9.27.2011

Twilight? The Hunger Games? Top 10 Challenged Books of 2010

This week is Banned Books Week, sponsored by The American Library Association. I wrote a post on my other blog about it, but thought I would add this link to The Huffington Post's InfoGraph with the Top 10 Challenged Books of 2010, and the reasons why. It is amazing to see many of my students' favorites on the list. But some of the reasons for why they were challenged are baffling. I think it just goes to prove that many of the people who challenge these books read only small parts rather than basing their objection on the book as a whole.

The interactive InfoGraph can be found here on "Huff Post Books" page.



APPLYING THIS IN THE CLASSROOM
To educate our youth on censorship and freedom of speech, I ask them to journal their thoughts on censorship. I show them the lists of censored/challenged books (and another visual aide, found here, which shows some surprising banned books). Then I start asking them some specific questions, such as:

1. Do you believe in freedom of speech? Explain.

2. Do you believe in censorship, or removing materials from the library or classroom if someone opposes them? Why/why not?

3. Are there any books that should not be allowed in schools? Explain.

4. Are there any books that should not be allowed in libraries? Explain.

5. Are there any books that should never be printed? Explain.

After they write, I ask them some discussion questions to reflect on their answers, such as:

-If you answered "no" to number 1, but "yes" to numbers 4 or 5, then you need to change your answer to number 1 to "yes."

I bring up one of my favorite quotes by Noam Chomsky:

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." 

This always makes them stop and think. If they wish to have freedom of speech for themselves and their beliefs, it is only fair to allow it for all. It ceases to be freedom of speech when we limit others' rights.

Do you have a discussion with your students about censorship and/or banned books?

Don't forget to download my FREE banned books bookmarks, found on my Teachers Pay Teachers website:









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I teach high school English in Illinois; enjoy family time, baseball, collecting PEZ dispensers, and talking about anything related to my favorite books. They include The Hunger Games trilogy, To Kill a Mockingbird, the Chaos Walking trilogy, and anything written by Amy Tan.

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