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Make Banned Books Part of Your Summer Reading by Eve Panzer, the Barefoot Librarian
I have been an avid bookworm since I learned to read. When I was a child, summer meant numerous visits to the library, browsing the shelves for armfuls of books, and blissful hours of uninterrupted reading. As a mother, I watched Reading Rainbow with my kids, then headed to the library to check out the books reviewed in the latest episode. And even now, the summer means more time for reading since most of my book sales occur during the school year. So, with summer break only weeks away, it is time to make a summer reading list.
I am a staunch advocate for diverse and inclusive books. These books are mirrors for kids to see themselves and know that they are not alone, and windows to let kids see and learn about others. But unfortunately, these books are the ones that are being targeted for removal from school library bookshelves at an alarming rate.
So, the summer is a great time for libraries and bookstores to make these books readily available for kids. Take advantage by setting up displays or creating lists of banned books for summer reading. What kid can resist reading something that is somehow seen as forbidden? Set up a book group with a banned book reading list. The book discussion can include asking the kids why they think the book is banned and then giving them real examples of where and why it was banned.
Children must understand at an early age that book banning is censorship. This interferes with their freedom to read – a right protected by the “First Amendment to the United States Constitution which guarantees all individuals the right to express their ideas without governmental interference, and to read and listen to the ideas of others.”(Freedom To Read Foundation). We must help prepare them to stand up against the removal of books from their school and public libraries.
There are many lists of banned books available. The American Library Association’s website contains several lists of challenged books. Here are a few:
Frequently Challenged Books with Diverse Content
Frequently Challenged Children’s Books
Frequent Challenged Young Adult Books
Banned and Challenged Classics (includes info about when, where, and why they were challenged/banned)
Below are a few books I cherish that have been banned at some point.
About our Guest Contributor
Eve Panzer, the Barefoot Librarian, is an experience retired school librarian for pre-K through sixth grade who has a passion for children’s literature. She enjoys working with educators, librarians, schools, parents, and grandparents to select engaging and enriching books that make a difference. She now also professionally reviews picture and middle-grade books, focusing on independent authors and small publishers. You can find her reviews at Blue Ink Review, First Chapter Plus, Reader Views Kids, GoodReads, Facebook, and on her website. Holding a graduate degree in Masters of Library Science from the University of Texas, Eve has been a professional in children’s literature since 1999.
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