My Brother Sam Is Dead

By James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Current Publisher: Scholastic
Digital Publisher: AudioGo

Reading Level: Ages 12 & Up

Children’s Books Finalists That Year:

  • Natalie Babbitt for The Devil's Storybook
  • Bruce Buchenholz for Doctor in the Zoo
  • Bruce Clements for I Tell a Lie Every So Often
  • James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier for My Brother Sam Is Dead
  • Jason Laure and Ettagale Laure for Joi Bangla! The Children of Bangladesh
  • Milton Meltzer for World of Our Fathers
  • Milton Meltzer for Remember the Days
  • Adrienne Richard for Wings
  • Mary Stolz for The Edge of Next Year
  • Jane Yolen for The Girl Who Cried Flowers and Other Tales  

Children’s Books Winner That Year: Virginia Hamilton for M.C. Higgins the Great

Judges That Year: Lloyd Alexander, Betsy Hearne, Nat Hentoff

The Year in Literature: M.C. Higgins the Great by Virginia Hamilton also won the Newbery Medal.

More Information: James Lincoln Collier was also a Finalist for History (Paperback) in 1980 for The Making of Jazz: A Comprehensive History.

My Brother Sam Is Dead was also a Newbery Honor Book and an ALA Notable Children’s Book. According to ALA, the book was the twelfth most frequently challenged/banned book in the period from 1990 to 2000, and the 27th most challenged/banned book from 2000 to 2009.  Reasons for its censorship were listed as:

  • Contains profanity: In reaction to being smacked in the head by Tim Meeker as she tries to wrestle a letter away from him, Betsy Read shouts “You Little Bastard!”
  • Contains excessive violence: While observing the British army Tim Meeker experiences the horrific beheading of a slave.
  • Mentions alcohol consumption: The Meekers own a Tavern.
  • Contains unpatriotic views of the American Revolution: The Meekers are Anglicans.

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