Across the United States, we are currently seeing an unprecedented movement to ban or even burn books that deal with important subjects such as racism, LGBTQIA+ content, the Holocaust, and women’s rights. While the push to censor literature in schools and libraries is not new, the demands from parents groups and administrators to outright ban books on entire topics is unlike anything we’ve seen in decades.
As educators, we know the importance of teaching different experiences and perspectives. Books can offer kids a chance to see themselves in characters while also learning empathy and social-emotional development. Topics such as racism are uncomfortable, but we should not hide our children from the teachings that can help them understand our history. We know that not all books are suitable for all children and books should be age-appropriate. Our job as educators and parents is to help give context to more complex topics and leave room for their questions, experiences, and concerns.
We are proud to offer a variety of classes that help learners explore new ideas and provide a forum to discuss difficult topics. One of our teachers, Kathy Wilder, teaches a Banned Book Club for High School students. Her class demonstrates what we want to offer learners – an opportunity to discover stories that speak to their own experiences (such as The Catcher in the Rye) or have painful lessons about history that may be uncomfortable to confront (such as Maus).
There are many other great examples of classes taught on Outschool that focus on banned books, including the classes below. All classes are age-appropriate and taught by experienced teachers who are passionate about encouraging learners to think critically about these books, why they are controversial, and the feelings they invoke.
We encourage you to join us in empowering learners to explore the world beyond their four walls with an open dialogue and the power of a good book!
Banned Books Taught on Outschool
Banned Book Club for High School Ongoing Class
Teacher: Kathy Wilder
1x week / ongoing
Sample list of books to be read:
Looking for Alaska - John Green
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
Go Ask Alice - Beatrice Sparks
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie
I am the Cheese - Robert Cormier
1984 - George Orwell
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
Animal Farm - George Orwell
Maus - Art Spiegelman
Beloved - Toni Morrison
To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Democracy, Human Rights, and the Holocaust
We will read X-men Magneto Testament and Maus by Art Spiegelman and discuss democracy and human rights.
Teacher: Jessika O’Sullivan
1x week / 5 weeks
Social Justice and Literary Devices: All American Boys
Teacher: Professor Jennifer Hughes
1 x week / 6 weeks
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird Novel Study
Teacher: Phyllis Bixler
1x week / 8 weeks
Stamped for Kids (Racism, Anti-Racism, and You) Book Study
Teacher: Kind Academy by Iman Alleyne
1x week / 4 weeks
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia Studies)
Teacher: Alison Stephens
1x week / 5 weeks
Chapter Chat Book Club: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (Ages 10-14)
Teacher: Maria Ward
2x week / 4 weeks
Book Club: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Teacher: Beth Lanthier
1x week / 4 weeks
Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets Book Club!
Teacher: Alexandria M. McKinstry
1x week / 6 weeks
A Fun and Imaginative Look at the Poetry of Shel Silverstein - Poetry Unit #3
Teacher: Mike Pletman
3x week / 1 week