Book Ban Vlog Got Real
And off script it went...
Heyya, all. I scripted a book ban vlog… when I recorded it, I went way off script. Want to read the original script? Check it out below!
On the other hand, you can find the vlog and all of its off-the-cuff-ness here.
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ORIGINAL, UNEDITED (mostly) SCRIPT
Book bans. Ew. I just said a curse, didn’t I? It feels about as bad as other four letter words, paired together and not. Let’s rock it and get serious, lovelies. I’ve had about enough.
CUT TO OPEN
I know I mentioned other videos would come out before this one. However, I have an inability to leash my tongue further as an author and more importantly as a developmental reading and English teacher. I know this is a sensitive topic. So… DISCLAIMER (GIVE IT A FUN REVERB EHCO THAT YOU FAKE) Much Like “This One’s for the Children” by N K O T B says, “This is a very serious message, so all of you please listen.” I’m going to try and add humor and my own nerdy razzle dazzle to lighten the mood. Oh boy, are you going to see a lot of Mrs. Jenna spill into this vlog and out of the classroom lovelies. Speaking of… let’s go over a few things.
I’m one of them thar book loving Belle from Beauty and the Beast types. You know. Book lover. Pictures and not. Protect them. Share them. Discuss them. Throw them against walls for making the emotions hit hard. Cuddle them for all the feels seconds later. It’s therapeutic, honestly.
Something else related to my beloved books quite boils me in my own pudding a la Scrooge levels.
Book bans are equal to the following in my classroom, and my students are made well aware of this by the end of the first week of school in one way or another:
1. Four letter curse words that warrant a serious conversation where I will try to persuade you about their damaging effects.
2. Should be talked about openly and with open minds as to why they may or may not be appropriate for individual situations and not entire groups of people.
3. Censorship that is often geared toward silencing the voice of certain populations—and those of us willing to carry the banner as an ally of some kind if we ourselves are not directly part of that population being censored.
· Four letter curse words that warrant a serious conversation where I will try to persuade you about their damaging effects.
o My primary examples here ring tales of what it’s like to burn books. Even in the case of the Library at Alexandria or the Great Fire of London: the loss of so much knowledge in a matter of hours is something that cannot be easily recovered. Today, it takes less than fire. It takes a right clicking mouse and DELETE. Nothing more. It’s gone unto the ether.
o We can also look at Harry Potter’s arrival onto the scene when I was a middle school student. Religious views aside, political views aside—it’s a well-written series for the age group it grows up with. Notice how I worded that to justify some of the darker tones in the later entries? However, its those very books that are often cited as critical reasons to pull this series from not just school curricula as even student choice—that’s right—student’s freedom of willpower doesn’t even matter here.
o If a kid wants to read______(READ THE LIST_____ for an assignment in my class or carry it on their person to read for their own pleasure, I’m not going to stop them. Why? Dude. Disney already showed us what Gaston looks like. It shouldn’t be right for that closed mindset to dictate what people should read. I’m not into letting people lose their inspiration, ideas, and thinking, thank you. I would much rather my students be free thinking individuals capable of making wise decisions under their own conditions since life keeps dealing them increasingly crappier hands each year in other areas of existence.
§ Looking for Alaska by John Green
§ The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
§ Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
§ The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
§ Forever by Judy Blume
§ To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
§ My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
§ The Color Purple by Alice Walker
§ The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
§ Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
§ Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
§ I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
o The top ten most challenged books by year can also be found at the link below for more information as gathered by the American Library Association: https://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10
o Some of the items on these lists continue to confound me. Are they appropriate for readers of all ages and maturities? No. Would I question some of my students reading them? Sure. For example, I might say, “hey, Cleo, I see you’re reading ____. What intrigued you to pick it up?” For all I know, that student may be part of a book of the month club looking at something in a historical context. They could be reading something their best friend recommended them, and they may or may not even be a fan of it in the first place. We all know that friend who begs you to borrow the book we adore and force you to….BLAHBLAH (AHEM SILENCE WHISPER) I am that friend. ANYWAY.
