The last week of every September is Banned Book Week, and a display in the library dedicated to those books has captured Middle School students’ attention. Lining those shelves are all of the books in the library’s collection that have been banned at some point.
The reasons for the banning vary, and each book on the display has a sticker that explains when, where and why it was banned.
“Some of them are really outrageous,” said Middle School Librarian Laura Matheny, while pointing to Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic. His poetry book was banned in 1985 at an elementary school in Wisconsin because it was thought to encourage children to break dishes so they wouldn’t have to dry them.
“I put this display up and the kids flock to it – they love it – because it’s just so interesting. Especially because a lot of the books on display are books that we teach in the school,” said Laura. “These are all classic and celebrated books!”
The students looking at the display were amazed that some of the books were banned and it spurred many to check them out. Mrs. Matheny also used the opportunity to teach the students that it is OK to not read a book if one finds its content offensive, but that book shouldn’t be taken from others because of a person or group’s thoughts and beliefs.
Both the Middle and Upper School participate by setting up displays. To check out more banned books, visit ala.org.