Banned Books Week Coalition member National Coalition Against Censorship is cosponsoring a new essay contest for high school students! NCAC is joining forces with SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund for the contest. Entries are due May 10, 2023.
Students age 14 to 18 are eligible for the contest. Entrants should write a 250 word essay on the topic “How a Banned Book Changed My Life.” Essays can be submitted online using this form or by emailing them to Gianmarco@ncac.org. Deadline for entry is May 10, 2023.
A panel of judges will select two winners, who will receive $250 credit for Kindle or Apple Books and will have the opportunity to read their essays aloud via Zoom at the 2023 SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund Childrens’ Book Changemakers conference at 7:00 p.m. ET on June 8, 2023. Additionally, the two winners will have the opportunity to interview (and be interviewed by) acclaimed banned author Ellen Hopkins (Crank) as a part of the conference program.
The books that are most frequently targeted for censorship are those that capture the attention of younger readers, which leaves many of them confused about the validity of their interests, their personal identities, and their First Amendment rights. This program will examine the censorship of content for young people and their rights from the perspective of authors who have written about or defended intellectual freedom for young people: Jarrett Dapier, librarian and author of the upcoming release Wake Now In The Fire, a graphic novel about the censorship of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis in the Chicago public school system;Ryan Estrada, co-author of Banned Book Club, a graphic novel about an underground banned book club in South Korea; Varian Johnson, author of Playing the Cards You’re Dealt and The Parker Inheritance, as well as outspoken champion for the right to read; and award winning educator and reading advocate Donalyn Miller.
Jarrett Dapier is the author of of the picture books Mr. Watson’s Chickens (Chronicle Books), Jazz For Lunch! (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum Books), and this fall’s The Most Haunted House In America (Abrams Kids). A young adult librarian with over 12 years of experience working with teens in the Chicagoland area, his stage adaptation of The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher, a book about censorship and grief, is published by the American Library Association’s Office For Intellectual Freedom in 2014 and is available for libraries and high schools to produce for free. In 2016, he was awarded the John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award from the Intellectual Freedom Round Table for uncovering, distributing, and disseminating previously suppressed information regarding the 2013 efforts by high-ranking Chicago Public Schools administrators to ban the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. In fall 2023, his YA graphic novel, Wake Now in the Fire, based on the Persepolis incident, will be published by Chronicle Books illustrated by AJ Dungo. He is currently teaching a course on intellectual freedom and censorship at the iSchool at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Ryan Estrada is the co-author of the Eisner-nominated, Freeman Award-winning graphic novel Banned Book Club. His upcoming books include Occulted, the true story of how banned books helped Amy Rose escape a cult, and the Banned Book Club sequel No Rules Tonight. He has made comics for Popeye, Star Trek, Garfield, and Flash Gordon. He lives in South Korea with his wife Kim Hyun Sook.
Varian Johnson is the author of several novels for children and young adults, including The Parker Inheritance, which won both Coretta Scott King Author Honor and Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor awards; The Great Greene Heist, an ALA Notable Children’s book and Kirkus Reviews Best Book; and the graphic novel Twins, illustrated by Shannon Wright, an NPR Best Book.
Varian was born in Florence, South Carolina, and attended the University of Oklahoma, where he received a BS in Civil Engineering. He later received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is honored to now be a member of the faculty. Varian lives outside of Austin, TX with his family.
Donalyn Milleris an award-winning Texas teacher and independent reading advocate. She is the author or coauthor of numerous books and articles about engaging young people with reading, including most recently The Joy of Reading, coauthored with Teri S. Lesesne, and The Commonsense Guide to Your Classroom Library, coauthored with Colby Sharp. She is cofounder of the Nerdy Book Club and founder of #bookaday.
Let’s give book bans the boot! Join a youth-focused Texas coalition for Banned Books Week 2022, as students demand a seat at the table in policymaking that directly affects their education and livelihoods. With the power of organized youth, students can make a difference in local communities.
