Today marks the mid-point of Banned Books Week, a celebration of the freedom to read. Sponsored by the American Library Association and recognized by school and public libraries nationwide, Banned Books Week challenges the practice of censoring books that some believe contain objectionable content. What we learned in Jamie Born’s Media Literacy class this week is, even though one reader might find a topic or writing style in a book offensive, that shouldn’t keep others from having access to the book. In fact, the very books that experience challenges the most also comprise the list of most popular check-outs in our school libraries in the past decade, among them: Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska by John Green; Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling; and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
“Who can dispute the value of a good story? Though students may initially view them as dull, biographies are the stuff that great classroom activities are made of—history, honesty, and heroism.” – Education World
As teachers, we are always looking for ways to connect students to the notable people in our content areas: Sir Isaac Newton, Edgar Allen Poe, Vincent Van Gogh, Thomas Jefferson, etc. But how do we engage students in meaningful ways to discover the real story behind a person?
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