Censorship and Banning in Education
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Banned Books Week 2013: 13 Authors Speak Out - YouTube

"I can't imagine there's a writer out there who is in favor of banning books," says author David Handler. Handler's sentiments are echoed by fellow writers M...
Camille Cocca's insight:

This YouTube video highlights authors speaking out about banned books during the Banned Books Week this past year. Each author speaks out about why they find it wrong to ban books. One author says, “It just sounds ridiculous to me. It is like banning thoughts, banning ideas, banning people.” Another says, “I do not agree with banning books. Books can only coerce people if they want to be coerced.” Another discusses children at hand by saying, “I obviously do not approve of banning books, and I think it is angry and a violent thing to do. And it is a bad model for children growing up to be adults.” One author quoted someone else by saying, “Literature is a national memory, and if you censor it what you are doing is that you are reducing the human identity by removing these books from it and that is a very grave crime.” Each author who spoke in this video published books that are on the banned books list. None of the authors were in favor of banning books.

            This video reminded me of the Buzzfeed article of the eleven author quotes about banning books. Each quote, although different and unique, contain the same meaning: banning books is wrong. I completely agree with the authors from the article and from the video. With each new quote I hear, it just adds to my disagreement of banning books. Each quote makes me think deeply about why books are banned and the affects of banning books. Through this thought process I am realizing new reasons as to why I do not agree with banning books. I am coming across heavier implications of banning books that I did not think of before. Through the findings of each scoop I have made, I am seeing just how serious banning books is, and why this still needs to be a conversation had between students and teachers. Just because books are banned does not mean a teacher should not discuss them. Teachers can state the reasons as to why the books have been banned and then as a class discuss why the books should not be banned, and what elements of the book are actually necessary and powerful. In my future classroom, I will have open dialogues with my students about banned books and allow them to make their own choices on that matter. 

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Facts on Fiction : Book Review for Perks of Being a Wallflower, The by Stephen Chbosky

Facts on Fiction : Book Review for Perks of Being a Wallflower, The by Stephen Chbosky | Censorship and Banning in Education | Scoop.it
Camille Cocca's insight:

The “Facts on Fiction” website provides both the positive and negative elements of books that have been banned or challenged. This specific page is about the challenged book, Perks of Being a Wallflower. The positive elements of the book include: positive group action and/or traits, positive personal action and/or traits, positive response to negative circumstances or peer pressure, inspiring characters (triumph over adversity and hardship), and consequences to lying, cheating, etc. The negative subject matter includes: conflict (racial, gender, etc.), death, suicide, war, rape, witchcraft (seeking God-like powers through fortune-telling), gender/sex identity issues, religion, profanity/language, violence, anti-social elements, and crisis (separation and/or divorce, abandonment, addiction, etc.). Each element is rated as to how often each appears in the book.

            After reading this list of elements, I was surprised when I saw gender/sex identity issues was listed under the negative elements. How is this negative? Why are we using the term “issue” when discussing gender/sex identification in books? If the character is having difficulties figuring out their gender/sex identification, that is not an “issue.” That is a part of life. Using the term “issue” is problematic. The gender/sex identity element of this book is to show how confusing and difficult figuring out your identification can be, because that is reality. Many young adults need this book because they can relate to these characters and the hardships they are facing. They need the book to get them through rough times they are having and difficulties they are facing with themselves, peers, family, and society. This book is a safe haven for some individuals, including my sister as mentioned in the previous scoop. It is powerful and is a necessary coming-of-age book for many teenagers having a hard time finding themselves and fitting in. This book does include some touchy topics like drugs, abuse, and attempted suicide, but that is the reality for many individuals who are looking for books like Perks of Being a Wallflower so they can unpack their lives and figure out what it going on. Just because some people find these elements inappropriate does not mean they are not happening in reality to people every day. Real people struggle with the topics that are presented in this book and that are why they can relate and connect to this book. My sister needed this book during some of her hardest times, battling obstacles of figuring out what was going on in her life and who she was on the inside. This book helped her through those times of heartache, and without she would still be lost. Books that contain touchy/”negative” elements are books that portray reality for many individuals, and we cannot shield those individuals from their own lives by censoring books such as Perks of Being a Wallflower. 

