Books and Bingo are the perfect combination!
Although censorship is generally frowned up, Bev Clarkson of the Pittsburgh Public Library wanted to create an activity that she could host for children and teenagers in order to inform them about the issue while having fun at the same time. That is how she came up with the idea to host Banned Books Bingo where book titles that have been challenged or banned replace the bingo numbers on the card. For the last several years, Clarkson has played Banned Books Bingo with children and teenagers ranging from 6th to 12th grade in tribute to Banned Books Week. As a prize for those who get a bingo, Clarkson gives the students copies of the challenged or banned books. On occasion, Clarkson asks the children if they know why the books were banned.
Banned Book Bingo: Informative and Fun
A book titled ‘And Tango Makes Three’ was banned because it was about two male penguins, Silo and Roy who became a couple. Roy and Silo are housed at the Central Park Zoo in New York and the book tells their true story about how they made a nest and attempted to hatch a rock. The zookeepers gave them an egg from another couple, who were male and female because they were not able to take care of 2 eggs at the same time. Silo and Roy each sat on the egg until it hatched.
The zookeepers named the healthy female chick Tango. This was the most challenged book of between 2006 and 2010 with the exception of 2009 when it was the 2nd most challenged book. Some of the high school students’ favorite banned books are ‘The Hunger Games’ series and ‘Harry Potter’. Clarkson said that she read an article about an author who was asked to speak at a school in Kansas but was then told she could not attend because the teacher believed the author’s book might offend some of the parents of the children. Clarkson says that parents have a right not to let their child read a book but she does not believe they have the right to stop everyone else from reading it.
The Banned Books Bingo Benefit
Once the game is complete and every player has received a banned book, the students are asked to give their opinion on Banned Books Bingo and censorship. Jeremy Hall, and 8th grader at Pittsburgh Community Middle School says he likes Banned Books Bingo because it really makes him think about censorship and how the students should be able to choose what to read, not the adults. Pittsburgh High School senior Megan Lee also said she does not appreciate when people tell her what she can and cannot read. She says she enjoys Banned Books Bingo, particularly when there are other students who are competing for the same book because knowing a book could be banned makes her want to read it even more. Another senior at Pittsburgh High School named Lauren Geiger says there are some books she believes are terrible but that nobody has the right to tell someone they cannot read them. Geiger says it is not right to ban books because it is like telling someone they do not have a right to have their own thoughts.