Ban This Book - Tor/Forge Blog

New Releases: 5/1/18

Happy New Release day! Here’s what went on sale today.

A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron

Image Place holder  of - 18 Lucas Ray is shocked when an adorable puppy jumps out of an abandoned building and into his arms. Though the apartment he shares with his mother, a disabled veteran, doesn’t allow dogs, Lucas can’t resist taking Bella home.

Bella is inexplicably drawn to Lucas, even if she doesn’t understand the necessity of games like No Barks. As it becomes more difficult to hide her from the neighbors, Lucas begins to sneak Bella into the VA where he works. There, Bella brings joy and comfort where it is needed most.

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

Placeholder of  -17 In Ban This Book by Alan Gratz, a fourth grader fights back when From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg is challenged by a well-meaning parent and taken off the shelves of her school library. Amy Anne is shy and soft-spoken, but don’t mess with her when it comes to her favorite book in the whole world. Amy Anne and her lieutenants wage a battle for the books that will make you laugh and pump your fists as they start a secret banned books locker library, make up ridiculous reasons to ban every single book in the library to make a point, and take a stand against censorship.

Medusa Uploaded by Emily Devenport

Poster Placeholder of - 46 My name is Oichi Angelis, and I am a worm.

A generation starship can hide many secrets. When an Executive clan suspects Oichi of insurgency and discreetly shoves her out an airlock, one of those secrets finds and rescues her. Officially dead, Oichi begins to rebalance power one assassination at a time and uncovers the shocking truth behind the generation starship and the Executive clans.

The Military Science of Star Wars by George Beahm

Place holder  of - 93 The first ever in-depth analysis of the tactics and equipment used by the heroes and villains of the Star Wars universe has arrived! Spanning all of the films, this comprehensive book goes in to detail about the various guerrilla tactics of the Rebel Alliance and the awe-inspiring might of the Grand Army of the Republic and Darth Vader’s Empire.

Including detailed examples from Earth’s military history, bestselling author George Beahm illustrates how a merciless empire managed to subdue a galaxy with the application of overwhelming force and technology, and how a ragtag group of rebels could cobble together enough of a punch to topple a seemingly-unbeatable enemy.



Black Helicopters by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Image Placeholder of - 12 Just as the Signalman stood and faced the void in Agents of Dreamland, so it falls to Ptolema, a chess piece in her agency’s world-spanning game, to unravel what has become tangled and unknowable.

Something strange is happening on the shores of New England. Something stranger still is happening to the world itself, chaos unleashed, rational explanation slipped loose from the moorings of the known.


And Into the Fire by Robert Gleason

Give Your Heart to the Hawks by Win Blevins

Gone to Dust by Matt Goldman

King Rat by China Mieville

Pawn by Timothy Zahn

Tiassa by Steven Brust


Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest (Light Novel) Vol. 2 Story by Ryo Shirakome; Art by Takaya-ki

If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord Vol. 1 Story by Chirolu, Art by Hota

Lord Marksman and Vanadis Vol. 7 Story by Tsukasa Kawaguchi; Art by Nobuhiko Yanai

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid Vol. 6 Story and art by coolkyousinnjya

Nameless Asterism Vol. 2 Story and art by Kina Kobayashi

Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs Vol. 1 


Books to Give the Teen and Young Readers On Your List

Welcome to the procrastinator’s club! If you’re one of those lucky or organized people who’ve already finished your shopping, that’s okay too–buy yourself a present as a reward for a job well done. The rest of us have no clue how you do it, because we’ve barely started. Luckily, we know the best last minute gift for nearly everyone: books. If you’re like us and looking for some last minute gifts, never fear–we’re here to help. Here are some recommendations for the teen and young readers in your life. And don’t forget to check out our Science Fiction and Fantasy lists as well!

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

Placeholder of  -61 Middle Grade, Ages 8-12

You’re never too young to fight censorship. Do you have a budding activist on your shopping list? Check out Ban This Book, the story of shy and soft-spoken Amy Anne, who finds herself standing up to her school administration when her favorite book is challenged and taken off the library shelves.

Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

Place holder  of - 53 Middle Grade, Ages 8-12

Are you shopping for a kid who loves Artemis Fowl? How about Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events? Look no further than #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson’s sharp, funny series of supernatural adventures about a boy whose superpower is breaking things. This is a great series for reluctant readers, who’ll desperately want to know if Alcatraz can do the impossible: defeat those evil librarians for good.

Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies by David Lubar

Image Place holder  of - 39 Middle Grade, Ages 9-12

Does the kid on your list like the spooky stuff? Are they a fan of R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps series? Then they’re going to love David Lubar’s Weenies series! Each book is a collection of short, twisty, sometimes chilling stories designed to scare you, make you laugh, or just see the world in a whole new way. Read these stories–if you dare!

The Rains by Gregg Hurwitz

Image Placeholder of - 84 Young Adult, Age 13+

For the teenage Walking Dead fan in your life, we recommend this terrifying read from acclaimed thriller writer Gregg Hurwitz. Everyone over the age of 18 in Creek’s Cause has suddenly turned into deadly inhuman beings, killing everyone they can. Chance and his brother Patrick must try to figure out how the adults got infected–before Patrick’s 18th birthday, which is only days away. A brilliant reimagining of the classic zombie novel for all the zombie fans out there.

Metaltown by Kristen Simmons

Poster Placeholder of - 57 Young Adult, Age 13+

If you’re shopping for a teen who loves to rebel, who loved Divergent and Under the Never Sky, then look no further than Kristen Simmons. In her most recent novel, Metaltown, the rules are simple: work hard, keep your head down, and watch your back. Looking out for yourself is the only way to survive…but Colin and Lena are sure there’s a better way. A story of friendship and rebellion, Metaltown is sure to capture any dystopia fan’s attention.

Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly

Young Adult, Age 13+

For the teen witch in your life, we recommend Tina Connolly’s hilarious series about reluctant teen witch Camellia. Cam’s adopted mother is determined to turn Cam into a first rate wicked witch, but all Cam wants is a normal life. But when the witch summons a demon that takes over a guy in Cam’s school, Cam doesn’t have much of a choice–she’d better figure out this magic thing, fast, before the demon destroys the guy’s soul.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Young Adult, Age 13+

Is the teen on your list basically surgically attached to her bestie? Are they constantly texting and Snapchatting even when they’re not together? Then Truthwitch is definitely the book for her–though if you want to win major points with the teen in your life, get a copy for her and a copy for her bestie! In Susan Dennard’s first Witchlands novel, all best friends Safiya and Iseult want is to be left alone to live their lives. Instead, they’re going to have to save the world–together.


Ban This Book: Banned/Challenged Titles Mentioned in Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

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Today marks the first day of Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read. Ban This Book by Alan Gratz tells the story of a girl in fourth-grade who takes on her school when her favorite book is removed from the library. Over the years, many books have been challenged or banned in the U.S., most frequently for the given reasons of sexual content or explicit language. Here are eleven trouble-making books that made an appearance in Ban This Book.

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Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume
This book about a girl in sixth grade struggling with questions of religion and her experience going through puberty has been banned and challenged in numerous school districts because the book is supposedly sexually offensive and amoral. Others have targeted it as anti-Christian or immoral.

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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
This classic anthology of illustrated horror stories was banned in many schools in the 1990s as too scary or age inappropriate. One parent even compared one of the stories about a murderer to a real life serial killer: “right away I thought of Jeffrey Dahmer.”1

Image Place holder  of - 38Matilda by Roald Dahl
The beloved story of Matilda, a young girl who loves to read and learns she has telekinetic powers, has been challenged for its depiction of adults, including Matilda’s parents, being abusive and neglectful.

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Place holder  of - 73This novel is about an eleven-year-old girl who spies on her classmates and inadvertently sets off a firestorm when her book of her brutally honest, and sometimes cruel, observations about her classmates is discovered. Parents challenged the book for supposedly setting a bad example for children, supposedly encouraging them to spy, lie, and swear.

Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
A story about a girl who finds a ghost in her new house, Wait Till Helen Comes deals with heavy issues of death and suicide, but another parent objected to the book’s portrayal of the main character talking to the dead. “The act of talking to the dead is called spiritism and is condemned in the Bible Galation 5:19-21,” the father of a student wrote in his official complaint.2

It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie H. Harris
It’s Perfectly Normal is a book written for kids ages 10 and older to teach them about sexual health, relationships, and puberty. It’s been banned across the country for content that’s inappropriate for children, both for the frank discussion of sexuality and the inclusion of (non-graphic) illustrations of naked people. The book is intended as an educational resource for kids about a range of topics, including sexual orientation, gender identity, and abuse.

From the Mixed-up Files of  Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
The removal of this book from her school library is what kicks off Ban This Book’s heroine’s act of protest. Complaints about From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler primarily object to the rest on the fear that children might imitate the heroine, who runs away from home to live inthe Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Indeed, over the years many children have actually written to the Met to profess their desire to live at the museum.

The Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park
The Junie B. Jones series is written in the voice of its five-year-old heroine – who doesn’t always use proper English. Some adults have protested that the book’s use of childish vernacular might inspire kids to use bad spelling and grammar. One complainant claimed that the series, which shows Junie sometimes acting out, “sends the message that… emotions such as hate are fine.”3

The Captain Underpants books by Dav Pilkey
The long-running series of Captain Underpants books has been targeted for being inappropriate or unsuited to the age group, usually due to its crude humor. Others have claimed that the series encourages children to disobey authority. More recently, the 12th book in the series attracted some attention when a character was revealed to be gay.

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
This Newberry Award-winning book about a group of children who create an imaginative game based on Ancient Egypt was challenged on religious grounds for depicting occult rituals involving Ancient Egyptian gods. The parent who challenged the book said: “I don’t believe any student should be subjected to anything that has to do with evil gods or black magic.” (Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Jan. 2010, p. 17.)

Goosebumps by R. L. Stine
This beloved series of horror stories made the top twenty most-challenged books list between 1990 to 1999. Some parents feared the series was too frightening for kids, while others objected that the books contained Satanic themes or depictions of the occult.


On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events in September

Tor/Forge authors are on the road in September! See who is coming to a city near you this month.

Spencer Ellsworth, Starfire: A Red Peace

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Friday, September 1
The Book Bin
Salem, OR
7:00 PM

Saturday, September 16
Village Books
Bellingham, WA
7:00 PM

Sarah Gailey, Taste of Marrow

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Saturday, September 9
Borderlands Café
San Francisco, CA
5:00 PM
Also with Seanan McGuire.

Max Gladstone, The Ruin of Angels

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Tuesday, September 5
Pandemonium Books and Games
Cambridge, MA
7:00 PM

Monday, September 11
Powell’s Books
Beaverton, OR
7:00 PM
In conversation with Fonda Lee.

Saturday, September 16
Borderlands Café
San Francisco, CA
3:00 PM

Monday, September 18
The Last Bookstore
Los Angeles, CA
7:30 PM

Thursday, September 21
Harvard Book Store
Cambridge, MA
7:00 PM

Matt Goldman, Gone to Dust

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Sunday, September 10
Poisoned Pen
Scottsdale, AZ
2:00 PM

Wednesday, September 13
Montgomery Public Library
Montgomery, MN
7:00 PM

Thursday, September 14
Once Upon a Crime
Minneapolis, MN
7:00 PM

Alan Gratz, Ban This Book

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Sunday, September 24
Asheville, NC
2:00 PM

Monday, September 25
The Book Stall
Winnetka, IL
4:30 PM

Tuesday, September 26
Anderson’s Bookshop
Downers Grove, IL
7:00 PM

Wednesday, September 27
Avid Bookshop
Athens, GA
4:00 PM

Thursday, September 28
Let’s Play Books
Emmaus, PA
3:30 PM

Friday, September 29
Hooray for Books
Alexandria, VA
6:30 PM

Saturday, September 30
Chapel Hill Library
Chapel Hill, NC
2:00 PM

Rachel Howzell Hall, City of Saviors

Sunday, September 10
Poisoned Pen
Scottsdale, AZ
2:00 PM

Nancy Kress, Tomorrow’s Kin

Thursday, September 14
Third Place Books – Ravenna
Seattle, WA
7:00 PM

Annalee Newitz, Autonomous

Wednesday, September 20
New York, NY
6:00 PM
In conversation with Rose Eveleth.

Thursday, September 21
Fountain Bookstore
Richmond, VA
6:30 PM

Friday, September 22
Flyleaf Books
Chapel Hill, NC
7:00 PM

Saturday, September 23
Bookfest St. Louis at The McPherson
St. Louis, MO
5:00 PM
Science Fiction Panel – also with Charlie Jane Anders, Mark Tiedemann, and Ann Leckie.

Sunday, September 24
Women and Children First
Chicago, IL
Also with Charlie Jane Anders.
4:00 PM

Thursday, September 28
Books Inc
Alameda, CA
7:00 PM

Saturday, September 30
Borderlands Café
San Francisco, CA
3:00 PM

Malka Older, Null States

Monday, September 18
Kinokuniya Bookstore
New York, NY
6:00 PM

Thursday, September 28
East City Bookshop
Washington, DC
6:30 PM

Sarah Porter, When I Cast Your Shadow

Thursday, September 14
The Astoria Bookshop
Astoria, NY

Linda Stasi, Book of Judas

Monday, September 18
7:00 PM
Also with Nelson DeMille

Thursday, September 28
Book Revue
Huntington, NY
7:00 PM

Sage Walker, The Man in the Tree

Saturday, September 16
Page One Bookstore
Albuquerque, NM
4:00 PM
Also with Jeffe Kennedy.


