For Ages
8 to 12

Celebrate the freedom to read with this timely, empowering middle-grade debut in the spirit of The View from Saturday or Frindle.

June Harper is a good kid. She follows the rules, plays flute in band, and spends her spare time reading. Nobody would ever call her a rebel . . . until her parents take strict parenting to a whole new level.

It starts with one book deemed "inappropriate" by June's parents. What follows is a massive book ban at Dogwood Middle School, and suddenly everything June loves--the librarian, books, an author visit--is gone. All seems hopeless. Then June discovers a Little Free Library on her walk to school. When her classmates realize she has access to contraband, she (secretly) becomes the most popular girl in school. A risky reading movement begins at Dogwood, which could destroy June--or gain enough power to protect the one thing she cares most about: the freedom to read!

Equal parts fun and empowering, this novel explores censorship, freedom of speech, and activism. For any kid who doesn't believe one person can effect change . . . and for all the kids who already know they can!

"[A] funny and fast read." --School Library Journal

An Excerpt fromProperty of the Rebel Librarian

You’re going to read a lot about me and the things I’ve done. Most of it’s true.

 

I can’t help that, not that I’d want to.

 

I would do the exact same thing all over again if I had the chance.

 

It’s like when you read a sad book for the second time. You know the moment is coming, and you know it’s going to make you cry, but that doesn’t stop you. You read it anyway, because you love the story.

 

So take your time. I’ll just be sitting here, grounded for all eternity, while you read about the moments when everything fell together and apart. They’re all here. Every last one.

 

 

 

The front door swings open after I walk home from school, right on schedule. Except today, Dad holds my copy of The Makings of a Witch.

 

I grin up at him, but he doesn’t return my smile.

 

The flush of rising blood pressure snakes across Dad’s pale face to his ears. It looks like he raked his hand over his light brown hair a million times while pacing in front of the window. That’s what he did when they finally let Kate go out on her first date. Back and forth, back and forth, right in front of the window until she showed up on the doorstep. Except she made curfew and then the show was over. This one is just getting started, and I have no idea why.

 

Dad signals to the empty spot by Mom on the love seat.

 

“Would you care to explain this?” he says, holding up the novel.

 

I shrug. “Um, it’s a book?”

 

He stares at me through his tortoiseshell glasses until I look away. “Yes. One that we don’t approve of.”

 

I don’t understand. They’ve always been okay with the books I’ve read. I squirm on the stiff cushions. “Dad, it’s just a book. I--”

 

“What concerns me more than anything”--he taps the bar code sticker--“is that it’s from the Dogwood Middle library, of all places.”

 

The grandfather clock ticks away the seconds while I squirm. I can’t watch TV or use the family computer without someone looking over my shoulder, but books have always been safe. Mom cross-stitched readers are winners on a couch pillow to prove it.

 

“Dad, I--”

 

“No buts, June. You know the rules.”

 

Dad is president of the PTSA, and he keeps his thumb on everything at Dogwood Middle. Especially me. It doesn’t matter that I’m twelve and have never, ever given Dad a real reason to worry. Did anyone ask me to the school dance last week? Nope. Why would they, when he’d follow us the whole time?

 

The best part of Dad’s day is hassling my teachers about posting my grades online. Easy to do because he works from home as a tech consultant. It’s so embarrassing. Sixth grade was bad enough, but things got ten times worse in August when Kate left for college.

 

Dad gently taps the novel against his knee. “Missing kids. Witches. It’s too scary for you.”

 

“No, it isn’t! I like creepy stuff. If you’d just--”

 

“No. This sort of thing won’t happen again. Understand, June, it’s our job to protect you. It would be nice if you’d meet us halfway. Until you do, you’re grounded. No TV. No phone. No internet.”

 

“What?” I’ve never even been grounded before.

 

“You heard me. Rules are rules.”

 

Mom shakes her head with disappointment.

 

Shame creeps up my face, making me flush red like I always do when I’m upset. I want to crawl under the couch. Was it wrong of me to read that book?

 

“I’ll return it after school tomorrow,” Mom says.

 

Oh no. Tomorrow is our last game of the season, and Mom will be there anyway because she runs the uniform closet for our marching band. I can’t believe this is happening. Poor Ms. Bradshaw, the librarian, is going to get a visit from my mom, and then there won’t be a hole big enough for me to hide in.

 

What have I done?

Under the Cover