Everyone who loves reading has done it. We stay up well past the time that we should go to bed just so that we can enjoy one more chapter of our current book. Sometimes these books are stealthily hidden beneath blankets and read with flashlights so that parents will not know what we are reading.
This week, the American Library Association is honoring “banned books,” which are books that have been outlawed for various reasons including language, morality, religion, and illustrations. In my opinion, every book worth reading has been banned for some unnecessary reason. Also, banning books only serves to stimulate a child’s curiosity and build their desire to read the book.
Below are my favorite banned books, the reason that they were banned, and why I loved them.
- The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum – People claim that it supports pessimism and has no literary value. I love The Wizard of Oz because it taught me how to think imaginatively and beyond concrete reality.
- The Bad Beginning, by Lemony Snicket – I will be the first to admit that Snicket’s books are disturbing. However, Snicket is one of my favorite authors because of his unique tales and unprecedented vocabulary-teaching ability. Besides, Snicket is not even a real person, so can we blame him for being bizarre?
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain – Mark Twain has been called racist, and there is foul language in the book. Nonetheless, this classic tale teaches history and loyalty.
- Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor – Some parents do not like that the series includes “coming of age” topics and homosexuality. I loved the series because I could relate to Alice as a teenage girl. Yes, the book did include “secular” content, but we live in a secular world. As Christians, we should be in the world; we should know what is happening around us. However, we are not of the world, and we will not agree with everything that the world promotes.
- The Giver, by Lois Lowry – The Giver includes violent misdeeds such as euthanasia and infanticide. However, it is also a story of love, breaking the status quo, and bravery.
- Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George – Violence and offensive language are the two main reasons that certain adults have tried to censor Julie of the Wolves. I appreciate Julie’s bravery, the story’s adventure, and George’s attention to culture.
A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein – Silverstein tends to be sarcastic and sassy. One of his poems says, “If you have to dry the dishes, And you drop one on the floor, Maybe they won’t let you Dry the dishes anymore.” Parents saw this as promoting disrespect and disobedience. I happen to love Silverstien’s dry humor.
- The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis – After reading this book, parents worry that their children will become disobedient and mischievous for the sake of adventure. Christians also criticize Lewis for animalizing Christ. On the contrary, Lewis wrote Narnia as a metaphor of Christ’s suffering, not a sacrilegious attack.
- If I Ran the Zoo, by Dr. Seuss – The country’s view of ethnicity was vastly different in the 1950s when Dr. Seuss wrote this book. That is why he included the line about helpers who “all wear their eyes at a slant.” My family spent quite a lot of time at a few different zoos when I was younger. Basically, my brother is Gerald McGrew.
- Junie B. Jones, by Barbara Park – Like so many other child heroes, Junie tends to be bratty, disobedient, and rude. However, these well-intentioned books simply seek to tell the story of childhood from the perspective of a first-grade girl. Let’s be honest–what child isn’t bratty, disobedient, and rude at times? The key is that parents should use the book as a way to discuss proper behavior with children.
I am deeming it sweet potato week. Why? Just because I can.
Sweet potatoes are nice, and they think you are nice.
Don’t worry. This isn’t going to be a week of nothing but recipes. I am hoping to cover as many of my “lives” as possible.
To start our sweet potato celebrations, I am going to show you how to make sweet potato people. This is an activity that I used during my Children’s Literature class as a follow-up to telling a folk tale. My class loved it, and it is great to use with children of all ages.
- One sweet potato per student (regular potatoes would work too)
- A handout for each student
- Allow each student to color and cut out a few body parts.
- Use glue and toothpicks to attach the body body parts to the potato. Some younger students may need help.
- Display your Sweet Potatoes People.
Christy is a teacher-trainer for the Baptist schools in Togo. Every week, nearly a hundred children pile into her yard to sing, play, and learn about Jesus.
On my first full day in Togo, I visited Adeta Church. While the worship was not nearly as feisty as the worship at other Togolese churches that my friends visited, I observed women, men, and children alike in prayerful communication with God by way of song. They sang from their souls, not their lips.
At the close of the service, the congregation sang these familiar words:
When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be.
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory.
There we stood, representing at least two nations and three languages. Yet, we all worshiped the same God. And when we all get to Heaven, we will lift one voice to praise Him eternally.
As an education major, some of our required assignments are nothing more than gathering materials to use in our classrooms. In the present age, a list of web-based games is considered a necessary material. Here are ten of my favorite games that I have found this year.
- Analogies – Students must determine which word correctly completes the analogies. Words will only appear twice, so they need to think quickly!
- Guess the Homonym –
Sum Some students have a hard thyme time trying too two to determine the write right homophone or distinguish between homonyms. This game can help.
- Food Chain Game – As students learn about all the components of a biome’s food web, this game can help them review and practice putting producers, consumers, and decomposers in order.
- Photosynthesis Respiration Game – This game leads students step-by-step through the process of human cell respiration and plant cell photosynthesis. Students must truly understand both concepts to successfully play the game.
- America on the Move – Perhaps the greatest evidence of our world’s advances is in the realm of transportation. America on the Move provides three different games that help children learn about the history of transportation.
- Fruit Shoot Fractions – This game, reminiscent of Fruit Ninja, requires students to “shoot” the answer to a fraction addition problem. Because there are many levels, students of many different grades can play the game.
- Pre-Algebra Addition Shootout – Children who love soccer will enjoy choosing their goalkeeper, jersey color, an skill level before solving a variety of simple algebraic equations.
- Arthur’s Lunch-o-Matic – This tray needs some Vitamin A! Students must choose the food that fits the cafeteria worker’s description. The game will help children learn the benefits of eating a variety of foods.
- Blast Off! – Children’s bodies are just like rocket ships–they need fuel! In this game, students fill their plate with a wide variety of foods to get enough fuel for an active day.
I am not very good at playing Bingo. You see, I never actually win. I may get 24th-runner-up, but I never feel the pleasure of being the first to yell, “BINGO!” Nonetheless, a game of Bingo is a great way to entertain students during a class party or family gathering.
If you need a time-filling activity for young children at an event, use the Thanksgiving themed Bingo game which I created to keep them busy!