Celebrate the freedom to read! Read a Banned Book! Julia Hart

Thanks to Judy Blume, we here at Hello Giggles were reminded that it is Banned Book Week this week.  When I look at the list of banned books, I basically see the syllabus for my classes. And I think two things: 1. I’m able to teach kids how to think, imagine and challenge the world around them and 2. My school is awesome and I’m incredibly lucky to teach in such an open-minded environment.

As a kid I remember first learning about banned books at my school. My school library had this great display of all the banned books we had access to in our very own school. I was such a goody two-shoes and I remember signing out every single one and thinking that made me a total badass. Looking back at little Julia, I think it’s hilarious that to her reading controversial books was as bad as staying out past curfew. Something she never did as she had no curfew and was terrified of parties.  So instead, she stayed home and read her books and thought herself a rebel. A wonderful, little rebel.

Now that she is  a teacher who has the privilege and freedom to  teach whatever she wants she teaches lots of the books from that infamous list and sometimes she writes about herself in the third person.

Here is a list of the banned books she teaches:

1.     Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

2.     Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

3.     Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

4.     Beloved by Toni Morison

5.     Slaughter-House Five by Kurt Vonnegut

6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

 These books are all full of challenging and provocative ideas that always spark debates and discussions among my students that lead to real and deep learning.  These books change minds, lives even.

People who ban books are afraid of new and different ideas and if we’re afraid of new and different ideas we learn nothing but the same old thing over and over again. And that is boring and SO not badass. We can’t be afraid to equip the next generation with the ability to challenge us, instead we need to be brave enough to teach them how to do it in the best and most effective way possible.

So be a wonderful, little rebel and read a banned book today! And celebrate Banned Book Week all week long!

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  1. Can you believe that Harry Potter is on the Banned Books List too? But yeah, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is one of my all-time favorite books. So GOOD.

  2. Our school wouldn’t carry The Color Purple. I read it as a pre-teen and wouldn’t trade the literary experience for anything.

  3. I’m a senior in college and doing my Pro-semester (8 weeks in class, 8 weeks in field) before my student teaching and we are celebrating banned book week. My Children’s Lit professor used to be a reading teacher and she’s obsessed with it! A fun way to celebrate books and get kids thinking!

  4. Where can I find a list of banned books? The only one I’ve read from your list is Catcher in the Rye – I read it in high school and I remember it impacting me. I particularly remember the part where he sees the graffiti at his sister’s school (?) and is outraged – that made me cry a little bit! Will have to get into more banned books!

  5. I would agree that Handmaid’s Tale could be on the banned booklist, its quite similar to Brave New World. BRAVE NEW WORLD IS TO DIE FOR. Love love love it. As well as One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. That book made me cry and I will read it again and again.

  6. Thank you for your comments! And for reading these important books!

  7. I’m actually reading Catcher in the Rye at the moment for the first time and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is on my shelf in my queue of books to read! I also read the blurb of Brave New World in a shop and thought it sounded pretty awesome, so that’ll be one to read too!

  8. Celebrating Banned Books Week by rereading Handmaid’s Tale, which I’m not sure is actually a banned book anywhere but that I saw mentioned as a challenged book somewhere on twitter yesterday. It is one of my favorites.

  9. Beloved is one of my favorite books of all time! I have dedicated a good portion of my high school and college years promoting it to my friends. Toni Morrison always impresses me, and if you haven’t read it in a while, or just never bothered to read it, it is a must!

  10. My father banned me from reading His Dark Materials – if he hadn’t, I probably would never have bothered reading them. I still consider it worth it, however.

  11. I read ‘Catcher in the Rye’ when I was in jr high. I too thought I was pretty rebellious reading one of those banned books. Anyway, I didn’t see what the big deal was.

  12. There’s a scene from my dad’s favorite movie Field of Dreams that comes to mind. We only owned a few VHS tapes. Ray and Annie are at a parent teacher meeting at school and one woman wants to ban several books and Annie gets into an argument with the woman about her favorite author and Annie yells, “At least he’s not a book burner you Nazi cow!”

  13. ‘Brave New World’ is an incredible book. I guess the U.S Government just doesn’t want kids growing up knowing that they are helplessly trapped in a similar (yet maybe not quite as hyperbolic) system.

  14. I loved Lolita when I read it, it’s a beautifully written book with such a bad rep. :(

  15. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is my favorite book and reading it when I was 16 was a major turning point in my life. Had it not been a part of my high school’s curriculum 10 years ago, I may have never picked it up. Cheers to you for continuing to teach such wonderful books to new generations :)

  16. Slaughter-House Five is one of my favorite books and it opened me up to a wonderful author (Vonnegut). When I see things like the banned book list, it makes me want to sit back and think through how many I’ve read, and how many I still have yet to read. I remember when we were taught Farenheit 451 and it was removed from the syllabi within the next few years. Books like those on the banned book list are fascinating and delve into ideas and understanding that should be broadcast and debated. I applaud you for keeping those books in your class and continuing to teach them to your students.

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