Banned Books Week Activities
Fun with Banned Books
Banned Books Week has come and gone once again. Never thought to do anything to acknowledge it at your school? That's okay! It's never too late to celebrate our freedom to read! Below are just a few ideas to encourage students to learn, and decide, for themselves if a book should be banned or not.
Daily Morning Announcement Quiz: Offer a daily opportunity for students to be given a clue and then to submit their answers by the end of the period to a drop box (in your classroom, the office, or other secure place). Questions should be appropriate for the age level, (i.e. middle school or high school). An example for a high school question might be, "What banned book told the story of George and Lenny?" or "Name the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book which celebrated its 50th anniversary two years ago, and features a white lawyer defending a black man charged with raping a white girl." The answers are then reviewed at the end of the day. All correct answers for each day will be tallied, and the student having the most correct answers at the end of the week wins a prize of a banned book. I have even held a separate category for faculty and staff. (Note: I have found that it is best to have students turn in their guesses during the class period in which the announcements occur. Otherwise, too many students attempt to access the Internet to find the information.)
Match Game: Prior to your week of celebrating prepare decks of playing cards using coloful ones which can be purchased at your local teacher supply store. Place titles of banned books on half and the books' authors on the other half. Have students match the pairs. Give the student with the most pairs collected a prize of a banned book. A variation of this game is to split the deck into thirds for title, author, and genre.
Shadow Box/Tri-Fold Poster: Have students research banned books in the weeks leading up to Banned Books Week. Once they have decided on a book that they are interested in, have them read it and create a shadow box or tri-fold poster depicting a scene, or a variety of images from the book. These should be thoughtful and colorful. These boxes can then be used as displays in the school library.
Costume: (This can also be an alternative to a Halloween dress-up day.) Have students research the author of a favorite banned book and then dress up as that person, OR they can dress up as a favorite character from the book. In my classes students have even been required to write a monologue as if they were that author or character, and to use any mannerisms, props, and accent that they think is appropriate.
Letters to the Author: It doesn't matter if the author is dead or not. Have students write a letter to the author of their choice telling the author what they liked about the banned book and how they believe the author has helped them to appreciate their freedoms. (Note: If the author is still alive make a copy of the letter and mail it to him/her or the publisher.)
These are just a few of the many ideas. Come up with some of your own and let me know about them. I'm always looking for fun and exciting ways to make books come alive for my kids!