Why Are Books Being Banned Across the U.S.?
Ask Students: Why are banned books back in the spotlight? Why shouldn't books be banned? Who is trying to ban them in the U.S.?
A display of banned books. | Charles Hackey
Recently, Texas and dozens of other states banned books deemed inappropriate by politicians and parents, although many have been in school libraries for years. Why are books—especially those about people of color and queer individuals—now being banned? Watch the video clip below from NBC News and use this banned books lesson plan to work through discussion questions and exercises.
Erasure: the removal of writing, recorded material or data.
Following a recent decision in Tennessee by a school district to ban Art Spiegelman’s Holocaust-based graphic novel Maus, a local pastor led a mass book burning, including titles like Harry Potter. Written by J.K. Rowling, the series is no stranger to controversy, and decades ago groups similar to the ones banning and burning books now attempted similar tactics in the face of the series’ rising popularity. Complete the activity below and answer the discussion questions
Read the following quotes from author Stephen King and Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart. What do these quotes mean to you in light of the recent surge in banning books?
Censorship and the suppression of reading materials are rarely about family values and almost always about control, about who is snapping the whip, who is saying no, and who is saying go. Censorship's bottom line is this: if the novel Christine offends me, I don't want just to make sure it's kept from my kid; I want to make sure it's kept from your kid, as well, and all the kids. This bit of intellectual arrogance, undemocratic and as old as time, is best expressed this way: "If it's bad for me and my family, it's bad for everyone's family.
Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.
Listen to or read this short interview with two members of a banned books club in Tacoma, Wash., and answer the discussion questions.
Andy Kratochvil is an SML team member who loves hiking, scary books, Mexican food, and finding great content for the Share My Lesson community.He studied political science and French at California State University, Fullerton and received his Master’s in International Affairs from American University