Join Banned Books Week and Honorary Chair Jason Reynolds on Monday, August 2, at 4:00 p.m. EDT for a #BannedBooksChat on Twitter!
Reynolds is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books for young people, including All American Boys (with Brendan Kiely), Ghost, Long Way Down, Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks, and Stamped (with Ibram X. Kendi). A multiple National Book Award finalist, Reynolds has also received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, an NAACP Image Award, and several Coretta Scott King Award honors. Reynolds recently received the Carnegie Medal for his middle grades novel Look Both Ways. He is currently serving a two-year term as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for the Library of Congress.
As an advocate for storytelling and an outspoken critic of censorship, Reynolds is the perfect person to headline Banned Books Week 2021, which takes place September 26 – October 2 and has the theme, “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”
During the Twitter chat, Reynolds and participants will share their thoughts on the following questions:
WARM-UP: Please introduce yourself. Tell us your name and location, and tell us about – or show us! – your favorite #BannedBook! #BannedBooksChat [4:04 p.m. EDT]
Q1: #BannedBooksWeek is all about celebrating the freedom to read, but a lot of young people need extra motivation to read. What are some ways we can encourage a love of reading as we work to defend the right to do so? #BannedBooksChat [4:10 p.m. EDT]
Q2: In the past few years, nearly every book on the @OIF #BannedBooksList was aimed at young adult audiences. What drives these attempts to ban young people’s literature, and how do we counter it? #BannedBooksChat [4:18 p.m. EDT]
Q3: This year’s @OIF #BannedBooksList (bit.ly/2xB4MfQ) includes titles that address racism, share BIPOC stories, and center on LGBTQ+ characters. What advice do you have for defending these stories from censorship? #BannedBooksChat [4:26 p.m. EDT]
Q4: Several states have passed or are considering laws that limit teaching related to race and gender in schools (https://ncac.org/news/divisive-concepts-statement-2021). How does singling out and censoring these ideas harm students? #BannedBooksChat [4:34 p.m. EDT]
Q5: The theme of this year’s #BannedBooksWeek (Sept 26 – Oct 2) is “Books Unite Us, Censorship Divides Us.” What are some examples of books that bring us together? #BannedBooksChat [4:42 p.m. EDT]
Q6: How do you plan to celebrate #BannedBooksWeek and the freedom to read in your community? #BannedBooksChat [4:50 p.m. EDT]
Don’t miss your chance to converse with Jason Reynolds and other free expression advocates during the #BannedBooksChat on August 2, 2021, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. EDT!
How Twitter Chats Work
The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords in a Tweet, which makes it easy to see the full conversation on a particular topic. For our Twitter chat, we will use the hashtag #BannedBooksChat
At the time of the chat, type #BannedBooksChat into the search box at the top of your Twitter homepage to see the conversation. Listen in, watch the comments from other attendees, and speak up when you are ready!
When discussion questions are posed, they will be labeled with a Q and a number representing the order. If you are responding to a question, use an A and the number of the prompt. To ensure your comment is automatically pulled into the chat feed for others to see, be sure to include #BannedBooksChat in your Tweet.
Q1. What does advocacy look like for students in your classroom/community? What are some ways or tools that students use to amplify their voices? #BannedBooksChat
When you respond, you would tweet:
A1. [your answer] #BannedBooksChat
A huge part of Twitter chats is responding to other participants’ answers and keeping the conversation going. Because you have the questions in advance of the chat, you can have your answers ready to go if you want! Many people use a tool like TweetDeck or Hootsuite to make following Twitter chats easier.
Twitter chats move quickly! If you can’t catch everything as it’s happening, don’t worry! You can search for #BannedBooksChat to find the conversation.
Kristin Pekoll is the Assistant Director at the Office for Intellectual Freedom. She is a former YA librarian from Wisconsin and a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan who happens to live in Chicago Bears country. She is the author of Beyond Banned Books: Defending Intellectual Freedom throughout Your Library published by ALA Editions in 2019.
Established December 1, 1967, the Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials. The goal of the office is to educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries.