“It was a pleasure to burn”.
That’s how Ray Bradbury opens his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451.
Ilana, our librarian, designed an interactive presentation to provide my ELLs with background knowledge to help them make sense of one of the central themes in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
She began by showing the students a powerful video.
After a class discussion about the big ideas in the video, Ilana continued with the main activity. She had selected several books that had either been banned or challenged. On the table were strips of paper with the reasons for the challenge. Each student selected a few books and tried to match them with the reasons by reading the blurbs.
The students were intrigued by the various reasons given for banning or challenging books. They were surprised that books they loved as kids such as Winnie the Poo, Where’s Waldo or Where the Wild Things Are, had been challenged. Banning Orwell’s 1984 made more sense. In the first follow up discussion, one student remarked that perhaps a government should control what people read in order to prevent them from getting strange ideas that might harm themselves and others. “What about Mein Kampf?” he asked. Our conversation moved on to freedom and personal safety.
This discussion will be continued next week when Ilana reads a recently published children’s book that has been challenged.
I am looking forward to the ‘ahah’ moments.