Monday, September 25, 2017

Banned Books Week & #ClassroomBookaday

I wanted to make sure I still did #classroombookaday during Banned Books Week so I started thinking about possible picture books to read. Here are a few that address censorship and/or book banning.

Miguel's Brave Knight: Young Cervantes and His Dream of Don Quixote by Margarita Engle & illustrated by Raúl Colón

Miguel's Brave Knight is a fictionalized biography told in poems. During the time Cervantes was growing up, censorship was affecting what was being written. Here is a portion of the text:
Martí's Song for Freedom / Martí y sus versos por la libertad by Emma Otheguy & illustrated by Beatriz Vidal
José Martí fought for freedom from slavery and independence for Cuba. Part of that fight was with his pen. For that he was imprisoned and eventually exiled.

My Night in the Planetarium by Innosanto Nagara 
Nagara tells a story from his childhood about when he and his family were part of a production. The play was in response to government actions. This art was a way for people to express their concerns and there were consequences to being part of it.

The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! by Carmen Agra Deedy
In the city of La Paz, a new law has been made about singing. The rooster will not stop singing and the mayor gives out punishments that become increasingly harsh.

I am a Story by Dan Yaccarino
A story is the narrator of this book. The story tells about how it began around a campfire and how it was passed on in many formats and has survived even censorship, banning and burning.

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle
This is another book about freedom of expression and is a nod to Franz Marc. Marc was banned in Germany when Eric Carle was growing up because the Nazis thought his work to be degenerate since it didn't conform to tradition.

Light in the Darkness: A Story About How Slaves Learned in Secret by Lisa Cline-Ransome & illustrated by James E. Ransome 
I haven't read this one yet, but this is a discussion we had today so I started looking for a book to address this issue. Sometimes books have been banned for everyone, but sometimes the banning has been more focused. Enslaved people were denied access to books and it was illegal for them to learn how to read or for someone to teach an enslaved person to read. This is another aspect of the freedom to read and access to information.

All of these books speak to the freedom of expression and what can happen when there is censorship. Several of them also offer back matter that explains some of the censorship. All offer many opportunities for discussion. Do you know of others that might fit the topic?


  1. Oh, this is such a good idea! I can't think of any picture books about reading or banned books, so I am no help there, but A+++ plan for sure.

  2. This is such a thoughtful approach to Banned Books Week! Maybe The Librarian of Basra for a story of a librarian and readers working to protect books from destruction?