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Banned Books That Shaped America

Banned Books That Shaped America | Censorship and Banning in Education | Scoop.it
Camille Cocca's insight:

This page was found on the “Banned Books Week” website, and it provides the list of books that is a part of an exhibit called “Books that Shaped America” that the Library of Congress created. The exhibit explores books that “have a profound effect on American life.” The list of books from the exhibit that have been banned/challenged includes The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, Fahrenheit 451, The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Where the Wild Things Are. The website states that “Harper Lee’s great American tome stands as proof positive that the censorious impulse is alive and well in our country, even today. For some educators, the Pultizer-prize winning book is one of the greatest texts teens can study in an American literature class. Others have called it a degrading, profane, and racist work that “promotes white supremacy” [To Kill a Mockingbird].”

            After reading this list of powerful, moving books that have been banned/challenged, I felt shocked and disappointed. I do not know what I would have done without books like The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird. Those two novels were my favorite books to read in high school. I learned so much from these books and they shaped the way I read and understand literature to this day. They are of high quality in my mind and they are beautiful works of literature that have truly “shaped America.” I would most definitely agree with the title of the exhibit. These books really have shaped our country and should not be banned or challenged. By doing so, we are only shielding children of the realities of our history. We cannot change our history. We can only teach our history for what it was so that children can learn from it, be shaped and empowered by it, and not allow for history to repeat in their future. We teach history so that we can see how far we have come and how far we still need to go. These books show the powerful changes we can see today in our world, and they show that change is possible. These books that have shaped our country make students think and they allow students to challenge the world around them. 

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Schools and Censorship: Banned Books

Schools and Censorship: Banned Books | Censorship and Banning in Education | Scoop.it
An overview of attempts- some successful- to ban books in public schools.
Camille Cocca's insight:

This page is found on the “People For the American Way” website, and it discusses the issue at hand with censoring/banning books and why it happens. First, they provide the definition of censorship as defined by the American Association of School Administrators and the American Library Association, “The removal, suppression, or restricted circulation of literary, artistic, or educational materials—of images, ideas, and information—on the grounds that these are morally or otherwise objectionable in light of standards applied by the censor.” The page continues by stating, “Every day someone tries to control or otherwise restrict oral expressions, broadcast message, or written words. Almost every idea, at one point, has proven to be objectionable to someone.” The page then argues that our basic right, the freedom to express ourselves as we see fit, is promised to us by the First Amendment to the United States’ Constitution. The First Amendment ensures the “freedom to express one’s opinion even if that onion might be considered unpopular or unorthodox”. They argue that the Constitution in fact states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances,” yet, “continued attempts to censor words, thought, and opinions remain constant.”

            According to the American Library Association, “a challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group… Challenges so not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access to others.” The page provides a fact concerning challenges to books between 1990 and 2000 to be 6,364 challenges between these years. The bases of the challenges were due to “sexually explicit” material, use of “offensive language,” non age-appropriate or “unsuited to age group,” “violent” material, material “promoting homosexuality,” etc.

            After reading the facts and the reasons as to why books are challenged, all I could think was that every book published will contain something along the lines mentioned on the website that will offend at least one person for whatever reason. That does not mean we should challenge or ban every book. If we did that, children would have no variety in their literature and would not be opened up to different representations and perspectives, cultures, religions, gender identifications, and more. When we challenge books for “promoting homosexuality” we are excluding children who need those books to better understand themselves, their families, and people around them. Each book pertains and relates to at least one individual, and that said individual needs that book to help them to find themselves. The banning of specific literature only hurt children who are just trying to connect and to relate to books so that they can understand what is going on in their own lives. If the book is of age/grade level, then I do not see why books should be censored. The parents can have a say, but others should not be able to restrict the use of literature because it only offends them in particular. Just because if offends you doesn’t mean it would offend someone else. That someone else could really relate to that book and need that book as his/her own personal safe haven. Should we really be stripping children of the opportunity to grow in their love for literature, of their chance to find themselves and connect with books, and of their abilities to find literature that they appreciate?

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Reasons for Banning Books - Banned Books - LibGuides at Butler University

Reasons for Banning Books - Banned Books - LibGuides at Butler University | Censorship and Banning in Education | Scoop.it
Information about books that have been banned from schools and libraries Common reasons for banning books from schools or libraries.
Camille Cocca's insight:

This page is found on the “Butler University Libraries” website and it lists the reasons as to why books are banned/challenged. This website is like my “Facts on Fiction” scoop for The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The reasons behind banning/challenging are: racial issues, encouragement of “damaging” lifestyles, blasphemous dialog, sexual situations or dialog, violence or negativity, presence of witchcraft, religious affiliations, political bias, and age inappropriate. After the list of reasons, the page also states, “Many books have been banned or censored in one or more f these categories due to misjudgment or misunderstanding about the books contents and message. Although a book may have been banned or labeled a certain way, it is important that the reader makes his/her own judgments on the book.” They mention that many books that have been banned or censored have later been dropped from banned books lists and no longer considered controversial. For that reason, banned books week occurs annually to “give readers a chance to revisit past or recently banned books to encourage a fresh look into the controversies the books faced.”

