For immediate release | December 5, 2019

32 guides for teaching banned books

CHICAGO — As standard-bearers for intellectual freedom, school and children’s librarians are in ideal positions to collaborate with educators to not only protect the freedom to read but also ensure that valued books which touch upon important topics are not quarantined from the readers for whom they were written. Thoroughly updated and expanded to include genres such as graphic novels and nonfiction, the new second edition of “Teaching Banned Books: 32 Guides for Children and Teens,” published by ALA Editions, is a classroom- and library-ready book of discussion guides. Inside, award-winning champion of children's literature Pat R. Scales shows that there is a way to teach these books while respecting all views. Also freshened to include only books that are in print, this resource:

  • reprints Judy Blume's stirring introduction from the first edition;
  • aids educators and librarians in stimulating the critical thinking skills of young readers aged 9-18 while also encouraging freedom of thought and expression, in either classroom or book club settings;
  • spotlights titles dealing with sensitive but vital issues such as bullying, racism, bigotry, making tough choices, other cultures, and our uncertain future;
  • offers tips for introducing each book and its associated topics;
  • provides open-ended questions for discussion which explore the book as a whole rather than simply its "controversial" aspects, along with research and writing activities; and
  • includes short summaries of each book, plus a read-alikes section to keep the conversation going.

Scales is a retired middle and high school librarian in Greenville, SC. She has also served as adjunct instructor of children’s and young adult literature at Furman University. A First Amendment advocate, she is a former chair of ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee and serves on the Board of Advisors of the National Coalition against Censorship. A past president of the Association of Library Service to Children, she has also chaired several book awards committees. She is regular contributor to Book Links magazine and School Library Journal. Her other books include “Protecting Intellectual Freedom in Your School Library,” “Books under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children’s Books,” and “Encourage Reading from the Start.”

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. ALA Editions and ALA Neal-Schuman publishes resources used worldwide by tens of thousands of library and information professionals to improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal professional development. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a growing range of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5052 or

Related Links

"Teaching Banned Books: 32 Guides for Children and Teens, Second Edition"

"Beyond Banned Books: Defending Intellectual Freedom throughout Your Library"

Report Censorship: Defend the Public's Freedoms


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

American Library Association

ALA Publishing