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Banner for Banned Books Week 2016 which will focus on diversity in literature.

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week 2016 (Sept. 25--Oct. 1) spotlights diversity this year. In this blog post, Millie Davis explores why this focus is so important, particularly for the world in which we live today.

NCTE, a co-sponsor of this year's celebration, will explore this theme through stories and activities focused on celebrating diverse readers, authors, and books. Here are a few highlights to look forward to:

  • Education Talk Radio Monday, September 12, at noon ET.
    Jennifer Buehler, author of the forthcoming NCTE book Teaching Reading with YA Literature, will discuss “Why We Want Our Students to Read Diverse Young Adult Literature.”
  • #NCTEchat Sunday, September 18, 8 p.m. ET
    Topic: “Black Girls' Literacies”
    Hosts: Detra Price-Dennis, @detramichelle, Marcelle Haddix, @MarcelleHaddix, Gholdy Muhammad, @bglcollective, Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, @RuizSealey
    (This chat is inspired by the July 2016 issue of English Education that Sealey-Ruiz guest edited.)

Looking for more ways to get involved?

  • Protect the Students' Right to Read.
  • Talk to students about how the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution protects everyone's right to read and how censorship denies that right. Check out these resources for teachers at and
  • Talented playwright, Jarrett Dapier, has offered his complete stage adaption of Chris Crutcher's YA novel, The Sledding Hill, to the Office for Intellectual Freedom in support of Banned Books Week. It is available to download and read freely. There are no limitations to reading, sharing, or printing Jarrett's play.
  • Everyday there will be a #VirtualReadOut video on twitter.
  •  BookTuber @LittleBookOwl is hosting a twitter Banned Book-A-Thon. Details are available in her announcement video.
NCTE's Support for the Students' Right to Read

NCTE Began Fighting Censorship in the 1950’s

McCarthyism spurred NCTE to take a more active stance against censorship and in 1953, NCTE's Committee on Censorship of Teaching Materials published Censorship and Controversy, condemning McCarthy's tactics and championing freedom of thought. In 1962 NCTE published its seminal intellectual freedom guideline: The Students' Right to Read, leading up to today’s active Anti-Censorship program, which works with 60-100 educators and school districts a year on challenges to texts used in classrooms.

Over the years the Council has voiced its opposition to censorship and promoted intellectual freedom as portrayed in this video clip from the NCTE Centennial Film. For decades, NCTE has worked with schools and educators on challenges to literary works, films and videos, drama productions, and other texts. Since 2004, NCTE has given advice, shared helpful documents, written letters of support, and/or testified in over 250 challenges to texts. Check the list of challenged books NCTE has handled over the last nine years.  If you’re undergoing a challenge, please consult the NCTE Anti-Censorship Center to contact NCTE.

Experience Banned Books Week Advocacy from Years Past

Document and Site Resources

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Most Recent Comments (1 Total Posts)

Posted By: 354843 on 9/8/2013 8:23:28 AM

! I like the idea of collecting stories via video. They will be helpful for those of us who dare to use challenged books, some because they are great works of art, some for the purposes of critiquing and uncovering assumptions, some because they are the right book at the right time and fit our curriculum. and some because, by not using them, they challenge our freedom to question.

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