Banned Books

There are a TON of things I’ve wanted to tell you all about, but I’ve been so stinking busy lately that I’ve not had a spare moment to sit down to write!

Let me start by letting you know (and thereby reminding myself) that the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week is upon us.  Even today – at this very moment – small-minded people are trying to limit the access that others have to written material.  Tense Teacher experienced something of this sort with her summer reading list.  It’s happening, and it’s happening now.

Freedom requires vigilance, People.  We earn our freedom by being careful and aware and informed.  Efforts to restrict – or outright ban – books are born out of fear that results in a need to control how others think, and there’s nothing about that that’s okay.  I’m going to wear my “I teach banned books” tee shirt to work tomorrow, and will announce the banned books week in the morning announcements.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that my kids will get a banned books activity to do in class tomorrow, too, especially since our school is very open and progressive and I’m betting it never even occurs to these kids that this sort of thing happens today.  Part of my responsibility as their teacher is to model good citizenship, and honoring banned books week is one of the ways that I stay engaged and active in my community and my world.  I want my students to think about the implications of banned books week – I want them to wonder about what other people don’t think they should be allowed to think about.  I want them to understand that this is a relevant topic right now – that it’s not something relegated to history – and I want them to get mad enough to do something about it.

I love my job.

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4 Comments

Filed under critical thinking, dumbassery, ethics, frustrations, I love my job, Learning, lesson planning, out in the real world, politics, reading, Teaching, Yikes!, You're kidding...right?

4 responses to “Banned Books

  1. Today, I am reading Places I Never Meant to Be, with a forward written by Judy Blume. It’s a collection of short stories, written by young adult authors, all of whom are banned. I planned to make mention of it, but this is the group with whom I did a banned book unit last year, so can’t really do it this year.

  2. Yep, I’m planning on having the kids journal about banned books this week too. For my 10th graders it is especially relevant, since we read Fahrenheit 451, which is all about an entire society where reading is banned completely. I think it’ll be fun to talk about. :)

  3. successwarrior

    I live in my own little personal world and am surprised when these kinds of topics come up. Haven’t we as a people matured yet?

  4. Chatty, I’m starting a unit with both of my classes – freshman/sophomore and junior/senior – that involves the Holocaust. We’re going to have a lovely opportunity to look at censorship in that.

    Lara, I’m going to start the week with a question about WHY banning books is bad. I had the conversation with the Chili Children this afternoon, and it took them a little while to express the very mature idea that it’s never okay to limit another’s opportunity for thought, but they got there!

    Alan, I like to think that we’ve evolved beyond this, too, but clearly, we haven’t. I try very hard to NOT let myself get lulled into complacency by thinking that “such things could never happen HERE.”

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