Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

This year at Eastchester Public Library, we want to highlight books that used to be banned that we consider classics today as well as books that are challenged today. In the 1960’s Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” was banned or challenged in many Public Libraries, Schools, and homes. Today, “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, a book with similar themes, is challenged in many schools and libraries. What can we learn from banned books in the past and what do they show us about book banning today? 

At Eastchester Public Library, we want books to unite us. Books are an avenue for conversations and learning across the board. We want to highlight the books we love to better serve our community. 

 

Below are some resources about Banned Books Week and links to help:

 

Educator Resources

 

The First Amendment in Schools: A Resource Guide
NCAC presents a collection of materials on the topic of censorship in schools for the use of students, educators, and parents everywhere. Check it out here.

Responding to Book Challenges: A Handbook for Educators
The Free Expression Educators Handbook contains practical tools and advice for managing book challenges and censorship controversies in schools and school libraries. The handbook, created by The National Coalition Against Censorship in collaboration with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), is intended for teachers, librarians, and school administrators. Read it here.

Using Graphic Novels in Education
This ongoing column from CBLDF examines specific graphic novels, including those that have been targeted by censors, and provides teaching and discussion suggestions for the use of such books in classrooms. Check out the columns here.

CBLDF Discussion Guides
CBLDF’s Discussion Guides are tools that can be used to lead conversations about challenged graphic novels and to help allay misconceptions about comics. Click through to download the guides.

Censorship Guide for Teachers: 12 Ways to Use Project Censored in Your Classroom
Project Censored has suggestions for incorporating its programming into classrooms here. Project Censored has additional educator resources available here.

Faculty Rights & Resources
This page collects all of FIRE’s resources for faculty members, including on our publications and teaching materials, faculty conferences and webinars, and other opportunities. This site is updated and expanded as FIRE develops new programs and resources. Read it here.

The Students’ Right to Read
Gives model procedures for responding to challenges, including “Citizen’s Request for Reconsideration of a Work.” Read it here.

Guidelines for Selection of Materials in English Language Arts Programs
Presents criteria and procedures that ensure thoughtful teacher selection of novels and other materials.

NCTE Position Statement Regarding Rating or “Red-Flagging” Books
Explains why rating books, or ‘red-flagging,” is a form of censorship that schools should not practice. Find it here.

Statement on Classroom Libraries
Explains why classroom libraries play a key role in providing access to books and promoting literacy. States NCTE’s support for efforts to provide teachers with the ability to exercise their professional judgment in developing and maintaining classroom libraries. Check it out here.

NCTE Beliefs about the Students’ Right to Write
During this era of high-stakes testing, technology-based instruction, and increased control over students’ expression due to school violence, students’ right to write must be protected. Read the statement here.

Student Resources

 

 

BE HEARD! Protecting Your Protest Rights
A joint effort of NCAC and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Be Heard! Protecting Your Rights is a short comic by Kai Texel that delineates the protest rights of students in the United States. View this important tool for student advocacy here.

High School Network
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s High School Network is designed with K-12 education in mind. Achieving a robust free speech culture in college requires that students get a proper Constitutional grounding before they arrive on campus. That’s why FIRE is expanding its offerings by developing a variety of First Amendment educational resources aimed at fostering greater appreciation for American liberties among high schoolers. Check out the resources here.

Kids’ Right to Read Project
The Kids’ Right to Read Project (KRRP) is a signature aspect of NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Program. KRRP offers support, education, and direct advocacy to people facing book challenges or bans in schools and libraries and engages local activists in promoting the freedom to read. It was co-founded with the American Booksellers for Free Expression and is supported in part by the Association of American Publishers and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Check out the KRRP website for more information.

FIRE’S Spotlight Database
FIRE’s Spotlight Database rates policies that regulate student expression at over 475 colleges and universities. Public institutions bound by the First Amendment and private schools that promise free speech rights are rated as “green light,” “yellow light,” or “red light” institutions based on the extent to which they restrict free speech. Check out the database here.

Student Rights on Campus Guides
It is imperative that our nation’s future leaders be educated about the central tenets of a free society and that they be able to debate and resolve peaceful differences without resorting to coercion and repression. To help achieve this goal, FIRE launched its series of Guides to Student Rights on Campus. Check them out here.

The Student’s Right to Read
NCTE and its constituent groups have developed position statements on a variety of education issues vital to the teaching and learning of English language arts. All students have the right to materials and educational experiences that promote open inquiry, critical thinking, diversity in thought and expression, and respect for others. Read NCTE’s Student’s Right to Read statement here.

Youth Advisory Board
Index on Censorship’s Youth Advisory Board is a specially selected group of young people aged 16-25 who advise and inform Index on Censorship’s work, support our ambition to fight for free expression around the world and ensure our engagement with issues with tomorrow’s leaders. Learn more here.

Youth Free Expression Program
NCAC launched the Youth Free Expression Program in 2010 to address the virtually unchecked assault on the free speech rights of young people. Through advocacy and education, the project supports the rights of youth to access information, as well as their freedom to question, learn, and think for themselves. One of the initiatives supported by the program is the Youth Free Expression Film Contest.