Founded in 1982, Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Library Association among other organizations devoted to the freedom of speech and is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
Traditionally celebrated the last week of September as a time to encourage readers to examine literary works that have been challenged, and to promote intellectual freedom in libraries, schools and bookstores. Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States. The goal is "to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society."
EDSITEment vetted website, The Bill of Rights Institute, provides students a trove of background information on the First Amendment: Freedom of Speech including interactive games such as this one that allows students to explore Life Without the Bill of Rights? Every year school librarians and educators around the country sponsor events to celebrate the freedom to read such as this year's signature event, you may answer the call to Join the Virtual Read-out!
ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom records hundreds of attempts by individuals and groups to have books removed from libraries shelves and from classrooms. See Frequently Challenged Books for more details.According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, at least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts. The titles below represent banned or challenged books on that list ( see the entire list here). For more information on why these books were challenged, visit challenged classics and the Banned Books Week Web site.
EDSITEment has many lessons to help students critically examine titles that have surfaced on this list of Banned and Challenged Classics such as:
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/secret-society-and-fitzgeralds-great-gatsby
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/harper-lees-kill-mockingbird-profiles-courage
Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/folklore-zora-neale-hurstons-their-eyes-were-watching-god
The Call of the Wild, by Jack London http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/jack-londons-call-wild-nature-faker