Showing posts with label ALA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ALA. Show all posts


Banned Books Week: If It's Forbidden, Kids Are Interested

Introduce your students to banned books

Celebrate the FREEDOM to READ this week!

Pin It

In honor of Banned Books Week, I'm showcasing some of the books that have been banned or challenged over the years in my classroom.
Banned Books from

Banned Books from (Photo Tracee Orman)

Students are always amazed to see the many titles that make the lists. How could their beloved childhood favorites possibly be offensive? We discuss the reasons they are challenged and have great debates that usually end with students grabbing up the books and wanting to check them out.

The Hunger Games Trilogy Banned Books Week

Truly, Banned Books Week is a great way to get kids interested in reading (anything that seems remotely "forbidden" or offensive to adults arouses interest in teens).

Banned Books Week 2014
It's not too late to showcase some titles in your classroom. Even if you don't have the books, show students the lists and reasons (you can find links HERE on the website).

You can also find FREE resources in my store for Banned Books Week.


Banned Books Week 2012

Hunger Games Lessons, Banned Books Week
Celebrate Banned Books Week Sept. 30-Oct. 6.
This week kicks off the American Library Association's (ALA) Banned Books Week to celebrate our freedom to read and educate people about censorship.

I thought it would be worth noting that The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is number three on the list of frequently challenged books for 2011, up from number five last year. (Challenged means that someone objected to the book and asked that it be removed from either the shelves/library or classroom and/or from the curriculum in school.)

Other books making the list included ttyl by Lauren Myracle, Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily Von Ziegesar, and classics like To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
Image from

Also worth noting is why these books are challenged. The reasons given for The Hunger Games included "anti-ethnic" and "anti-family." And To Kill a Mockingbird? "Offensive language" and "racism."


I believe that parents have the right to decide what they do or do not want their children to read. If they are offended by the material, their child should be given the opportunity to read an alternative book. But I do not think those parents have the right to remove materials for all students. I do not want another parent telling me what is right for my son.

Censorship only breeds more censorship, and societies that begin to censor materials are preventing the population from becoming informed and educated citizens. Leaders such as Adolf Hitler used censorship to promote his own views. Freedom of speech includes the right to read materials of our choosing. We don't have to like what others are reading, but it is not our place to take away that freedom from anyone else just because it may offend us. If we don't believe in freedom of speech for everyone, then we simply do not believe in it. Period.

Spread the word about Banned Books Week and check out all the great resources on the ALA's website.

I have a pinboard on Pinterest for Banned Books Week. You can also browse my other book-related pinboards:
All Things Books
Book Community Board
Bookish News and Fun
Books Worth Reading

I'll be posting about my all-time favorite novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, on my other blog Check it out later this week to see what I have in store for you!

Pin It


Celebrate the Freedom to Read During Banned Books Week

This week kicks off the ALA's Banned Books Week, which celebrates "our First Amendment freedom to read while drawing attention to the harms that censorship does to our society and our individual freedoms" says Molly Raphael from The Huffington Post. Did you know The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins made the list of challenged books for 2010-2011 according to the American Library Association (ALA)?

It's ironic, isn't it? Censorship and suppressing information is very President Snow-like. Do we want to live in Katniss's world? In Panem, where the government decides what we can read, what we can learn, and who we are allowed to communicate with?

One would think in the year 2011 that censorship would not be an issue, but it is. Attempts to suppress literature and other materials is actually more prevalent than you might think.  The ALA reported that there were 348 challenges to books last year alone. The majority of the challenges are initiated by a parent, directed toward a school and/or school library, and are instigated because of the objection of sexually-explicit material in the book (this refers to books that are labeled as age-appropriate, NOT books that are clearly not appropriate for the age group). For example, The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank is one that was challenged for sexual explicitness and deemed inappropriate for 8th graders in Culpepper, Virginia in January, 2010.

Let's compare reading a book in school to a doctor giving a vaccination shot, which are known to prevent illnesses and disease. Many parents object to giving their children vaccinations. They have that right to make that decision for their own child. But it would be absurd to stop offering vaccinations to everyone because one or more people objected. The benefits are far too great, right? So are the benefits of reading a novel: One book can open up a world of possibilities. One book can help someone cope with their own pain and loss. One book can prevent someone from harming another, or themselves. One book can convince someone that it's OK to be different. One book can inspire. One book can change someone's life. And, chances are, it's a book that someone else wants to prevent you from reading.

In my experience, many people who object to the content have not actually read the book in its entirety. Too often, parts of a novel are extracted and used as evidence of inappropriateness. An entire piece of literature cannot be judged by one passage or quote; the themes and purpose of the novel need to be considered before judging. So to grasp the full meaning, one must read the entire work. In fact, most of the books that are challenged are against the very thing they are accused of promoting. You can read more in my previous blog post about those who challenge The Hunger Games.

This does not mean that I don't believe parents have a right to decide what is appropriate for their child. I believe they do. However, they do not have a right to impose that belief on all children, or all people, for that matter. At our school, if a parent objects to a novel we are teaching, the student is given an alternative substitution that deals with similar themes. The book is not removed from the classroom or from the curriculum.

What is your school's policy? Has The Hunger Games been challenged by any parents? How have you responded? Do you fear it could be challenged? If so, make sure to read my previous post and feel free to contact me if you need additional support.

you can print & distribute. :) Enjoy!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...