Ban This Book

Ban This Book
Written by Alan Gratz

Publisher’s Summary:
A fourth grader fights back when From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg is challenged by a well-meaning parent and taken off the shelves of her school library. Amy Anne is shy and soft-spoken, but don’t mess with her when it comes to her favorite book in the whole world. Amy Anne and her lieutenants wage a battle for the books that will make you laugh and pump your fists as they start a secret banned books locker library, make up ridiculous reasons to ban every single book in the library to make a point, and take a stand against censorship.

Primary Source Pairing:
Ban this Book is a feet-first jump into the topic of book censorship. Author Alan Gratz effortlessly introduces the reader to dozens of banned books as they are added to Amy Anne’s B.B.L.L. (Banned Books Locker Library). Just as the students at Shelbourne Elementary Library are interested in the books kids “shouldn’t” read, our IL Bluestem list readers will be interested, too. For this primary source pairing, invite students to read a book from the B.B.L.L. and analyze the cover. For the primary source included above, I included the cover of the book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler as I remember it as a young reader. Amy Anne and I have our love for this book in common, and just like Amy Anne, I want to read it again!

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see on the cover of this book.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What people and objects are shown?
  • How are they arranged?
  • What is the physical setting?
  • What is interesting about this book cover?
  • If you were to redesign the book cover, how would you do it?
  • Why do you think this book was included in the B.B.L.L. (Banned Book Locker Library)?
  • Why do you think students should or should not read books that are on the banned book list?

Additional Resources:
ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom:

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler book cover: Amazon