Tag: British Lit.

Banned Books Week 2015, courtesy ala.org/bbooks
Banned Books Week 2015, courtesy ala.org/bbooks

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!

F(READ)OM!!

Admin Class Resources Reading Picks

A Monster Calls. Patrick Ness. Candlewick Press. 2011
A Monster Calls. Patrick Ness. Candlewick Press. 2011

I’m in the midst of grad school books (in addition to my upkeep with To Kill a Mockingbird and Beowulf), so there isn’t much to share in my current readings that most students would be interested in.  Conversations in the senior classes, however, reminded me of a very, very good book I picked up in our school library a few years ago that is perfectly timed for the change in seasons.  If you aren’t already excited to read this month’s pick by the compelling cover art alone, the above book should appeal to you for many, marvelous reasons.  Not least of which is the promise of the title – indeed, A Monster Calls (from Candlewick Press, 2011).

A Monster Calls was inspired by an idea from author Siobhan Dowd, a famed, prize-winning British writer of young adult fiction who died from a severe case of breast cancer in 2007.  Her (unfortunately) short list of completed works were widely recognized by literary awards, including the Carnegie, which is the British version of the Newbery Medal.  In the words of Patrick Ness, who completed this story: “She had the characters, a premise, and a beginning.  What she didn’t have, unfortunately, was time.”  Ness, author of the Chaos Walking series, picked up her idea and ran with it to a Carnegie Medal of his own for this novella, which details the troubled nights of Conor – a 13-year-old boy with an ailing mother and an inhuman visitor.

Illustration by Jim Kay from A Monster Calls.
Illustration by Jim Kay from A Monster Calls.

The Monster in this book is of the Wild – a creature of the thresholds who is literally made of the natural world, visiting Conor each night seven minutes after twelve.  The creature is vividly brought to life in award-winning illustrations by Jim Kay, and the images blend seamlessly into the words much as the natural world slowly encroaches on our own concept of “safe” “civilization”.  The theme of slow, inexorable changes settles in the pages: in Conor’s attitude, his mother’s health, and the changing role of the monster who visits Conor night after night, stories in hand.

Storytelling is the one of the main takeaways of this novel, which addresses all of the English classes this year.  I won’t say any more about this book in the hopes that you will check it out for yourself for a monstrously-good read in this most exciting of seasons.  Again, the book is available in our own school library, as are the Chaos Walking books, and a host of other Carnegie winners (and fantasy/young adult fiction books).  If nothing else has you looking for this pick, think of it as a chance to read it before it gets cool – the upcoming movie adaptation is due October 2016, written by Ness, and starring Liam Neeson and Felicity Jones.

12th Grade: European Literature 9th Grade: Intro to Literature Reading Picks

1-Music-GIF

Here are the class tunes for the first month of autumn.

  1. Matt & Kim – Daylight
  2. Emeli Sandé – Next to Me
  3. Bruce Springsteen – Land of Hope and Dreams
  4. The Cure – Friday, I’m in Love
  5. Elle King – Ex’s & Oh’s
  6. Mumford & Sons – Babel
  7. KT Tunstall – I Don’t Want You Now
  8. Steve Martin – Late for School
  9. Taio Cruz – Dynamite
  10. Tomoyasu Hotel – Battle Without Honor Or Humanity
  11. Haim – The Wire
  12. Mika – Grace Kelly
  13. Eddie Beram – Riot in Thunder Alley
  14. Mary Black – Treasure Island
  15. The National – England
  16. Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill
  17. Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe Soundtrack) – All My Loving
  18. Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint – The Sharpest Thorn
  19. Roy Orbison – Oh, Pretty Woman
  20. Harry McClintock (O Brother, Where Art Thou Soundtrack) – Big Rock Candy Mountain
  21. The Clash – Train in Vain
  22. Tommy Tutone – 867-5309/Jenny
  23. Queen – Seven Seas of Rhye
  24. Nashville Cast – Borrow My Heart
  25. Brett Dennen – Comeback Kid (That’s My Dog)
  26. Duffy – Mercy
  27. Dropkick Murphys – Worker’s Song
  28. Regina Spektor – On the Radio
  29. The Avett Brothers – And It Spread
  30. Kris Kristofferson (Ghost Brothers of Darkland County Soundtrack) – How Many Days
  31. Ennio Morricone – The Ecstasy of Gold (from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)
  32. The Handsome Family – Fallen Peaches
  33. Natalie Merchant – The Man in the Wilderness
  34. Sting – Fields of Gold

Playlists