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My question was;
I have an English teacher doing a unit/project on "banned books". Although
she didn't contact me ahead of time I have managed to get on the agenda for
the project. I will do a presentation for the class regarding intellectual
freedom, first amendment, censorship, library selection policy. There is a
lot of material on the ALA website that will help me put this together.

The main posts I received had to do with introducing the topic of banned
books. In this case, the classroom teacher had already done that, I only
heard about it when the kids were all asking for the same titles and I asked
what was going on. So I pushed and got on the agenda to talk about the topic
from a library point of view. I did make a powerpoint presentation (bare
bones as I used it as a springboard for discussion) by you are all welcome
to take a look. Go to and on the right
hand side, look under Professional Development.

The posts;

Kathy Reel (posted with her permission) has a powerpoint
she is willing to share, contact her directly.

 Several years ago when I was working on my National Boards, I did a unit
on banned and challenged books with a 9th grade class. I found a list of
the fifty most frequently challenged books and made a copy of the list
without titling it. I gave one to each student and had them circle the books
they'd read - then I told them that someone, somewhere, had decided they
shouldn't read it. They were astonished. That led in to a discussion of
intellectual freedom, censorship, first amendment rights, etc.

Then I took the lists, separated them by who read what, and sat the kids  at
tables with the books they'd read. Their task was to discuss the book  (one
per table) and decide why they thought a challenge had been issued.  I got
some very interesting discussions from the kids - they were very astute,
and brought up things I wouldn't have thought of.

I don't have a visual, but this is what I do each year for the 8th grade
during banned books week. At the beginning of the period I am already in the
LA room, browsing the extensive classroom library. I ask the teacher if she
lets the kids read the books--all of them? Then I start in on a tirade,
tossing books into the (cleaned out in advance) wastebasket declaring them
to be "obscene" or "dangerous" or "having bad words" or "giving children
ideas" etc.--the usual complaints. For kids who know me (most do) they are
appalled and taken aback. The teacher is appropriately indignant. We "argue"
a bit about freedom of choice and I ask the kids about their "freedoms", ask
where it comes from. Evenutally someone will bring of the Bill of Rights and
we go from there. (I wear my 1st amendment t-shirt under a red sweater,
which I take off at the appropriate time, when the kids can't quite remember
what the 1st amendment is.)We've done this for years and it's very
effective. We talk about who has the right to choose reading mateirasl for
kids (also movies, video games, music etc.) I am sure to portray would-be
and actual censors as intelligent and deeply caring folks. We usually end
with assorted quotes from authors, judges, statesmen, journalists about
censorship to be discussed in small groups and shared. My favorite: (I hope
this translates well via e-mail)--IT LOOKS LIKE AN EYE CHART (available if
you do a Google image search on banned books)

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