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Banned Books and Teaching Challenged Material

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Alexandra Hauck

on 6 December 2013

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Transcript of Banned Books and Teaching Challenged Material

Why we care
While we both believe the act of banning books is ridiculous and pointless, we are not trying to persuade anyone one way or another
The purpose of our research was to find out why books are banned and then figure out how to safely teach the challenged material in the classroom
But what about the strategies?
Banned Books and Teaching Challenged Material
American Library Association defines the act of challenging a text as "an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group”
In order to challenge a text, one must first object to material featured in the academic curriculum or in a library.
The complainant must follow the procedures “established in the selection policy for handling complaints and approved by the governing authority”
The reconsideration committee should sequentially accomplish steps provided by the ALA
The act of banning a text is defined as the removal of said restricted materials (challenged material) from the academic curriculum or from a library.
Why you should care
Even if a certain book has not been challenged or banned before, the text may still present material for which other books are challenged or banned
If teachers know how to safely present this material in the classroom, they may prevent the literature from being challenged or banned in the future
Also, this knowledge may prevent teacher or administrative complaints about the curriculum.
History is cool and all, but what the heck are you guys even talking about?!
A brief history on banning books
A brief discussion on the act of challenging and banning literature
Strategies on how to safely teach the material for which books are banned

An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding -
John Locke
The Shortest Way with the Dissenters -
Daniel Defoe
Sorrows of Young Werther -
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Fanny Hill -
John Cleland
Paradise Lost -
John Milton
Candide -
Émile, Or Treatise on Education -
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The Marriage of Figaro -
Pierre Beaumarchais

The Age of Reason -
Thomas Paine
William Shakespeare
Hunchback of Notre Dame
- Victor Hugo
Les Miserables
- Victor Hugo
Madame Bovary
- Gustave Flaubert
Fairy Tales and Stories
- Hans Christian Andersen
The Scarlet Letter
- Nathaniel Hawthorne
Uncle Tom's Cabin
- Harriet Beecher Stowe
Tom Sawyer
- Mark Twain
Huckleberry Finn
- Mark Twain
Leaves of Grass
- Walt Whitman
- James Joyce
Call of the Wild
- Jack London
A Farewell to Arms
- Ernest Hemingway
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
- Arthur Conan Doyle
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There -
Lewis Carroll
All Quiet on the Western Front -
Erich Maria Remarque
The Storm of Steel -
Ernst Junger
The Grapes of Wrath -
John Steinbeck

Doctor Zhivago -
Boris Pasternak
Lady Chatterley's Lover -
D. H. Lawrence
Decent Interval -
Frank Snepp
The Tale of Peter Rabbit -
Beatrix Potter
Did Six Million Really Die? -
Richard E. Harwood
The Story of Little Black Sambo -
Helen Bannerman
The Satanic Verses -
Salman Rushdie
The History of the World -
Sir Walter Raleigh
De Revolutionibus -
Nicolai Copernicus
The Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems -
Galileo Galilei
The Histriomastix -
William Prynne
Areopagitica -
John Milton
The Meritorious Price of Our Redemption -
William Pynchon
Leviathan -
Thomas Hobbes
The Judgment and Decree of the University of Oxford Past in Their Convocation July 21, 1683 Against Certain Pernicious Books and Damnable Doctrines Destructive to the Sacred Persons of Princes, Their State and Government, and of All Humane Society -
Oxford University
Martin Luther
The Bible -
William Tyndale
Gargantua and Pantagruel -
Francois Rabelais
The Bible -
William Tyndale, Roger Coverdale, and John Rogers
Index Librorum Prohibitorum
John Calvin
The Praise of Folly
- Desiderius Erasmus
The Prince -
Niccolo Machiavelli
Mayan Codices
Before the school year begins:
Check if the text has been challenged/banned before
Ensure administration approves all literature to be used for curricular purposes
Send a letter to parents/guardians detailing the literature to be used in the classroom
Establish a solid rationale for teaching specific texts
Be prepared to use alternate texts
Be comfortable talking about embarrassing content
Be knowledgeable about content
Create a safe classroom environment
Before reading the text:
Overview the book as a whole
Warn students of the content
Address student concerns
Know student backgrounds
Give a brief historical lesson
Possible empathy training
Discuss objectives/expectations
Reasons for Challenging/Banning Texts
In general:
Maintain a safe classroom environment
Address any concerns
Invite administrators to observe
Maintain correspondence with parents/guardians
Offensive language
Foul language: Teacher should reinforce that, while the use of foul language is not acceptable in the classroom, such language in literature is used to reflect the actual speech of certain individuals. Discuss replacement words.
Racism: Historical lesson; empathy exercises; discussion of modern acceptability of racist terms; Reinforce that these novels expose the reality of racism and the harm it causes rather than advocate for it.
Include a historical/geographical mini lesson to explain why a certain religion is portrayed in a novel
Empathy exercises
Allow students to compare portrayed religion to their own religion
Discuss religion only to the extent that it is portrayed in the novel
Sexually explicit material
Coordinate with health teacher
Teacher or independent reading for questionable passages
Sexual abuse: Be aware that some students might have been victims or personally know victims; empathy exercises
Homosexuality: empathy exercises
Focus on the consequences rather than the actual violence
Have students discuss realistic alternatives to the literary violence
Drug/alcohol usage
Possible historical/religious lesson
Allow students to explore the negative effects of drug/alcohol usage
Tie in nonfiction experiences
Do not focus on usage if it is not essential to the plot
Works Cited:
Timeline: Sanftleben. "Banned Books: A Chronological Collection of Banned Books." Illuminations and
Epiphanies. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2013. <http://www.sanftleben.com/Banned%20Books/
During Reading Strategies: Seney, Robert W. "The Challenge of 'Challenged' Books." Gifted Child Today 25.2 (2002): 28-32.
Academic Search Premier. Web. 2 Dec. 2013.
Lesson plan on censorship: DaSilva, Thaisi, and Veronica DeVore. "Lesson Plans: A Look at the History of Book Banning in America." PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. Public Broadcasting Service, 28 Sept. 2011. Web. 2 Dec. 2013.
Censoring/Banning Definition: "About Banned & Challenged Books." American Library Association. ALA, 10 Dec. 2012. Web. 2 Dec. 2013.
Censoring/Banning Procedure: "Conducting a Challenge Hearing." American Library Association. ALA, 26 Mar. 2013. Web. 2 Dec. 2013
Encourage questions
Incorporate other texts that posit opposing or different viewpoints
Assignment on the consequences brought about by a character's questionable behavior
Writing assignment on alternative endings
Journaling exercises
Student discussion on the value of the reading questionable content in literature
Follow-up lesson on banning literature
Anonymous student surveys
Recommend in-school and outside services for students
Invite parent/administrator to gallery walks
racial issues
encouragement of “damaging” lifestyles (lifestyles outside of the norms, i.e. homosexuality, drug use, cohabiting prior to marriage)
blasphemous dialogue
sexual situations or dialogue
violence or negativity
presence of witchcraft
religious affiliations (unpopular religions)
political bias
age appropriateness
Full transcript