Should we fear what books young people read?

Should we fear what books young people read?

In more regions around the world people want to keep some books out of the hands of youth. But these are the books that engage kids the most. A heavy chain and lock covers three novels at the heart of book banning controversies. (Illustration by News Decoder)  This...

Book bans have historically been linked to authoritarian regimes. In recent years, we’ve seen the rise of book bans in democratic countries, too. This is a disturbing trend, and young people are noticing, too. In this piece from high schooler Emily Ireland of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in the U.S. state of Mississippi, prompt student thinking on censorship and banning books with an evidence-based reasoning activity. 

Exercise: Read the article with your class. Then, launch a class discussion on whether there are book topics that should or shouldn’t be banned in public schools in your country. Be sure to get into the nuances of this complicated topic: if some topics are inappropriate for certain audiences, who should be responsible for restricting access? Should it be governments, parents, schools? How might these parameters change from country to country, depending on context? This activity is well-suited to be a complementary teaching tool on a lesson about civil liberties (e.g. in the United States, the Bill of Rights).

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