Talking to Kids About Banned Books: A Smart Conversation for Parents

It&s a tough conversation. Will you talk about it with your children?
By Amy Mascott
Sep 21, 2015



Sep 21, 2015

Banned Books Week is September 24-30, 2017 (the dates change year to year). 


Why all the hype? Why are we celebrating banned books? 


Banned Books Week celebrates the fact that no matter the content of a book, we, as Americans, should have the ability to make the decision whether or not we want to read the book.  Banning books closes all doors on reading, learning, and expanding a person's thoughts and opinions. 


As parents, we really need to become familiar with Banned Books Week, especially as our children get older and are able to read and choose books on their own. We want to be ready for hot topics like this when they arise so that we are able to talk through them with our children.


Here are some ways to chat with your kids about Banned Books Week: 

  • Talk about what Banned Books Week means. Banned Books Week is a celebration of our right and freedom to read. 
  • Talk about why Banned Books Week began. Banned Books Week began in the early 1980's in a response to many books being challenged in schools, stores, and libraries. 
  • Talk about what it means for a book to be banned. Books are first challenged, meaning that a person or group has requested that the book be removed or restricted, and if successful, then the book is banned. Banning a book means that it is removed from circulation.
  • Talk about why books are challenged or banned. Books are challenged or banned because a person or a group wants to protect children from what they believe to be inappropriate content or offensive language. 
  • Talk about what might happen if every single challenged book was banned. 
  • Talk about the fact that parents as a whole have challenged the most books. Does this surprise you? Why or why not? 
  • Talk about who should be in charge of making these kinds of decisions. 
  • Talk about why authors might write about controversial topics. 
  • Talk about why authors might include offensive language in a text. 
  • Talk about Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey; Twilight byStephenie Meyer; Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily von Ziegesar; The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins; or Harry Potter (series) by J. K. Rowling.  All of these books at one point were challenged books. Why might they have been on the list? Do you agree or disagree? 


This is just a starting point, friends. It really is. And though it might be a difficult conversation at first, it's a topic worth exploring.  


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How have you discussed Banned Books Week with your children? We'd love to know! Share your ideas, tips, and tricks on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page, or find Amy on Twitter, @teachmama, and let's continue the conversation!



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