Attack of the Black Rectangles-by Amy Sarig King

Published on December 23, 2022

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Attach of the Black Rectangles by Amy Sarig King

Reviewed by Elizabeth DeVincenzo

Six-grader Mac lives in a small town in Pennsylvania with a lot of rules and restrictions, no Halloween, no junk food, no bad words, to name a few. The reasoning behind these restrictions is to keep all the children in town safe. More rules equal more safety. The person who is persuading the town government to pass all these rules is Mac’s sixth grade teacher, Ms. Sett who is always writing letters with her opinions in the local newspaper. When Mac is assigned to read The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen, he discovers that certain words are crossed out with a black marker. All the copies of the book in Ms. Sett’s classroom are censored with the same cross outs. Mac and his friends decide to go to their principal, but  nothing is resolved with that meeting. After attending various school board meetings and protests against censorship, nothing is resolved regarding the censorship of the book, but other restrictions are being lifted as more people voice their opinions. Mac and his classmates argue that one person cannot determine what other people eat, read, or say based on their personal opinions. Mac is a very-well written character, who is easy for readers to relate to. Mac is also dealing with his father who has mental health issues who is causing his mom, grandfather a lot of distress. Children who are struggling with a parent or family member who has mental health issues like Mac is, will also be able to relate to him. With book bans and censorship occurring in schools and libraries across the country, this book is timely and relevant. An author’s note is included  addressing the real-life events that inspired this book. King also provides websites with information on how to fight book challenges and bans.

Target age group: Ages 9-12

• Publishers Weekly 08/01/2022* Starred Review • Booklist 08/01/2022 - *Starred Review • Kirkus Reviews 09/01/2022 - *Starred Review • School Library Journal 09/01/2022 - *Starred Review • Horn Book Magazine 09/01/2022 - *Starred Review

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