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“Books and ideas are the most effective weapon against intolerance and ignorance.” Lyndon Baines Johnson


One week in the Fall each year is set aside by the American Library Association to examine books which have been challenged during the previous year as well as those challenged historically.

The following tasks will help you to understand some of the reasons behind censorship and who the proponents of censorship are. Write out the answers on the worksheet  provided by your teacher.

  1. Opponents of censorship cite the First Amendment to the Constitution as their main objection to book banning. The American Library Association (ALA) has also written their own Bill of Rights. Read the ALA's Bill of Rights and summarize the main points. Use complete sentences and limit your summary to one paragraph.
  2. What is the difference between a book being challenged and being banned?
  3. List seven reasons given for books that were challenged from 1990-2000. What trends can you identify from the statistics given?
  4. Read the list of the top 100 most frequently challenged books. Over 50% of the books are young adult fiction. Why do you think this is so high?
  5. Personal reflections: Are there any instances in which you feel censorship should occur? Why/why not? Who would decide what should/should not be censored.



Now show your stuff!  Let your local school board know whether or not you support their decision to remove The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the reading list.  Check the worksheet for details on this assignment 


Lesson created 11/12/01 by Vicki Seed

The Humanities and Communications Magnet

Eastern Middle School