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Thanks for all of the ideas! Banned Book Week should be interesting all
across the country!
Denise Keogh, media specialist
Tipton Middle School

I am a student teacher this semester and I was thinking of doing a bulletin
board that asked
questions like what is the most banned book, etc. I was going to make the
background like flames
because of book burning. I have not quite got all of my ideas down yet, so
any that other
colleagues have would be great.
I have two favorites--one a display, the other a lesson, which I do with
8's.  For the display, I take a bunch of books that have perennial
problems (i like a variety--Bible, shakespeare, Bradbury, Dictionary,
etc) and tie them p with yellow caution tape like the cops use.  I have a
big sign that says DO NOT READ THESE BOOKS, then in smaller letters SOME
PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE DANGEROUS.  Last year I put the yellow tape in a big
X across the vertical book display that the upper schoolers see as they
enter the library--it was very effective.  On the top, or nearby, I put
some of the printouts from ALA, and the resource book so the kids can look
up why the books are banned or challenged.  I try to choose as many books
as possible from their required reading lists.  My lesson involves
pre-planning with the 8th grade LA teacher, who has a large classroom
library.  I go into her room, and ask if she "lets" the kids read this
stuff and start throwing them in a (clean) wastebasket. (For each title I
throw away, I say why --bad words, might give you ideas, etc.) Pretty soon
the kids are in an uproar, as I have undoubtedly chosen some of their
favorites, plus Of Mice and Men, wnich tehy read in September.  That opens
the discussion about allowing other people to make choices for us; I have
quotes about censorship (available from ALA's BB site) that I distribute
to small groups for discussion and then sharing.  The only problem with
this lesson is that, by the end of the day, the kids know to expect it,
and they end up offering me some of their textbooks for the trash!  It is
fun to see them really respond with horror and indignation.
I thought about have teams of middle school kids have a debate on a choice
of their book - yes, ban it; no, don't ban it....it would show how many
differing opinions and beliefs there are and how difficult it is to make
those choices.
This is a display for showcase, but it is a great idea my boss came up with-
couldn't get the
reservation on the showcase until next year though! Basically, you would
select banned books,
but not "obvious tiles" (i.e. they banned "that???")- put them in a showcase,
but cover up the glass
with black paper, cut out eyes that point to each title. Students will then
have to make a conscious
effort to peek and see what's inside in various spots. Also decorate black
paper before it is hung
with action words coming from the challenges that explain why the books were
banned- not
choosing explcit ones, but words that create the atmosphere that these are
"innocent" books (I
hope I explained that well). What grade level would this be for?
Set aside a table and wrap with "caution" tape...will make them stop,
look and checkout.
This may sound strange, but I celebrate banned books week by not drawing
attention to books we have that have been challenged or banned. That way, the
kids at my school are more likely to be able to read these. If I were in a
school (I'm k-8 and did the same when I was in a middle school), I think I
One year I built a little jail cell and put a Garfield stuffed animal in
the cell (one of the Garfield books is on the banned list).  Another year,
I did a display of books and surrounded them with yellow "do not cross"
For the past several years I have conducted a celebration that gets my
student aides all involved right away following their orientation. The
goal is to have them lead an exercise that draws attention to the
library & the feedom to read materials of choice. They play library
police and ticket anyone caught reading outside of the library following
set criteria for the week. Most decorations,showcase& handouts support
ALA's slogan for that year but this year I plan to use Demco's Read What
You Want promotional material. We post the top 100 banned booklist,
create a book display (sometimes tie the book up w/ribbon& a toy
Distribute 100 tickets made with MS Pub amongst each student aide
Share info w/teachers
Monday: Principal Announces Library Police will be on patrol.....Info
about ALA ...
Tuesday: Only girls may read today.Any boy caught reading a book of
choice could be ticketed by the library
Wednesday: Only boys may read today.......
Thursday: Any teacher caught reading today may be.......Also BY ORDER OF
ANYONE caught reading a mag.........(we cover our magazine rack
Friday: Announcement....This concludes Banned Books Week.Any students
who were ticketed by the library police should report to court((LRC)
Judge Stultz (me) will deliver suitable punishments to those students
who chose to read material of their choice. ... Court begins at8:00.
Report Promptly....
I wear a black gown(my son's college grad gown)and when the students
come in I line them up and ask them why they are here(usual response
should be"I got caught reading a book or a magazine"
I slam an old book on my counter"You were caught doingwhat!?":-)
I then proceed to pass out the punishments(candybars funded by my
generous principal)&a certificate.(Teachers in my bldg are supportive)
8th graders are wise to this activity so word gets around quickly that
they must take special care of their tickets-noticketnopunishment!
The aides are asked to conduct the promo fairly and not ticket their
"friends". (not sure this doesn't happen)but...I seldom hear any
complaints from students only..."Mrs. Stultz,how do you get one of them
tickets?":-)Teachers redeem their tickets too.
Hope this helps. If you would like me to send copies of my
handouts/masters,let me know .Iwill probably post this event on the web
this year...http://www.clyde.k12.oh.us/jh/stbstult/index.html
Apologies forthis stupid spacebar that needs to be banged to
move:-(I'vespent forever typing this)
Build a little jail and put the banned books in it.  You could use a
cardboard refrigerator box or
something of that sort and be dramatic about the whole thing.  It would get
more attention than
just the old poster/book display
You can also use a wire dog kennel.  Drape it w/black and white striped
"prison" fabric and put
the books inside.  Or cover a box or display case w/ black paper, cut holes
in the paper so people
can peek through and see the books.
This idea will take some work, but here goes:
 In the shelf location of each book, take the book away, and put a
little note: "If you are looking for <name the book> it has been
removed from the shelf. Please see the Librarian."

  Then, here and there around the Library post signs that say,



  This is sure to attract attention sooner or later -- especially if
you have not ANNOUNCED "Banned Books Week"! And then you can explain.
Last year, I went into some of our English classrooms
and discussed banned books, censorship, etc. with
students.  I took carts of frequently banned books,
handed them out, and let the students try to figure
out why they were challenged.  It worked well, since
the students were beginning to read <To Kill a
Mockingbird> or <Lord of the Flies>.  Discussing why
those books were challenged provided a nice
transition/connection to what they were doing in the
classroom.  It went well, and I think I'll try
something similar this year
I took key words out of censor's descriptions of American classics, printed
them in various
typefaces via the computer, and blew them up into various sizes (poster
printer) on bright colored
paper. Trimmed them so the words almost seemed to be bursting from the paper.
Hung these at
crazy angles all around the main exit door of the library. Near it I had a
shelf marked "Read a
banned book, today!" with copies of each book for checkout. Of course, it was
filled with
innocuous titles! But it got people thinking about their First Amendment
rights. I had a wonderful
response from kids, teachers, even the safety officers, school aides, and caf
ladies! (Also
discovered the latent censor in the English chair who harassed me the rest of
the school year!)

In addition I had sent background information to the Social Studies
Department; I also had a
crossword puzzle sheet that anyone could pick up in the library and do if
they took the time to
read the posted criticisms.

It was one of the least expensive and most effective exhibits in my time in

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