Attend this interactive webinar to learn how to engage in the fight for an inclusive education, and stay tuned throughout the week for daily challenges on social media to engage in the fight against academic censorship.
Do you have a burning question (about censorship) for New York Times bestselling author and Banned Books Week Honorary Chair Jason Reynolds?! If you’re a teen or an educator, a librarian, or a bookseller who works with teens, now’s your chance! The Banned Books Week Coalition wants to include you in our Facebook Live event with Jason Reynolds at 1:00 p.m. EDT on September 28!
Send us your questions using this form, and they could be included in our conversation with Jason Reynolds! We’re accepting text and video submissions, and those that we include in the event will receive a copy of Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks or a Banned Books Week poster, signed by the author himself! Submissions are due by 5:00 p.m. EDT on September 17, 2021.
See who’s included when we join Honorary Chair Jason Reynolds on Facebook Live, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. EDT on September 28, 2021!
You can celebrate the ways in which books unite us throughout Banned Books Week, September 26 – October 2, 2021! The Banned Books Week Coalition is here to support your celebration of reading, with programming ideas, promotional materials, and other resources! Visit bannedbooksweek.org or follow @BannedBooksWeek on Twitter to get the latest Banned Books Week and censorship news.
How To Submit
Contestants can submit questions in text or video format using this form. Video submissions should be limited to 30 seconds or less (shorter is better). The contest is free to enter.
Contestants must be either living in the U.S. or its territories (but need not be citizens) and must be 13 – 20 years of age on September 28, 2021. Educators, librarians, and booksellers who work with teens ages 13 – 20 are also encouraged to submit videos with their classes and/or book clubs.
Submissions are due by 5:00 p.m. EDT on September 17, 2021.
Individuals whose questions are selected for inclusion in the Facebook Live event will receive a copy of Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks, signed by Jason Reynolds!
Submissions from a class or book club chosen to be included in the event will be awarded with a Banned Books Week poster, signed by Jason Reynolds.
All questions (text and video) should be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT, Friday, September 17.
Videos should be submitted via YouTube link. Video submissions cannot exceed 30 seconds in length. Shorter submissions are encouraged.
Questions should address the theme of Banned Books Week (“Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”), intellectual freedom, censorship, and/or works by Jason Reynolds. Be creative!
Individual contestants must be age 13 – 20 on the day of the Facebook Live event (September 28, 2021).
Questions may be submitted by classes or book clubs and their adult supervisors as long as the teens involved are age 13 – 20 on the day of the Facebook Live event (September 28, 2021).
Contestants must live in the United States or its territories. U.S. citizenship is not required for entry.
Questions selected for inclusion will be shown during the Facebook Live event on September 28 (for video submissions) and the contestant’s first name, city, and state will be shared during the event (for both text and video submissions). For class or book club submissions, the contestants’ school, library, or bookstore, as well as city and state, will be identified.
Prizes: A combined maximum of ten (10) novels signed by Jason Reynolds (for individual contestants) OR Banned Books Week posters signed by Jason Reynolds (for classes and book clubs). Contestants selected for inclusion in the contest will be contacted via email after the event and will have until the end of Banned Books Week (October 2, 2021) to claim their prize. Prizes will be delivered within eight (8) weeks of the conclusion of Banned Books Week (October 2, 2021).
This contest is sponsored and maintained by the Banned Books Week Coalition. It is not directly overseen by Jason Reynolds or Simon & Schuster and its subsidiaries.
Banned Books Week is an annual event that highlights the value of free and open access to information. The event is supported by a coalition of organizations dedicated to free expression, including American Booksellers for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Amnesty International USA, Association of University Presses, Authors Guild, Banned Books Week Sweden, Children’s Book Council, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), Freedom to Read Foundation, GLAAD, Index on Censorship, Little Free Library, National Book Foundation, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN America, People For the American Way Foundation, PFLAG, and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from HarperCollins Publishers and Penguin Random House.