sells the book on their website.

21 on the Most Frequently Challenged Books 1990-2000

Related Reading

Why Johnny Can’t Read: Censorship in America’s Libraries (The Alan Review)
Wikipage entry
Teacher resources

The Anastasia series by Lois Lowry

I first read the Anastasia novels in middle school. Years later, I’ve only recently completely read the entire series. I adore the books because they’re clever reads, that don’t “talk down” to their audience, and portray real life situations (first kisses, sibling rivalry, etc) without resorting to hyperboles.

The books are about Anastasia Krupnik, and how she navigates through the teenage years. According to Wikipedia, the books are challenged due to their content. In Anastasia at this Address, the teen engaged in a letter writing spree after answering a personal. Other reasons cited include references to suicide, beer, champagne, and Playboy Magazine. It is worth noting, however, Anastasia never actually partakes in any illegal activity, and these are only casual references.

29 on the Most Frequently Challenged Books 1990-2000

The series consists of Anastasia Krupnik, Anastasia Again!, Anastasia At Your Service, Anastasia, Ask Your Analyst, Anastasia on her Own, Anastasia has the Answers, Anastasia’s Chosen Career, Anastasia at this Address and Anastasia Absolutely.

Related Reading

Information on the Anastasia musical
The New York Times on Anastasia Has the Answers