As a school librarian, Banned Book Week is one of my favorite weeks of the school year. I usually have my library decorated with caution tape and signs that say "these books are Readio-Active." A play on words but that is the best way to explain the phenomena of banning a book. Librarians hate censorship! But when a book is censored, it makes children want to read the books even more. The perfect book to explain this and to highlight many banned children's books is doing a read aloud of Alan Gratz's book, Ban this Book. It not only talks about kids in an elementary school sharing banned books, it highlights many of the children's books that are banned and the reasons some people don't think children should have a choice in what they read. It is only fitting that Banned Book Week comes right after we celebrate Constitution Day. The First Amendment is what Banned Book Week is all about.
One of the books on this year's list is a real shocker to me. Skippy Jon Jones author Judy Schachner is an inspiration to me. She had such a bad school experience that she often does not do school visits because of it. The first time I head her speak was at a reading conference. She described the panic attacks she would have walking by the principal's office in school she visited. She, like me suffered from a reading disorder and was often punished for not reading. Her story touched me because I always thought I was a failure because of my reading problems which went undiagnosed until my own children were going through what I went through in elementary school. The reading specialist helped me do exercises with my children that helped them overcome many of their problems. It helped me too. To make a long story short, Judy Schachner autographed her first Skippy Jon Jones book to my yet unborn grandson that day. Her book is still one of his favorites and he loved the way his mom read it him! The picture is Judy Schachner's response to being the #8 most challenged book series from the Intellectual Freedom Blog.