Who Decides and Why You Should Care!


"What I worry about most is the loss to young people. If no one speaks out for them, if they don't speak out for themselves, all they'll get for required reading will be the most bland books available. And instead of finding the information they need at the library, instead of finding the novels that illuminate life, they will find only those materials to which nobody could possibly object...


In this age of censorship I mourn the loss of books that will never be written, I mourn the voices that will be silenced -- writers' voices, teachers' voices, students' voices -- and all because of fear. How many have resorted to self-censorship? How many are saying to themselves, 'Nope...can't write about that. Can't teach that book. Can't have that book in our collection. Can't let my student write that editorial in the school paper.'


If you ask a dozen people what censorship means, you'll get twelve different answers... The bottom line is, censorship happens, often when you least expect it. It's not just about the book you may want to read but about the book your classmate might want to read. It's not just about teachers and librarians at other schools who might find themselves in job-threatening situations -- it could happen at your school. Your favorite teacher, the one who made literature come alive for you, the one who helped you find exactly the book you needed when you were curious, or hurting, the one who was there to listen to you when you felt alone, could become the next target.


A word of warning to anyone who writes or wants to write: There is no predicting the censor. No telling what will be seen as controversial tomorrow. I've talked with writers who have told me, "Oh...I don't write the kinds of stories you do. I write for younger children. My work will never be attacked," only to find themselves under fire the next day. So write honestly. Write from deep inside..."


~~Judy Blume, author





Click on the links to help you find the answers to the questions.

Watch this video from our wikispace.


1. Find and list ten frequently challenged or banned books.


Name of Book


Reason Banned
































2. What groups or types of individuals most frequently challenge or advocate censorship of materials?











3. Censorship is when….

         a. Government limits free speech.

         b. Parents tell their kids what not to read.

         c. Private citizens try to ban books, movies, videos or


         d. All of the above.


4. What U.S. government document forbids censorship?

         a. U.S. Constitution

         b. Bill of Rights

         c. First Amendment

         d. All of the above


5. What does the First Amendment protect?






Watch First Amendment Public Service Announcements.






6. Who was the most banned author in the U.S. in the last 10 years?

         a. Judy Blume

         b. Robert Cormier

         c. J.K. Rowling

         d. Roald Dahl



7. What other media are people trying to censor in addition to books?

8. What is significant about the temperature Ray Bradbury used for the title of the novel you just read?






9. List 10 other pieces written by Ray Bradbury.











10. Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) was a key case in defending freedom of speech. Write a brief summary of the key points. Be sure to include why it was so important. Watch a video interview of Mary Beth Tinker!















11. The following is a list of books that are part of the required reading at Negaunee High School. Follow the links, read about the books and fill in the chart.




Banned Yes or No?

If Yes, reason banned

The Giver




The Outsiders




The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn




To Kill a Mockingbird




Diary of Anne Frank




The Great Gatsby




Catcher in the Rye




Fallen Angels




The Things They Carried




A Separate Peace





12. Which book was chosen as part of Monroe County's Big Read program for 2007?







13. List 5 anti-censorship organizations. Include the city and state of their location.






14. What is the YFEN and what are some of their goals?






15. The internet is highly censored in China. Read and view this interactive presentation from CNN regarding censorship in China. After reading, answer this and post on classblogmeister—Do you think it is important for us to be concerned about the censorship of the internet in China? Why or why not? Please include reference to keywords that are blocked in China and your thoughts on why they are banned.





Take the Banned Book Challenge!