Written by on September 13, 2012

Time of your life (episode 6)

This is episode 6 of 12.

Forget breaking up, growing up is what’s really hard to do.  Of course, if we could bound gracefully into adulthood, what fun would that be?  I much prefer this world where we sputter our way into adulthood in ungainly fits and starts.  While it doesn’t exactly result in camaraderie and goodwill between generations, at least it serves as a common touchstone for us all.

In episode 6 “Time of Your Life,” Kristen and I discuss books on ALA’s Top 100 Banned and Challenged Books of 2000-2009 that depict coming-of-age stories.  And there were a lot.  As I mentioned in the interview for Jan’s blog Sensible Shoes, my favorite coming-of-age stories are the ones that remind me what it’s like to be a certain age, knowing all these new things but not really understanding them, and watching a character struggle to reconcile the world they are experiencing with the things they were taught.

Which books on the list is your favorite coming-of-age story?

After you’ve shared your favorite, and any other insightful comments, check out the other seven things Kennedy Library is doing to celebrate Banned Books Week.

–Michele Wyngard

Books we discuss:

  • Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, #19 on the Top 100 Banned and Challenged Books of the last decade
  • The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler, #34
  • Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes, #59
  • Life is Funny by E.R. Frank, #40
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, #76

Honorable mentions (a.k.a. books that fit this category but we didn’t have time to discuss):

Too many to list!


To learn more about what we discussed, check out these websites:

Time Magazine article on JD Salinger.

A fun video of David Levithan interviewing Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler.

Reading guide for Olive’s Ocean– SPOILER ALERT: There are spoilers in the reading guide.

And, did you know that one of ER Frank’s favorite books is A Prayer for Owen Meaney?

and these ridiculously informative books:

Doyle, R.P. (2010). Banned books: Challenging our freedom to read. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Foerstel, H.N. (2002). Banned in the U.S.A: A reference guide to book censorship in schools and public libraries. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Karolides, N.J. (2005). 120 banned books: Censorship histories of world literature. New York, NY: Checkmark Books/Facts on File.


This podcast series, I’m with the Banned features personal conversations between Michele and Kristen, a reflection of their year of reading and research. They, like the Kennedy Library, hope you are inspired to have your own conversations to explore ideas around these complex topics.

Read more on ALA, american library association, banned books, banned books week 2012, freedom to read, i'm with the banned, kennedy library, and podcast.

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