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HomeClassroom ResourcesCalendar Activities

September 27

Get ready to celebrate Banned Books Week!

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Get ready to celebrate Banned Books Week!

Grades 7 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Literacy-Related Event





Challenges to books and other materials are on the increase in school and public libraries (see ALA's Frequently Challenged Books page for details). Check out the list of titles that NCTE has worked to protect!  Banned Books Week, celebrated September 22-28, 2019, draws attention to the issue of censorship and how it can best be combated.




Begin by polling students. Ask how many of them are familiar with the following titles:

  • Captain Underpants series
  • A Wrinkle in Time
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • The Harry Potter series
  • The Higher Power of Lucky
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
  • In the Night Kitchen
  • Bridge to Terabithia
  • The Stupids series
  • The Bluest Eye

After the poll is completed, ask students what they think those titles have in common. Answer: They are all censored or challenged books.

With the class, brainstorm reasons these books might have come under attack. (Be certain to have the answers for them, too. They are available from various sources, including the American Library Association's Frequently Challenged Books page.) Why do people object to books and try to have them banned? Are there books from which students should be sheltered? Identify the common reasons why books are challenged (language, sexual content, political incorrectness, religious content, and so forth).



  • NCTE Intellectual Freedom Center

    NCTE offers advice, helpful documents, and other support at no cost to teachers faced with challenges to literary works, films and videos, drama productions, or teaching methods.

  • Banned Books Week

    This site offers resources for celebrating Banned Books Week. Included are Banned Books Week news, events and materials.

  • Banned Books Online

    The Online Books Page presents a brief look at book banning with links to online texts of books banned by legal authorities and schools.

  • National Coalition Against Censorship

    The National Coalition Against Censorship, an alliance of fifty-two participating organizations, is dedicated to protecting free expression and access to information.


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Grades   3 – 10  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

A Case for Reading - Examining Challenged and Banned Books

Students examine books, selected from the American Library Association Challenged/Banned Books list, and write persuasive pieces expressing their views about what should be done with the books at their school.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Censorship in the Classroom: Understanding Controversial Issues

Students examine propaganda and media bias, research a variety of banned and challenged books, choose a side of the censorship issue, and support their position through an advertising campaign.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Action Is Character: Exploring Character Traits with Adjectives

Students must "become" a character in a novel in order to describe themselves and other characters using powerful adjectives.