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NCAC Announces Virtual Resources for Banned Books Week

In anticipation of Banned Books Week, the National Coalition Against Censorship is offering online multimedia resources and lesson plans for middle and high school teachers to talk with students about free expression.

Which lie forbidden books bound
As if preparing young minds weren't challenging enough for educators, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom last year recorded over 700 challenges to library, school and university materials and services, calling for books to be removed or banned. As many writers and educators tend to point out whenever this happens, it's a misguided and ineffective approach. In response, and in the lead up to Banned Books Week from Sept. 18-24, a coalition against such tactics is providing free online resources to prompt classroom discussions about censorship and banned books.

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), a nonprofit that works to ensure the freedom of thought and inquiry through several programs, has created a virtual Banned Books Week Inquiry Center that includes separate guides for middle and high schools. The coalition says that with books addressing race and LGBTQ+ issues being challenged or banned, discussions about what students should be allowed to read are increasingly important. The guides provide online articles and other multimedia resources for educators to read prior to engaging with students, with a focus on teaching kids to develop critical thinking skills — how to think instead of what to think, it said. The website also suggests key terms to discuss with students and includes a guide to help set up lesson plans involving said multimedia resources. The virtual lesson plans were created by the coalition’s Youth Free Expression Program on banned books and censorship, the release said.

“This experiential type of learning intends to pique students’ curiosity and provides a variety of tools to help develop their own opinions about book bans and how censorship may affect them, their community and American democracy,” NCAC's Executive Director Christopher Finan said in a public statement.

The NCAC offers a number of resources on its site in addition to the inquiry center lesson plans for teachers. These include a Youth Censorship Database, as well as resources to better grasp freedom of expression, with separate pages for students, teachers, artists, activists, librarians and higher education. The NCAC also is home to an Arts Advocacy Program, Youth Free Expression Program, Kids’ Right to Read Project and more.