            For some reason, I do not remember ever taking part in banned books week in my own schools. I barely remember banned books week being mentioned let alone discussed. The idea of banned books week and great and should be pushed in schools. I have read many lists of reasons as to why books are banned/challenged and I have heard many opinions from individuals as to why they believe certain books should be banned, and I can see where these reasons and opinions are coming from. I just do not agree completely with them because I think it is up to the reader or the parents of the reader to decide what books are appropriate to read. I do not believe that anyone should be able to make that decision for someone else. Challenging and banning books is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. So many books that have been banned are books that have either shaped our very own country, or shaped individual lives of children and adults alike who relate and connect to these books. I do not understand why we should take the opportunity of finding oneself in literature and understanding the world around oneself away from an individual. What is the reasoning behind taking that away from someone? Literature can be so powerful and meaningful in one’s life, we should be more careful as to what literature we challenge and ban. 

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Book Nerd

Book Nerd | Censorship and Banning in Education | Scoop.it
The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.
Camille Cocca's insight:

This pin is a quote by Oscar Wilde on the topic of banned books and censorship. I completely agree with this quote. We ban books that show our cruel history, but we cannot erase our past. We can only learn and grow from it. The banned books shed light on the reality of our history and we cannot hide from it by banning the books. That doesn’t make the history nonexistent. These books allow for discussions and conversations in the classroom to learn from our history and find ways to continually change the wrongs in our world. These books are powerful tools that need to be taught in the classroom as means to empower children to take action. 

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Poem Farm Poems

Poem Farm Poems | Censorship and Banning in Education | Scoop.it
The Poem Farm: Are You There, God?Banned Books Week - from The Poem Farm, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's blog full of hundreds of poem, poem mini lessons, and poetry ideas for home and classroom - www.poemfarm.amylv.com...
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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower | Censorship and Banning in Education | Scoop.it
Perks of Being a Wallflower book hideaway box Unique & by RFabiano, $35.00
Camille Cocca's insight:

Before looking into the different websites about banned books, I had never given much thought to the concept of banning books. For some reason, I thought there wasn't much banning books going on seeing as how it is 2013 and children should not be restricted and sheltered from life, the world, and reality. Books can teach them different aspects of life, society, and ultimately allow them to find themselves, so why should we limit their resources in doing so by banning books based on content certain individuals find inappropriate. As long as a child is reading at their age level and they are reading books with characters around their age so that they can relate, I think it is up for the child to decide what they want to read. I understand "inappropriate" content such as sexuality, drugs, violence, and death can be touchy subjects that people jump at to censor from children, but if the book is at their age level, then they should be able to read the book and learn about topics they may not learn about any other way. 

The book, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," by Stephen Chbosky was the number three book on the list of challenged books for 2009 according to the ALA. After reading the facts and fiction of this book on the Facts on Fiction website (a website that provides the “facts on fiction” as to why books are banned/censored), I can see why this book has been challenged. The book contains drugs, abuse, suicide, mental illness, homosexuality, and much more. Although I can understand why some would find this content to be inappropriate and therefore challenge the book, I do not agree with banning this book. This book is beautifully written, emotional, and coming-of-age. It is about a somewhat damaged teenaged boy who is having a hard time with life in general and is just trying to find a way to overcome his feelings of doubt and insecurity. This book tackles real-life situations for teenagers who are confused and may even be struggling with a mental illness. Some children need this book and will connect with Charlie, the main character. They will learn from his struggles and they will learn about topics that should not be sugarcoated and are not in this book. My younger sister is a teenager who struggles with Asperger’s syndrome and depression and very much connected with this character. She learned more about herself and about how to tackle life through this book, and it pulled her through some of her darkest times. Should we ban a book that has this powerful effect on some individuals who really need to find their safe havens in books? As society and the world around us continually changes, content of books has been changing as well to fit this transformation we see in daily life and to address real-life topics that children need to read about and connect with so that they can truly find themselves through literature. We should not censor children from the world that they are living in, from reality, by banning powerful books such as "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." 

