Friday, September 4, 2009

Censored Books

The Earth, My Butt, and Other BIG Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
Bibliographic Information:
Mackler, C. (2003). The Earth, my butt, and other big round things. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.

Virginia is a bit over weight, but no one else in her family is. Her mom used to be heavy, but she slimmed down and has kept it off, so she pressures Virginia to do this, too. Virginia likes messing around with Froggy the 4th, but thinks it can never be made public that they are hang out, according to her list: The Fat Girl Code of Conduct. Making other people proud of her has been Virginia's problem for years. After an ugly incident turns the family upside down, Virginia finally decides to do something rebellious and selfish. Taking the first step to being happy leads Virginia to discover that she can live with herself because she likes who she is.

Lead Comments:
This controversial book touches on many issues teens face everyday such as weight problems, parental pressures, self-mutalization, date rape, sexuality, lying, eating disorders, and self-acceptance. Virginia is like a lot of teens who just accept things the way they are, but secretly would love to do something about it. I loved how empowering this book is once Virginia figures out that she can take charge of her life and learns to love herself. Very good book about learning to create your own positive self image.

From School Library Journal: (Excerpt)
Strong points in the novel are the issue of date rape and its consequences and, however glossed over, eating disorders. Told through first-person narrative, journal entries and email , Virginia's story will interest readers who are looking for one more book with teen angst, a bit of romance, and a kid who is a bit like them or their friends. Gail Richmond, San Diego Unified Schools, CA. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. (Retrieved December 8, 2009, from
From Booklist: (Excerpt)
...Mackler writes with such insight and humor (sometimes using strong language to make her point) that many readers will immediately identify with Virginia's longings as well as her fear and loathing. Her gradually evolving ability to stand up to her family is hard won and not always believable, but it provides a hopeful ending for those trying to stand on their own two feet. Ilene Cooper. Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved. (Retrieved December 8, 2009, from

Teacher Tools & Library Leads:
This is a great book to be used duing Banned Book Week in the library. Many other banned books discuss the same issues as are brought to light here, however The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things covers these issues in a lighter tone. Have students read other books on these topics such as Wintergirls, and write an essay comparing the two books.

Virginia was big into writing lists and eventually published one on her school webzine. Read a few of Virginia's lists from the book, then have the students write a list that tells a little about themselves. If they feel like sharing, have a few students read their lists.

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