· Should be talked about openly and with open minds as to why they may or may not be appropriate for individual situations and not entire groups of people.
o I think a lot of people toss two of Aristotle’s three main points of argumentation out the window as soon as their PATHOS side gets pulling at their heart strings a little hard. You’re valid and entitled to feel emotions. At the same time, the second you feel like harming or invaliding someone else to feel better about your choices… that’s a slipper slope of ethics and logic we’re not going to talk about here. If you feel yourself disagreeing with what a book says, realize you have the ability and the maturity of self to say, “Okay, cool. Unsubscribe.” Well, not from this channel—I hope. But from that line of thought. The epic thing about being the highly, self-evolved humans we are is that single fact. We have the freedom of choice. You can’t take someone else’s choice away just because you don’t like something. That’s how fires start.
§ If you don’t get the joke, repeat what I said about Alexandria and London earlier—or go read an often-banned book, Fahrenheit 451. You can not only burn paper at that temperature, but I can attest that it’s the right choice for certain breads and meats around the holidays. It’s also why you should really remove cardboard backings from frozen pizza.
o I often find most students walk out of those open-minded conversations about books in context to their times and situations as to why they were and were not written without a single scratch on them that is long lasting and painful. Do we get emotionally charged? OH BOY. I often start classes like those every day with, “okay, kids. BRB means be right back and bathroom break for a reason. If you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself, take a deep breath because your heartrate needs it and step away. When you’ve taken the moment you deserve to process, join right back in the flow of conversation as if you never left. We’ll hold space for you.” That’s the part we’re forgetting. It’s okay to feel emotions. When did we stop teaching each other and our kids that as a village we could do this for one another instead of just blotting it out as if it never existed.
o When I tell students some of the reasons why books are banned, they’re just flat out confused if they’ve heard about the book or read it or saw the movie or whatever.
· Censorship that is often geared toward silencing the voice of certain populations—and those of us willing to carry the banner as an ally of some kind if we ourselves are not directly part of that population being censored.
o Allow me to use my voice on the behalf of so many others: just because your brain says a certain book equals “does not compute; eject, do not rewind, return to sender; reboot reboot reboot; invader to DOOM DOOM DOOM levels” does not also always automatically give you the right to deem it worthy of non-existence. We covered this. Rewind and recap as you please for review.
o We’ve seen historically where censorship is bad jujus. It rings of World War I and World War II. It rings of colonialism. It rings of erasing ideas worth considering for the betterment of all mankind out of existence because someone was uncomfortable. Humans have proven we are able to survive because we encounter things, learn how to deal with them, and learn how to move past it. Whether you call that spirituality, religious piety, scientific advancement, or just plain old stubbornness. It all boils down to not giving up when things are the most painful. After all… we hated growing pains physically as children. Why aren’t we allowed to hate them, process them, and grow past them emotionally, mentally, and educationally of our own volition as we grow, too?
CALL TO ACTION TRANSTION WITH A THANK YOU FOR LISTENING
Over the last decade or more of my experience as a teacher, I’ve had the pleasure of reading, discussing, and writing amazing literary analysis with students. Sometimes, we’re in tears when we do it. Sometimes, we’re begging each other to stop making jokes when we should be cringing.
Why is it that we’re teaching them these skills? We need them to understand that the human experience is nuanced. Books along with other forms of media allow us to do that without actually being there in person. They’re safe havens for growth and exploration of not just the self but the other people living in our world wide village.
Thank you for listening to me rant, lovelies. I know not everyone will agree with me. That’s oaky. Please consider the comments section a SAFE SPACE to discuss. What I said earlier about checking yourself applies because You know I want you taking care of yourself first. You’re worth it. Thank you for taking the time to sit with me today. Blessings be. S W and apparently my teacher soap box OUT!
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