Last month, the American Library Association conducted its annual celebration of the freedom to read. The MS/US Library provided multiple activities for Harrisburg Academy students in recognition of this week: taking pictures with banned books; a banned book quiz; a checklist of books that have been banned; and a “guess what the shredded book is?” game.
These activities sparked conversations with students about the action of banning books and why it happens. Books get challenged, and sometimes banned, whenever someone disagrees with the content or the author.
“Hop on Pop?” — Challenged because it encourages violence against fathers.
“A Light in the Attic?” — Challenged because it teaches children to break dishes rather than dry them.
There are some well-documented cases about censorship. One of them, Island Trees SD v. Pico, is a case about First Amendment rights, denying the right to read, that made it all the way to the Supreme Court!
Many of the students were surprised to hear that books actually face challenges. These conversations highlighted how important it is to have open access to information and the harm that restricted access can cause. Bringing these issues to light helps us keep access to these materials at Harrisburg Academy and across our greater community.
Learn more about Harrisburg Academy on our school website.
Banned Book Week.” CBS News, 2017, www.cbsnews.com/pictures/banned-books-week/6/.
Crutcher, Chris. “Board of Education vs Pico.” Chris Crutcher, 2017, www.chriscrutcher.com/teens-can-stop-censors.html.
Mumford, Tracy. “Banned Books Week: Yes, someone once tried to ban ‘Hop on Pop’.” MPR News, 27 Sept. 2016, www.mprnews.org/story/2016/09/27/banned-books-week.