Sample Outline-Banned Books

Banned Books
Attention-Getter: Now I’m sure that many of you have read or heard of the
Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. And I’m sure that many of you are either
devout followers of these vampire novels, or you know somebody who is. Now,
try to imagine how all these fans of Edward, Jacob, and Bella were to be told by
the California Board of Education that due to the mature themes and sexual
content of the books, they would be banned from schools, grade twelve and
Establishment of credibility: I think it is important to oppose book banning
because just as many things can be learned from books as from life experiences or
lessons. Although some novels may have a vague moral or underlying theme,
there is always something to be learned by the reader. And in some instances, one
single book can bring about a positive change for a single person.
Thesis Statement: Every book has a main point or some form of contribution to
society and should not be banned or censored because groups of people do not
agree with what is being written.
Preview: Firstly I will be telling you the status of banned literature in the US,
followed by the various works banned within our country. Next, I will tell you of
the different solutions that have been proposed to oppose restricting books. Lastly,
I will give a brief perspective of the possible future we could have with the
individual thoughts, ideas, and broader forms of creativity that can be reached
with the exclusion of censorship within our country.
Problem: According to the American Library Association, American libraries
have been faced with 3,736 challenges due to the content of books with more
being challenged every year. (ALA, 2009)
1. Many of the book challenges have centered on the sexual content or
themes of the books.
i. There are 1,225 challenges towards “sexually explicit” material,
720 challenges towards material believe to be “unsuited to age
group”, and 269 challenges towards “homosexual” themed
ii. 1,176 (approximately 31%) came from classrooms; 34% (or
909) originated in public libraries; less than 75 challenges took
place in college classes. About 51% of these complaints were
launched by parents and 6% by school administration.
2. Books like Catcher in the Rye, The Color Purple, Of Mice and Men,
and many other classics have been banned from high schools across
the country. (ALA, 2009)
i. The most recent challenge for The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D.
Salinger, was back in 2001 in Glynn County, Georgia for its
use of profanity.
ii. In 2002, Parents against Bad Books (PABB) challenged Alice
Walker’s The Color Purple in Fairfax County, Virginia
libraries because they “contain profanity and descriptions of
drug abuse, sexually explicit conduct, and torture”.
iii. John Steinbeck’s short story Of Mice and Men was challenged
in Normal, Illinois Community High Schools back in 2003 for
containing, “racial slurs, profanity, violence, and does not
represent tradition values”.
3. In a TIMES Magazine article, a librarian by the name of Sharon
Coatney talks about her past experience with censorship while she
worked at a small rural high school. (Coatney, 2000)
i. Coatney says that censorship or banning isn’t a new concept
for any library, all of which have certain policies that have to
be adhered to while selecting books for their collection.
ii. During her time at the high school, the school’s ‘library’ was,
essentially, a metal cage in the back of a room where the books
were locked up for ‘security reasons’.
iii. Part of her job as a librarian required Coatney to keep all
viewpoints in balance and knowing what to do when an
individual parent requests that a book from their ‘library’ be
iv. The removal of books didn’t take place often, but when it did it
was because the book didn’t meet the criteria of the library
policies instituted by the administration.
v. In the article, Coatney voices her regret that the students at the
high school had little to no access to their books.
Transition Statement: Within the United States, organizations have been created to try and find
solutions to the frequent challenges, censorship and banning of various novels and children’s
Solution: Because book banning has occurred for more than a century, people
have formulated ways to combat the unfair bans.
a. In the Intellectual Freedom Manual, compiled by the American Library
Association, propositions towards stopping censorship have been taken into
account and listed. (ALA, 2006)
1. “It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make
available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including
those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the
i. In other words, those who maintain a creative train of thought
are considered ‘rebels’ for wanting to explore something that is
against the norm of society. By stomping down on the ‘nonconformist’ attitudes and beliefs that we are given at the
beginning of our lives would, in turn, destroy the democratic
system, which is the embodiment of freedom of choice through
b. In Esther Lombardi’s article on “How to Save a Book from
Banning”, she lists several ways for people to stop and prevent books from
being banned in their local area. (Lombardi, 2009)
1. Find the list of the top most challenged books within the past decade
and start reading them.
i. Learn why these books were deemed ‘dangerous’ or
‘inappropriate’ by school officials and parents.
ii. Question their reasoning by understanding what the novels are
about and what the underlying themes are.
2. Report local library, bookstore, or school challenges to the American
Library Association.
i. Hundreds of challenges are reported to the ALA, and “more
than a book a day faces removal from free and open public
access in U.S. schools and libraries”. (Morales, 2007)
3. Volunteer or work in a local library or school.
i. By getting involved, you are more than likely able to voice
your opinions concerning banned books or book challenges.
c. kidsSpeak! is just one of the many organizations that have sprouted up across
the country, whose goal is to overturn the banning of several books and
provide solutions to book banning for kids and teenagers. (What Can I Do?)
1. kidsSpeak! suggests that kids read about what censorship is in order to
know what it is they are protesting against.
i. In addition to learning what censorship is and the role it has
played in US history, researching other organizations that are
against censorship is highly recommended.
ii. Students are encouraged to bring their grievances to their
school officials by using their First Amendment rights to
organize and voice their view points with those who agree with
Transition Statement: Now that I have finished discussing the status of certain novels in the US,
and the solutions that have been suggested by different people and organizations, I will
be telling you the benefits of going against book challenges and censorship.
Visualization: There are many things to be gained from opposing book bans and
challenges, all of which benefit us individually and as a group.
a. By going against book challenges and censorship, we hinder the progress of
ignorance within our society.
1. Reading classic literature or any sort of book that has been shunned by
our parents or school administrators can help ‘broaden our horizons’ as
readers, students, and people.
i. As strange as it may seem, life lessons learned by characters in
a novel can be applied towards your own life, and for the better.
b. Being part of the younger generation also entitles us to question the teachings
and beliefs of those who came before us.
1. No one should have to be told what to think, believe, or wonder about.
Our First Amendment rights give us the freedom of speech, religion,
and assembly.
i. Through voicing our thoughts on what we want to read, learn,
and know about ourselves and the world around us, we can
become worldlier than what the older generations give us credit
I. Summary: Today I have talked to you about the goings on of book censoring in the
United States, some of the famous books that have been challenged or pulled out of
school curriculums, the solutions proposed by different organizations, and the
possible outcomes and benefits that are to be gained from resisting book bans.
II. Refer back to the introduction: As I stated before, every book has a main point or some
form of contribution to society and should not be banned or censored because groups
of people do not agree with what is being written.
III. Call for action: Every one of you should do your part in enlightening those who are
apparently ignorant to what could possibly be a piece of life-changing literature for
you and feel that we cannot possibly handle concepts like sex, drugs, or vulgar
language, despite the fact that most of us have already been exposed to such topics
through other forms of media, like movies, television shows, or the internet.
IV. Sense of closure: If books continue to be restricted from us because of their content, then
the people who are deciding what is good for us and what isn’t are no better than the
Nazis, who took it upon themselves to burn and censor any books that did not hold
the same opinions as they do.