Critical Linking: February 28, 2015

After the presentation, I signed books for the students who had pre-ordered my books (all girls), but one 3rd grade boy hung around.

“Did you want to ask her a question?” a teacher asked.

“Yes,” he said nervously, “but not now. I’ll wait till everyone is gone.”

Once the other students were gone, three adults still remained. He was still clearly uncomfortable that we weren’t alone but his question was also clearly important to him. So he leaned forward and whispered in my ear, “Do you have a copy of the black princess book?”

It broke my heart that he felt he had to whisper the question.

He wanted to read the rest of the book so badly and yet was so afraid what others would think of him. If he read a “girl” book. A book about a princess. Even a monster-fighting superhero ninja princess. He wasn’t born ashamed. We made him ashamed.

Books do not have a gender! This sexist non-sense hurts readers.


Chicago’s vibrant network of public libraries opened its doors in the wake of 1871’s great fire. But long before that, private libraries were the norm. These days, Chicago’s small and private libraries still serve niche communities with specialized resources and knowledge. Try one of these little-known spots and immerse yourself in a unique, curated collection.

Secret (okay, maybe more like lesser-known) libraries in Chicago!


These reviewers really hated these books. Pick which book you think matches the bad review.

So how well can you match the 1-star Amazon review with the classic book for which it was written?


But the 40th birthday that surprised me the most was Forever, Judy Blume’s YA opus about first love, burgeoning sexuality and penises named Ralph, first published in 1975. Discovering that sent me rifling through my bookshelf for my copy, dog-eared and broken-spined from the many re-readings it endured during my own days as a lovestruck, confused teenager, to see what holds up and what doesn’t, as well as try to figure out why, after forty years, it is still one of the most frequently challenged and banned books in the U.S.

40 years since the publication of Judy Blume’s classic Forever . . . seems like it was not that long ago, and like it was a long, long time ago. A nice piece about why that book matters.



These authors found that success wasn’t all it was cracked up to be—and sometimes even regretted writing their books in the first place.

Some of these “authors who regretted their success” stories were surprising.


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