The History Lesson: 5 Banned Books
This week is Read Banned Books Week and since I'm a history teacher we learned about Censorship, First Amendment rights and Banned Books in my class. Every day this week I wore a different bookish T-Shirt and then brought in the corresponding book and read students a page and talked about why the particular book was banned somewhere in the world.
Monday - Sept 22
I wore my Goodnight Moon T-shirt and talked about my love of books and explained Banned Books Week and why it is important to read Banned Books.
The books I highlighted on Monday were Little Red Riding Hood, which was banned because Red carried wine in her basket, and Eleanor & Park, which was banned by a Minnesota school district, for obscene language, last year. Incidentally the district that banned Rainbow Rowell and her book, is right next door to the school district I teach in. I emphasized how lucky we are that parents do not try and ban books in our school
Tuesday- Sept 23
I wore my Great Gatsby T-shirt and read a page from the book. My students will actually be reading The Great Gatsby this school year in there American Lit class. Many already have seen the movie version. The Great Gatsby was banned because of the affair in the book as well as the alcohol use in the book. Prohibition was in effect when the book was published in 1925.
Scott Fitzgerald's birthday. I should have worn my Great Gatsby shirt and talked about it on this day. Oh well. Whoopsie.
Today I wore my Color Purple shirt and read from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Color Purple. This book is entirely told in letters or diary entries. It is based on a true story and has been banned frequently for sexual situations and sexual violence. It begins in the 1930's and covers 30 years. There is a dialect in it. It grips you from the first page.
Thursday- Sept 25
My 21st wedding anniversary.
I wore my Alice in Wonderland T-shirt and talked about Lewis Carroll and Alice's adventures. Alice in Wonderland is banned for having talking animals. China banned it, stating that animals should not be on a equal level with humans and should not have human qualities. It was also banned because the caterpillar sits on a mushroom and smokes a hookah pipe. He gives Alice a piece of the mushroom and people freaked that its a drug reference.
Friday - Sept 26th
I wore my Slaughter House-Five T-shirt and talked about why the book is named Slaughter House-five and The Children's Crusade and that is a anti-war book frequently banned. It was my first experience learning about the fire bombing of Dresden, Germany during WWII. Vonnegut was a POW in Dresden during the war. Mainly it's banned for swear words and sexual situations.
Have you read any of these books?
Do you own bookish T-shirts??
I get all my book T-shirts at Out of Print Clothing
Support Freedom of Speech and Read a Banned Book