It’s Banned Books Week! Why the excitement, you may ask? Because it underpins things I love – freedom, independent thought, reading, bravery, and standing up for what you believe. The theme for this year’s Banned Books Week is “Banning Books Silences Stories.”
Here are four ways to make the most of Banned Books Week with your tweens and teens.
Write to an author of a banned book and tell them about
Let an author of a banned book know how much their story means to you, how it has impacted your life, or how you appreciate their courage. Find addresses and instruction (as well as printable post cards) here.
The goal is to encourage thoughtful discussions about the power of words and how essential it is to have access to a variety of viewpoints in libraries. An additional bonus is that, in the past, authors have shared fan letters as support when their books have been challenged.
Write your own short story
To encourage authors to be brave and set your stories free, the ALA Public Library Association is hosting a national short story contest. It is open now through October 30, 2018. Get the details and the info on how to submit on the PLA website.
Speak up for banned books
Take just a couple minutes and create a video together of you reading a short passage from a banned book. Videos should be under 3 minutes. You can also share what the book you’re reading from means to you or what you’d like to say to the author. Upload it to be part of the Stand for the Banned Read Out. Get info here.
Read a banned book
This one may be obvious, but it’s so important. Here are the 10 most challenged books in 2017 and explanations of why from the American Library Association:
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Despite winning multiple awards and being the most searched-for book on Goodreads during its debut year, this YA novel was challenged and banned in school libraries and curriculums because it was considered “pervasively vulgar” and because of drug use, profanity, and offensive language.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Consistently challenged since its publication in 2007 for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism, and sexuality, this National Book Award winner was challenged in school curriculums because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
banned in school libraries because it includes LGBT characters and was considered “confusing.”
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”
George by Alex Gino
Written for elementary-age children, this Lambda Literary Award winner was challenged and banned because it includes a transgender child.
Sex is a Funny Word written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth
This 2015 informational children’s book written by a certified sex educator was challenged because it addresses sex education and is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.
And Tango Makes Three written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole
This ALA Notable Children’s Book, published in 2005, was challenged and labeled because it features a same-sex relationship.
I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
This autobiographical picture book co-written by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.