I've been planning for Banned Books Week this past week. Likely most librarians have. My book display includes a book jail, book banners declaring books are banned, and quote bubbles from books explaining some of the details about why they have been challenged. I can't keep the books in the display long enough to complete it. The minute kids know books are in some way forbidden, they gravitate towards them as if being drawn by a magnet. But the best part is the interaction the display has already prompted. Teachers have stopped to discuss the display and books in general. Kids and I have had discussions about censorship, the freedom to read, etc.
I also sent the students and staff a smore newsletter I created explaining more about Banned Books Week. The feedback from this has been excellent. I kept it short and I think this invited more people to stop and read; it only took a few minutes of time. You may view it here.
Next week I will have book quotes from highly challenged book titles placed around the school. (Thanks to the work of new high school librarian and my former student teacher, Leigh Conway!) Students who find and return a quote to me will win a prize: food, of course. They're high schoolers. Food makes them happy. My hope is that the dialogue continues with this more one-on-one interaction possibility.
I would love to hear from other school librarians about your activities for Banned Books Week. Please share pictures, too, if appropriate. I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.