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Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read.  It spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools.  The official celebration is September 22-28, 2019, but we at Hoover Public Library want to honor it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  Maybe it's better to view this BBW as a kick-off for Banned Books Year!  There are many ways you can take part.   Choosing a book you want to read is one way.  Choosing a book that some people don't want you to be able to choose is another way.  You can find the top 11 challenged books of 2018 (yes, this past year couldn't be narrowed down to 10) on ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom Website.  If you want more creative ways of participating, you can find suggestions by clicking on the first three words in this blog.  They link you to the official BBW website.  One way I honor BBW every year is to wear a different button every day.  Some of them are official BBW merchandise from past years.  They feature slogans.  This year's slogan is Censorship Keeps Us in the Dark.  Leave the Light On.  Others focus on the power of reading diversely.  I now have so many buttons I may have to double up (or triple up) over each of the seven days.  What a great problem to have!

This blog is excerpted from a guide received at a national library conference this past summer.   I'm a huge fan of wordless books (one of my degrees is in speech-language pathology), so I wanted to help spread the word.  But none of these words are actually mine.  They belong to Myra Zarnowski, a professor in the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education at Queens College, CUNY.  But the booklist at the end?  That's all me.

With wordless picture books, readers take an active part in bringing each story to life by combining the visual storytelling techniques and clues provided by the artist with their own words.  This format allows readers to find clues, make discoveries, fill in gaps in information, and revise ideas.  Share these activities with your young readers to help them discover the joys of inspiring, playful, and engaging wordless picture books.

You may think this is a blog about how to be ferocious.  In fact, it's the opposite. 

Ed Vere has created a delightful picture book called How to Be a Lion.  The star of the story is Leonard.  He enjoys taking long walks, feeling the warmth of the sun, and hanging out on his thinking hill. He daydreams and writes poems and loves spending time with his best friend Marianne, a duck.  A pack of roaring, growling lion bullies tell him there's only one way to be a lion.  Leonard contemplates their words and, with an infusion of strength and courage from his friend Marianne, finds a way to stand up to his bullies . . . in his own way.

This really is a must-read for everyone.  I also highly recommend taking a look at the Brightly article: How to Be a Lion Is a Lovely Lesson in Being True to Yourself by Jennifer Garry.

Watch the story read aloud online.  You can take a look at the PV Storytime version or the Milkshake! version.