My kids aren’t reading like they used to. It’s not good. But, I have a plan . . . I’m going to entice them with the controversy of banned books. In fact, I think the emotional tug of unfairness and lack of choice will motivate your tweens and teens, too. Because there’s nothing more resonating to kids than unfairness. And when books are banned, it’s unfair.
Kids want choices. Kids want fairness.
At our house, I’m seeing too much screen time and not enough reading. I want to see more reading. Not to mention, more thoughtful reading.
What about your kids? If you need a hook, try the idea of the banned books with me!
Hook Your Tweens and Teens on Reading Banned Books
The idea of banning books is a great discussion to have with kids anyway. There are plenty of historical examples of book banning to discuss. Talk about the main reasons for book banning like sex, language, violence, and certain kinds of content and why parents or leaders might seek banning.
As for me, I want my kids to be able to self-censor. It’s my job to teach them to be thinkers. Then, when I’m not around, they will learn to make their own choices. They’ll learn for themselves what they prefer to read and not read.
Of course, I think school librarians and teachers should be discriminating in choosing what books are available for their students. Certainly. Clearly, it’s not a good idea to have a bomb-making book on the shelves when there are plenty of other, incredible book options.
But banning is more than careful discrimination. It’s a formal prohibition of specific books. I dislike banning since it’s not trusting readers (and teachers and librarians) to make their own choices.
So what controversial banned books might entice tweens and teens to read? I have a list! Keep reading.
And when my child picks a book, I’m asking them to read with a discerning eye. My big question will be this: can they figure out what might be controversial about the book?
Parents, if you’re concerned about any of these books, read the book with or to your child. See what amazing discussions you can have! (See my post and the interesting comment thread about my debate about if I should let my 10-year old daughter read The Hunger Games.)
I purposefully did not include why these books were banned. Do you want that or do you want to decide for yourself? If you want to learn specific reasons for each book’s banning, visit the ALA site here.
Banned Books for Tweens (ages 9 – 12)
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Bone by Jeff Smith
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
Banned Books for Teens (ages 13+)
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Need more ideas? See the top 100 banned books from 2000 – 2009 here.
What do you think about this idea for your reluctant readers?