New Releases: 8/29/17

Happy New Release Day! Here’s what went on sale today.

An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock

Placeholder of  -97 Born without the sorcery that is her birthright but with a perspicacious intellect, Isabelle believes her marriage will stave off disastrous conflict and bring her opportunity and influence. But the last two women betrothed to this prince were murdered, and a sorcerer-assassin is bent on making Isabelle the third. Aided and defended by her loyal musketeer, Jean-Claude, Isabelle plunges into a great maze of prophecy, intrigue, and betrayal, where everyone wears masks of glamour and lies. Step by dangerous step, she unravels the lies of her enemies and discovers a truth more perilous than any deception.


Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

Image Placeholder of - 79 It all started the day Amy Anne Ollinger tried to check out her favorite book in the whole world, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, from the school library. That’s when Mrs. Jones, the librarian, told her the bad news: her favorite book was banned! All because a classmate’s mom thought the book wasn’t appropriate for kids to read.

Amy Anne decides to fight back by starting a secret banned books library out of her locker. Soon, she finds herself on the front line of an unexpected battle over book banning, censorship, and who has the right to decide what she and her fellow students can read.

Judgment at Appomattox by Ralph Peters

Poster Placeholder of - 16 A great war nears its end. Robert E. Lee makes a desperate, dramatic gamble. It fails. Ulysses S. Grant moves. Veteran armies clash around Petersburg, Virginia, as Grant seeks to surround Lee and Lee makes a skillful withdrawal in the night. Richmond falls.

Each day brings new combat and more casualties, as Lee’s exhausted, hungry troops race to preserve the Confederacy. But Grant does not intend to let Lee escape…

Playing to the Gods by Melanie Rawn

Image Place holder  of - 94 The boys are at the top of their theatrical game. Their only real competition for the hearts and gold of the public are the Shadowshapers. Nevertheless, the past years of financial struggle, since their manager proved to have been embezzling, have taken a toll on the group’s creativity.

A shocking event brings all that to an end and brings Touchstone back together to create a play that will rattle the ceilings and shatter all the glass in palaces and theaters alike. An ancient conflict will come to a violent conclusion on stage, and all the gods will be watching.

Vicarious by Paula Stokes

Place holder  of - 99 Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States. But they’ve escaped the past and started over in a new place where no one knows who they used to be.


A Song for Quiet by Cassandra Khaw

Deacon James is a rambling bluesman straight from Georgia, a black man with troubles that he can’t escape, and music that won’t let him go. On a train to Arkham, he meets trouble — visions of nightmares, gaping mouths and grasping tendrils, and a madman who calls himself John Persons. According to the stranger, Deacon is carrying a seed in his head, a thing that will destroy the world if he lets it hatch.


The Memoirs of Wild Bill Hickok and Shadow on the Sun by Richard Matheson

Navigators of Dune by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson

Say No More by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Stranded by Bracken MacLeod

Sun Born by Kathleen O’Neal Gear & W. Michael Gear


A Certain Scientific Accelerator Vol. 6 Story by Kazuma Kamachi; Art by Yamaji Arata

Absolute Duo Vol. 1 Story by Takumi Hiiragiboshi; Art by Shinichirou Nariie

Akashic Records of the Bastard Magical Instructor Vol. 1 Story by Tarou Hitsuji; art by Aosa Tsunemi

Don’t Meddle With My Daughter Vol. 1 Story and art by Nozomu Tamaki

Monster Musume Vol. 12 Story and art by OKAYADO

Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn Vol. 8 Story by Masamune Shirow; Art by Rikudou Koushi


Sneak Peek: Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

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An inspiring tale of a fourth-grader who fights back when her favorite book is banned from the school library—by starting her own illegal locker library!

It all started the day Amy Anne Ollinger tried to check out her favorite book in the whole world, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, from the school library. That’s when Mrs. Jones, the librarian, told her the bad news: her favorite book was banned! All because a classmate’s mom thought the book wasn’t appropriate for kids to read.

Amy Anne decides to fight back by starting a secret banned books library out of her locker. Soon, she finds herself on the front line of an unexpected battle over book banning, censorship, and who has the right to decide what she and her fellow students can read.