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Banned Books Week 2013: Books about LGBT Families Remain Targets of Censorship

Banned Books Week 2013: Books about LGBT Families Remain Targets of Censorship | Censorship and Banning in Education | Scoop.it
2013 has been a landmark year for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families. In June the Supreme Court struck down the discriminatory
Camille Cocca's insight:

This article can be found on the “American Civil Liberties Union” (“Blog of Rights) website, and it discusses Banned Books Week 2013, specifically books about LBGT families. The article mentions the strides that have been made to restore the freedom to marry for same-sex couples and how far the country has come in those terms. Despite those breakthroughs, books about LBGT people and their families remain one of the biggest targets of censorship in school classrooms and libraries. The American Library Association complies a list of books that have been the most frequent targets of censorship, and almost every year one of the books on that list is And Tango Makes Three, a children’s books about two male penguins who mate and are given an abandoned egg to raise together at the New York Central Park Zoo. The story is a true story of two male penguins from this zoo a few years ago. The article continues by discussing the fact that anti-LBGT censorship has extending into cyberspace as well. Schools have been blocking access to non-sexual websites about LBGT people and their families. As the article states, “For gay people and their families this type of censorship is not just an abstract philosophical concern. The fact of the matter is that children with same-sex parents attend schools across the country, and blocking websites and removing books from the shelves won’t change that. It only serves to stigmatize these students and their families as something dirty or shameful. Libraries should reflect the diversity of all kinds of ideas—and all kinds of families.”

            This article was very eye opening. I knew these types of books would be considered controversial and would be banned, but this article really shows how harmful that can be for children who need those books and who identify with those books. I have mentioned in other scoops that I am a firm believer in all children being represented in literature offered in classrooms. When one child is not being represented and cannot relate to any of the books, they will only start to doubt themselves, feel confused, and start thinking that there must be something wrong with them and they are just too “different.” This only happens when libraries do not offer all representations and ban books that represent real people, such as the LBGT community and families. Just by banning books about the LBGT community and families does not mean they are not real people and do not deserve to be represented. More and more children are born to LBGT families and identify with the LBGT community, so why do books pertaining to them remain at the top of the most banned books lists. Why should they be left out? Why should they feel ashamed about their families and who they are as individuals? What kind of message is this sending to children? It is very upsetting to me reading about these banned books, because it is truly harmful to young children when their lifestyles are being banned and censored through literature banning. 

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Community Post: 11 Quotes From Authors On Censorship and Banned Books

Community Post: 11 Quotes From Authors On Censorship and Banned Books | Censorship and Banning in Education | Scoop.it
In observance of Banned Books Week here's a list of quotes from authors about censorship & banned books. Share your favorite with us in the comments!
Camille Cocca's insight:

This page can be found on the “Buzzfeed” website and it lists eleven quotes from authors on censorship and banned books. The few that stuck out to me included: “There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches [Ray Bradbury],” A word to the unwise. Torch every book. Char every page. Burn every word to ash. Ideas are incombustible. And therein lies your real fear [Ellen Hopkins],” “If you didn’t want your kids to eat candy, would you forbid all their friends to eat it too? If you didn’t want your kids to stay up late, would you forbid all their friends to stay up too? If you didn’t want your kids to read Twilight, would you forbid all their friends to read it too? [Sonya Sones],” and “Banning books gives us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight [Stephen Chbosky].”

            I could go on and on about these quotes because they are very powerful, insightful, and beautifully worded. I agree with each quote listed on this page. I especially enjoyed the quote by Sonya Sones because it makes a great point that I have been mentioning throughout my scoops. I do not agree with someone censoring someone else from books just because they find it inappropriate. It does not mean the other person should not read it. It only means that if you find it inappropriate, then you do not have to read it. You should not get a say and you should be able to restrict anyone else but yourself as to what can be read. If you as a parent do not agree with something, then you can instill that on your own child, but not anyone else’s child. Although this may seem straight forward, this is exactly what happens when books are banned or censored. That is one person making a decision for millions based on their own opinion, which affects more than just that one person. That is why banning is such a serious matter. Why and how have these individuals been giving such a power as to ban books for millions of people? Who should have such power of so many people? Choosing to read books and choosing which are appropriate are just that: a choice. That should not be stripped from anyone, especially when it comes to something as meaningful and shaping as literature. These quotes really made me think about the importance of the issue of banning/challenging books. I already did not agree with banning books, but these quotes just confirmed and even added to my disagreement of banning books. 

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