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!