Celebrate banned books week

The American Library Association invites you to channel your inner rebel by ... reading. Here are some of the items on the long list of suggested activities:

STAGE a mock trial or moot court. Put a banned book on trial and have students argue for and against the book. Select a jury that has not read the book.

HOLD a book discussion group with teenagers and their parents. Select banned titles that deal realistically with teens’ issues. Have several people read each book. At the book discussion, have the teens discuss the book, followed by parents’ reactions to the books and discussion by the teens.

HUNT for banned books throughout the business community. The Bernardsville, New Jersey, Public Library worked with local retail businesses of all kinds to develop a "treasure" hunt of banned books, hiding the titles in plain sight in the display windows and areas of the stores. Patrons were invited to make the rounds of the stores and list all titles they discovered. Participating businesses included flower shops, paint stores, jewelry stores, travel agencies, and many others.

WRITE a ballad or a legend. Ballads and legends are often written about heroic people. For example, research John Peter Zenger’s historic fight for First Amendment rights or select your favorite First Amendment advocate and write a ballad or a legend about him.

CREATE—The Censorship War Memorial, an exhibit prepared for Banned Books Week by Jill Sekula, a student in Education at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, lists books challenged or banned. The bottom of the "wall" reads "Dedicated to those wounded or killed in the war against Free Speech in the United States, which has been taking place since our country was born and will continue until we stop the madness."

Not on the list: Hold public readings of "Sex" by Madonna outside the local chapter of Parents Against Bad Books in Schools.

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