Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's Banned Books Week!

It's Banned Books Week! Now, when I mentioned that to my high school English students yesterday, they all (all) stared at me with blank looks on their faces. I didn't know whether to be annoyed that they were so clueless, or happy that they hadn't personally experienced the concept of banned books before.

Regardless, I took the time to explain what it is -- a week established by the American Library Association to raise awareness about the importance of the First Amendment and the freedom to choose which books we want to read in this country. Of course, some of the "classics" now taught in many high schools across the country were banned or at least challenged at one point, including To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, and Huck Finn. And many current favorites have also come under fire, including the Harry Potter series and Judy Blume's coming-of-age teen novel, Forever.

I also showed the students my all-time favorite YouTube video: John Green talking about why his book Looking for Alaska shouldn't be banned in a New York eleventh grade English class. It's worth another look, here:

What do you think? Is there ever a case where a book should be banned from a school or public library?

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