Flocabulary Summer Activities (3)

Banned Books Week: What’s the Hype?

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Photo courtesy of Sam Bortle, Woodward Memorial Library

Flocab LOVES librarians! I mean, we even have a whole rap about it. And this is a special week for our favorite book-loving friends. Between September 27th and October 3rd, bookworms all over the country celebrate Banned Books Week!

 So why are librarians putting on their party hats for a bunch of banned and challenged books?

 According to the American Library Association, Banned Books Week is a celebration of the freedom to read. The week brings the topic of censorship into focus, and celebrates that despite some texts being banned, most books have remained available, allowing continued access to information, spread of knowledge and expression of ideas.

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Photo courtesy of Gwyneth Jones

 We talked to our friend and teacher librarian extraordinaire, Gwyneth Jones (AKA the Daring Librarian), to get some insider perspective. As a middle school librarian, Gwyneth noted, “We want to have books that appeal to and are available for every year of growth for students, from entering middle school to leaving middle school.” She pointed out that while it’s important to guide students to books that are appropriate for their maturity level, it’s also important to provide a wide variety of reads. She also highlighted that books that touch on topics that are intense or controversial may help us explore the world and connect with important themes in our own lives.

 

 

Gearing up for Banned Books Week at her school, Gwyneth put together a display of banned books in the library (check it out above) – a move that has students gobbling up contentious texts, with many in the library’s collection checked out even at the start of the week. To see more about how Gwyenth and other librarians are celebrating Banned Books Week, check out this story in School Library Journal.

 Are you talking about banned or challenged books with your students this week? Here’s how you can use Flocabulary for discussions that touch on language arts, history, and more!

Watch

Check out one of our literature videos focused on a challenged book from history. Some of our key picks are listed below.

If you’re curious about other titles questioned through history, check out BannedBooksWeek.org’s list of Banned Books That Shaped America.

Review

What is freedom of speech and why is it important to all of us in the U.S.A.? Review the 1st Amendment with our Bill of Rights video.

Debate

Check out our lesson plan for a class debate, but instead of crafting arguments about news topics, task students with centering their positions around one of the challenged works above or on the topic of banned books more generally.

How are you celebrating Banned Books Week? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

Molly Cronin

Molly's love of education began when she landed her first job at age 17 as a preschool teacher's aide, where she changed countless diapers and led groups of toddlers in many a nursery rhyme. She studied communications, marketing, and education at Cornell University, where she wrote articles for university publications, co-hosted a radio show and led PR for a children's advocacy organization. After a stint in the crazy world of agency PR, she now blends her background in communications and her passion for education in her sales and partnership work at Flocabulary. When she's off Flocab duty, she can be found scouring food blogs and old cookbooks or traipsing around Alphabet City.

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