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Banned Book Week Middle Grade Review: Attack of the Black Rectangles by Amy Sarig King

Title: Attack of the Black Rectangles
Author: Amy Sarig King
Year published: 2022
Category: Middle Grade fiction
Pages: 272 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location: (my 2022 Google Reading map)USA (PA)

SummaryWhen Mac first opens his classroom copy of Jane Yolen's The Devil’s Arithmetic and finds some words blacked out, he thinks it must be a mistake. But then when he and his friends discover what the missing words are, he's outraged.

Someone in his school is trying to prevent kids from reading the full story.

But who?

Even though his unreliable dad tells him to not get so emotional about a book (or anything else), Mac has been raised by his mom and grandad to call out things that are wrong. He and his friends head to the principal's office to protest the censorship... but her response doesn't take them seriously.

So many adults want Mac to keep his words to himself.

Mac's about to see the power of letting them out.

In Attack of the Black Rectangles, acclaimed author Amy Sarig King shows all the ways truth can be hard... but still worth fighting for.

Review: It's Banned Book Week so I thought this would be a fitting book to read. It has not been banned, but is about censorship and banning books. And, it's by A.S. King (as she is known for her YA books. See my reviews here for Everybody Sees the Ants and Reality Boy)

This book is based on a true story of something that happened in the author's town (!) and in that respect it has a feel of reality. Unfortunately, book censorship is all too real these days. I was super interested in the characters' friendships and their efforts to make people aware of the censorship and why it is a problem. I was less interested in the family dynamics, but I think they are probably necessary to allow younger readers to relate to the characters.

In amongst the censorship, there are also many other social issues that are worked into the story in a seamless way (way to go A.S. King!) such as personal identities of varying sorts, cultural awareness, and bullying.

I listened to the audio book which was really good, especially since Jane Yolen voiced herself!

Challenges for which this counts: none

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