Ban This Book will become available August 29th. Please enjoy this excerpt.

The Mystery of the Missing Book

It all started the day my favorite book went missing from the library.

I didn’t know it was missing. Not yet. In my mind, it was still sitting there all alone on the shelf like a kid in the cafeteria waiting for her one and only friend to come and find her. Waiting for me to find her. All I wanted to do was run to the library and check out my favorite book before homeroom, but Rebecca, my one and only real-life friend, was still talking about trademarking our names.

“Have you ever thought about registering” Rebecca asked me.

“No, Rebecca, I have never thought about registering I am nine years old. Why in the world would I bother to register a Web site with my name on it when my parents won’t even let me use Facebook yet?”

That’s what I thought about saying. What I said instead was, “No.”

“You should,” Rebecca told me. “You’ve got a unique name, but even so, somebody could register it, and then what would you do? is already gone! I’m ten years old, and already my future intellectual property is being snapped up! Jay Z and Beyoncé trademarked their baby’s name less than a month after she was born. You’d think my parents would have known enough to do the same.”

Rebecca’s parents were both lawyers, and she wanted to be one too when she grew up. I couldn’t imagine a more boring job.

Instead I said, “Yeah.”

I was still itching to get to the library and check out my favorite book. I opened my locker to stuff my backpack inside and gave my mailbox a quick look. Nobody knows how it got started, but everybody at Shelbourne Elementary has these cardboard boxes taped to the inside door of their lockers, just below the little vents they put on there in case you get stuffed in your locker by a bully. If you want to leave a note for somebody you just slip the piece of paper in the slot and it falls right into the little cardboard box. It’s such a tradition that Mr. Crutchfield, the custodian, just leaves the boxes in the lockers from year to year.

As usual, my mailbox was empty. Which I’d expected. My one and only friend doesn’t believe in writing notes. “Never leave a paper trail,” Rebecca says. More advice from her lawyer parents.

“Did you hear about Morgan Freeman, the actor?” Rebecca asked. “Somebody who wasn’t named Morgan Freeman registered his name at, and he had to sue them to get it back! Now that’s an interesting case—”

“I can’t imagine anything less interesting, Rebecca! I don’t care anything about trademarks or registering domain names. I have to go check out my favorite book before somebody else does!”

That’s what I wanted to tell her. Instead I held up a handful of books like a shield and said, “I have to return these books to the library before class!” and backed away before she could tell me more about the court case. “I’ll see you in homeroom!” I called.

Normally I would already have my favorite book checked out and in my backpack, but our librarian, Mrs. Jones, has a rule that you can only renew a book two times in a row and then it has to sit on the shelf for five whole school days before you can check it out again. She says it’s to make sure other people get a chance to read it, but I think she made that rule up just to make me read other books, which I would have done anyway.

I dumped last night’s books in the book return and waved good morning to Mrs. Jones on the way to the fiction shelves.

“Amy Anne,” Mrs. Jones called. “Honey, wait—”

“Just let me grab my book,” I called back. I turned into the H–N shelves and hurried to where I knew my favorite book would be waiting for me.

Only it wasn’t there.

I looked again. It still wasn’t there. I looked behind the books, in case it had gotten pushed back and was hidden behind the others like they sometimes do, but no. It really wasn’t there. But my favorite book was always on the shelf. Could somebody else really have checked it out?

I was about to go and ask Mrs. Jones when she turned down the row. Mrs. Jones is a big white lady with short brown hair and rhinestone granny glasses that hang around her neck on a chain when she isn’t reading. Today she was wearing a red dress with white polka dots. Polka dots are her thing.

“Where’s my book?” I asked her.

“That’s what I was trying to tell you, honey,” Mrs. Jones said. “I knew you’d come in for it first thing.”

“It’s been five days,” I told her. “I marked it down on my calendar. I get to check it out again after five days. You said so. Did somebody—did somebody else check it out?”

“No, Amy Anne. I had to take it off the shelf.”

I frowned. Take it off the shelf? What did she mean take it off the shelf?


Mrs. Jones sighed and wrung her hands. She looked like she was about to tell me my dogs had died. “Because some parents got together and said they didn’t think it was appropriate for elementary school, and the school board agreed with them.”

“Wasn’t appropriate? What does that mean?”

“It means I can’t check it out to you, honey, or to anybody else. Not until I talk to the school board and get this nonsense overturned.

“It means, Amy Anne, that your favorite book was banned from the school library.”

Copyright © 2017 by Alan Gratz

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