the outsiders book cover

Banned Books are Often The Best Books for Struggling Kids

As horrible as I find banning books, the practice does have one thing going for it: Kids who may not be big-time readers seem to love them. In this extremely cool and original essay over at Let Grow today, Elizabeth Peyton, a middle school teacher, writes that:

I’ve found that if I want to pique kids’ interest in a book, I just have to tell them they need a signed permission slip to read it.

I teach kids who catch the school bus outside of low-income housing, ride through deprived neighborhoods, and learn in a building where the heat and air conditioning frequently fail to function. (Is my job choice the result of my adolescent obsession with The Outsiders? Indubitably.) And they don’t necessarily want to read about a boy wizard at boarding school… or anything else that seems completely disconnected from their lives. But slip them a copy of Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and they’ll finish it in days. Kids who have never finished a book before devour 13 Reasons Why and Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass like they’re a bag of chips and a cold Dr Pepper.

Click here to read the whole refreshing essay. It’s rare that a thought piece on banned books can leave a reader this buoyant!

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