Every year, the last week in September becomes the focal point for a concerted effort to celebrate the freedom to read. In this country, the First Amendment’s right to free speech must contend with a long history of censorship – promoted by individuals, organizations, and government. Banned Books Week is organized by the American Library Association (ALA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and a host of non-profits, publishers, and legal defense funds. It is supported by myself, among much of the reading world, and, through this week’s Extra Credit opportunity, by you!
To receive Extra Credit for Banned Books Week, you must choose one of the following options, and use professional images, symbols, designs, or media:
A) Create a Poster to celebrate the week, using the three requirements below:
- Include the title Banned Books Week, in flashy color/font to catch the attention of passerby
- Include a quote about censorship from this video provided by Simon & Schuster Books: Celebrate the Freedom to Read
- Include suggestions on how to celebrate Banned Books Week in school or at home
B) Create a Handout to share information about banned and challenged books, using these criteria:
- A list of frequently challenged books (Here’s a resource from the ALA)
- Reasons why books are often challenged (Resources from the Huffington Post, in 2012 and 2014)
- A checklist of frequently challenged books – check off as many as you’ve read!
C) Compose a 1 page essay (typed – 12pt font, TNR, double-spaced) on To Kill a Mockingbird as a challenged book. Why (and where/when) has it frequently been challenged? What might be ironic about wanting this book censored? What is your reflection on reading the book – how might you oppose or defend a challenge to this book at our school?
Whichever option you choose, it must be submitted by the end of the day Thursday, October 1. To be eligible, you must follow the requirements for each option, as well as aim for professional quality (Mom would put it on the fridge, and so would I!). Successful efforts will be awarded 20pts, and above-average efforts 30pts (each option is worth more than a homework assignment!). If nothing else, you can celebrate this week by finishing TKAM, and moving on to a new book which, having been published, probably has found someone to challenge it by now!