Banned Books Week brings attention to censorship and how the freedom to read and seek new ideas expands our knowledge and understanding of the world around us.
Throughout the months of August and September, Woodland students learned about Banned Books Week (September 26-October 2), an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Launched in 1982, Banned Books Week brings attention to censorship and how the freedom to read and seek new ideas expands our knowledge and understanding of the world around us. During Library class, lower and middle school students studied the history of Banned Books Week and the process by which books are challenged and banned. Students were surprised to learn that many of their favorite books, such as Harry Potter and Charlotte’s Web, are banned in some places in the United States. Students in grades 4-8 were assigned to read a banned book and to research why their assigned book was banned. Classes debated whether books should be banned and decided on a class project to display their new knowledge. The lesson was integrated into several disciplines including humanities, art, and music. Displays by grade were each available for viewing for one week in the Woodland School library.
Fourth grade students created posters which shared their research and thoughts about banned books. They also wrote and performed a song about banned books.
Many books are banned because they are about magic and witchcraft. For this reason, fifth grade students “jailed” books that were challenged and placed books guilty of being banned into the cauldron.
The sixth grade display had a Halloween theme. Students built a graveyard, where each tombstone had the title, the birth date (publication date), the date of death (the first date it was banned), and a symbol or icon from the story.
Seventh and Eighth grade students designed album covers of the banned books they studied and compiled a soundtrack to go with the album covers. Students also created protest signs and wrote and performed a song sharing why books should not be banned.
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