The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


Castilleja library hosts “Freedom to Read Banned Books” event

Ruby Dowling
Students write poems and look at challenged books during the Library’s “Freedom to Read Banned Books” lunch event.

Castilleja Library is celebrating Banned Books Week this week to underscore the prevalence of censorship issues in today’s society. To celebrate Banned Books Week, the library hosted a “Freedom to Read Banned Books” lunch event where students read and discussed banned books.

In the very front of the library, there is one particularly colorful display, surrounded by flames and caution tape. This shelf contains popular and well-known works of literature, including “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “The Hunger Games” and even religious works such as the Bible. Castilleja librarian Christina Appleberry says that the rack is important because “[the banned books shelf] illustrates how pervasive [censorship issues] are. It really helps to get the conversation going.”

Books are censored frequently, limiting access to different types of information, especially information regarding minority communities.

“The more information people have, the better choices they can make with their lives,” Appleberry said. Appleberry continued by saying that many challenges against books are most likely parents trying to protect their children. “People are worried about their children being exposed to things they think are harmful. It’s out of love, but it’s misguided.”

“The reason to suppress knowledge, literature, and the written word is fear. Fear that ideas will propagate and spread,” said Lauren Lin ’24, a library TA and member of the Library Advisory Board.

Lin hosted a banned books workshop with the library Tuesday at lunch. “[Banned Books Week is] for the people who see themselves in [these books]. Representation matters,” Lin said. The workshop involved writing poems in response to a frequently banned book, “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell.

The picture book is the true story of two penguins at the Central Park Zoo. It has been repeatedly banned for ‘homosexual overtones’ and because it is ‘unsuitable for young children’.

“It brings your own unique perspective into the story as well. That way, you get to reflect [on how this book makes you feel],” Lin said.

“And Tango Makes Three” was one of the most banned books in the U.S from 2006 to 2010. “When we try to cap knowledge, and we try to withhold it, it only spreads further.” Lin said, giving the example of the book. She said that since it was banned so much, its reach only spread further and further.

As Burlingame’s Youth Poet Laureate, Lin has been educating others about censorship by putting on similar events at the Burlingame Public Library. She is hosting an open house at Burlingame Public Library Saturday, where she plans to share poems and spread awareness about banned books.

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About the Contributor
Ruby Dowling
Ruby Dowling, Editor-in-Chief
Ruby Wright Dowling ’24 is an Editor-in-Chief of Counterpoint. She attended the Medill-Northwestern Journalism Institute in 2023 and is now an editorial intern at the Los Altos Town Crier. When she’s not reporting, Ruby enjoys scorekeeping at baseball games—especially when the Red Sox are in town.

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