Crafting a Defense of a Banned Book

In Grade 9 English, students learn about censorship, while gaining skills in persuasive argumentation, textual analysis and written communication. 
Students explore why books are banned, what kinds of books are banned and the consequences of censorship. As a case study in book banning, students read 7 Generations, a graphic novel about the intergenerational impacts of colonialism that has been challenged in Alberta. As a group, they read a fictitious letter of outrage based on real letters against this novel, and craft a response in defense of it. Using the skills they learn in this group exercise, they then write a defense of a banned book of their own choosing. Through this project, students learn how to use historical context to understand the thematic meaning of a text, and the value of “own voice” texts. They also learn how to craft a persuasive and logical argument, differentiate between fact and opinion and communicate effectively.