In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
I feel like it is a necessity to teach my students about Banned and Challenged Books. I appreciate our right in America to speak our minds and stand up for what we believe is correct. I appreciate when people in a community agree to disagree about something and respect that even though there are differing opinions, you don’t necessarily need to change the other person’s mind or rights. This has been an ongoing discussion with most of my classes from third through fifth grade.
I’ve always had a LIBRARY ALERT sign up in my library that I used from a library media conference years ago. For me, it states exactly my stance on reading selection, censorship, and banned books:
“Reading is a joy, a privilege, and the right of every student. As you select library books you will read, please understand that every book is not the best choice for every student. If a book is unappealing to you in any way, please return it and select another book. You, the student, know which reading materials best serve your standards, reading level, and beliefs.”
I already posted about The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Adam Rex: Styling Librarian: What are you reading? 5/7/12 Science Fiction and Banned Books
I brought The Dirty Cowboy into the library for my fifth grade Banned and Challenged book class discussion today. I explained that often fifth graders (and older) will have a different point-of-view in comparison to a Kindergartener when it comes to nudity in a book. I read the book aloud and asked students to reflect on the bookwhile it was being shared with questions like:
-How would you approach this book: with humor or the critical eye?
-Do you think this book steps over the line? Is it indecent with nudity?
-Would you step up and want to ban this book?
My students discussed in table groups after we finished reading and wrote the following responses:
Past comment about The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Adam Rex
My son and I loved reading this book. So humorous and the illustrations are fabulous. I always love reading those challenged (and banned) books. I was talking with my students about how when I hear about a book being banned, my first instinct is to log into my public library account and place the book on hold so that I can judge it for myself vs. letting others try to determine my reading selections. We’re enjoying exploration of banned and challenged books presently in library class time. We’re also talking about rights and responsibilities of being library citizens. Told my students about The Dirty Cowboy and they begged me to bring it in and also buy it for the library. Shall do both! … I admire all the teacher librarians that stand up for childrens’ rights to access books that appropriately fit their needs and accommodate their interests!
Here is a wonderful article about the controversy that Amy Timberlake has dealt with through her book being challenged and banned: