Join Banned Books Week and Honorary Chair Jason Reynolds on Monday, August 2, at 4:00 p.m. EDT for a #BannedBooksChat on Twitter!
Banned Books Week has never had an honorary chair before but unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. Jason Reynolds will be the first honorary chair of Banned Books Week and he is excited about it! This year marks the 39th celebration of Banned Books Week since its first celebratory year in 1982. The 2021 theme is Books Unite Us; Censorship Divides Us and it will take place from September 26th to October 2nd.
Recently, I was able to speak to Ms. Larson regarding this situation. Her commitment to intellectual freedom and dedication to fostering an antiracist learning environment for her students is evident in her discussion of the challenge to Stamped. Not every educator is in the position to fight back against a challenge: it can be a risk to their professional reputation or even their job security. But if they’re able to do so, it always makes a difference, even if censorship prevails in that particular incident. As Ms. Larson states below: “Fight for the kids. They will know. They always know.”
Today is Jason Reynolds’ birthday. Reynolds, named earlier this year as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, has had his books challenged for how they portray contemporary issues like police brutality and racism. This year, read a book by Reynolds — tell us what you think.
Addressing the issue as a community allows for open and effective communication and gives students the opportunity to understand and ask questions about what is likely a confusing topic for them. Many of these students have probably already either experienced firsthand or have heard about an incident of police violence, and like it or not, they are already actively paying attention to and attempting to understand the important issues our nation is facing and their role in such situations. It is important for educators— ALL educators – to guide them through that process.