I have recently started to read The Giver by Lois Lowry and while doing some research on the plot I learned that it was once on a banned books list and continues to be in many small districts and counties across the U.S.
Not only was The Giver on the list, but also some of the most popular books, classics and many recent popular young adult literature-that adolescents today can not put down. Some of the books on the list were those I currently teach in 11th grade American Literature such as The Crucible by Arthur Miller, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and some short stories by Ernest Hemingway.
The premise behind banning some books offer some valid reasons: age inappropriate, blasphemous dialogue, bashing views of cultures and religions, and unhealthy lifestyle choices by characters. What we should keep in mind as educators is that every generation has had its ideals and desire to pass them down to the next generation, but instead of censoring books that might prevent from the passing on of previous generations ideology, the previous era’s political, economic, and cultural values should be considered and taught for a deeper understanding and overview of the book. It is also a great opportunity to do some cross-curriculum teaching/assignments with the history teacher, or interdisciplinary curriculum units with other teachers.
Here is a list of novels that are sure to surprise you.
This year Banned Books Week is Sept. 21-27, 2014, be sure to check out this site to find out how you and your students can take part! Banned Books Resources!