Applications from twenty-five sophomore or junior members of National English Honor Society have been submitted for the Intellectual Freedom Challenge and currently are being reviewed by college/university professors who are members of Sigma Tau Delta or Sigma Kappa Delta. Controversial texts about which the members wrote include annually challenged titles such as The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill A Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451, and Lord of the Flies. More recent texts that received attention this year include My Name is Malala, The Hate U Give, and Vampire Academy. Up to twelve of the applicants will be awarded $100 for the essays that rise to the top of the readers’ list of “best.”
Recently, National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) updated the position statement “The Students’ Right to Read.” The extensive statement offers educators, parents, and students ideas for developing rationales for teaching and reading particular texts; this newly updated resource also identifies a series of often-challenged texts and provides guidance for their use. NEHS Advisors are encouraged to visit the NCTE website to read the statement; we would encourage all NEHS Chapters to be aware of these valuable materials and to lead their school communities in establishing clear policies concerning book selection and book challenges.