We Made a Thing!

The Story

As most readers know, last week was Banned Book Week, a very special “holiday” for us here at Collage Colorado. During that time, we did lots of things to celebrate, such as the fantastic guest articles we featured and our classroom discussions. We were so delighted by the wonderful response we had last week that we were inspired to design a poster, in honor of banned books and the folks who read and fight for them. We’re pretty proud of it, and we hope that you like it, too! That’s because…

We’re Going to Sell Our Posters!

That’s right – coming very soon, we will be selling our ¡Viva la Literatura! posters (and a whole lot more)! Collage Colorado, LLC is dedicated to working on a non-profit basis; proceeds from the posters will go to funding Collage Colorado’s classroom work, and expanding our Revolutionary Reader library.

The Details

We’ll have more details very soon, but for now we can tell you that posters will come in two sizes: 8″x10″ and 16″x20″. Both are high resolution and glossy, and the 16″x20″ posters are printed on durable 80lb paper.

Ordering details will be posted on a separate page, but for now, please email collagecolorado@gmail.com or send us a message through our Facebook page if you’re interested in buying one! We love commentary too (trolls aside), so feel free to tell us what you think, too! Depending on how these do, there may be other ¡Viva la Literatura! items soon, too.

Beyond Revolutionary Reading Part I: Apps

Banned Books Week has begun, and of course the focus this week is on the books! Still, that doesn’t mean that books should have the spotlight alone; there are lots of other resources like music, apps, and movies, that can supplement what you or your Revolutionary Readers are already doing.

Today, we’re focusing on apps for your phone or tablet.

Apps:

Our go-to Revolutionary Reader apps here at Collage…

Yes, there really is an app for everything. Apps can be a fantastic way to step up your reading game in more ways than you might expect; there aren’t just ones to find or read books, there are also plenty to help you build your reading and even activist community, and a whole lot more.

Below are a list of apps we at Collage like to use when we’re looking for ideas for what to read next:

  • We Read Too | This app is specifically designed for children and families of color, to help connect folks to books by, for, and about marginalized communities. Given this and We Read Too‘s simple and intuitive interface and guided suggestions, make it a wonderful tool for anyone looking to expand their library.

We Read Too

  • YALSA’s Teen Book Finder | Where We Read Too is an app largely geared toward slightly younger readers, the Teen Book Finder app from YALSA (the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association) is, not surprisingly, built for out tween and teen learners. The app suggests an ever-changing list of new books, breaks down lists of fantastic reads based on year, genre, author, awards, and more, and gives students a number of ways to search for new books to read, regardless of theme or controversy. LGBTQ+ students may be especially delighted to find several lists just for them in the app, too!

Teen Book Finder by YALSA

  • Goodreads | Goodreads is, at its core, social media for readers. The app provides a simple, easy-to-use platform to build a reader community with friends, family, and beyond. Although lots of kids books are covered as well (and intrepid younger readers can definitely enjoy the app, too), Goodreads is definitely geared more toward mature readers.

Goodreads

  • Audible | If you’re reading this on a phone or tablet, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of Audible, the audiobook arm of Amazon. Audible is a fantastic app for all readers, but is especially handy for supporting younger readers, or those struggling to pick up skills. It can be used in conjunction with paper texts to give students another way to access the content, and can help kids build excitement around reading. And besides, who doesn’t love being read to?

Audible

  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary | This app makes the list simply because everyone should have an easy-to-access dictionary when reading, and considering that Merriam-Webster’s is free, it’s an easy choice!

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Of course, these are far from the only reader apps out there; these just happen to be our favorites here at the moment. If there are others that you love to use, let us know in the comments below!

Banned Books Matter

Happy Banned Books Week, Collage Fam!

What’s Up With Banned Books Week?

This year, Banned Books Week begins today (Sunday, September 23rd, 2018). Banned Books Week is a pretty big deal for us here at Collage, but before I explain why, maybe I should explain what exactly it is.

“We would argue that [Banned Books Week] is at its core a celebration freedom of speech and the fight for civil rights.”

First and foremost, it is a celebration each year of books that have been censored, challenged, or banned entirely from schools, libraries, and other places that gather literature. National organizations such as the American Library Association (a major supporter of Banned Books Week) keep extensive lists of what books are being challenged or kept out of libraries, and encourage discussions about why books might be banned. Banned Books Week is a chance to bring that discussion to the forefront; more than that though, we would argue that it is at its core a celebration of freedom of speech and the fight for civil rights.

How?

That goes back to why books are banned in the first place. The common perception is that books are banned for people’s “safety” – because they contain words, or topics, or ideas that some group has deemed dangerous in some way. And while it’s certainly true that there have occasionally been books that were banned because they gave dangerous information (such as how to build a bomb), the reality is that a whole lot more were banned for a far more sinister reason: censorship, and the silencing of certain people’s voices.

“It doesn’t make it any easier for a kid to come out, or to feel welcome in their skin wherever they go, if all the voices like theirs are hidden, forbidden, gone.”

If you look at the graphic above, you’ll see that although some books are challenged because they are “pervasively vulgar” (meaning they have a lot of bad language or potentially inappropriate content), still more are banned for political reasons (and not always friendly ones), and many others never see shelves simply because they portray People of Color, racism, or LGBTQ+ characters. Keeping those books away from folks is pretty darn silencing of people for whom those are daily experiences. It doesn’t make it any easier for a kid to come out, or to feel welcome in their skin wherever they go, if all the voices like theirs are hidden, forbidden, gone.

“Banning Books Silences Stories…”

By now I bet you’ve started to guess why Banned Books Week is so important to us here at Collage; it’s no secret that a big part of our mission as an organization here is to elevate the voices of as many people as we can. We believe that by doing this, we elevate the conversation, and build greater community. It’s even written in our Mission Statement.

We believe that censoring and banning books largely hurts our society and our communities, and especially marginalized communities and communities of color. It very clearly silences them. Destroying stories destroys culture, and ruins the legacy we leave for future generations. It’s up to all of us to stop that.

Join us all this week, as we celebrate Banned Books, Revolutionary Readers, and making our voices heard!


Take a look at the list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2017, courtesy of bannedbooksweek.org and the ALA. See one that looks interesting? Maybe pick it up and take a look. It might be banned, but it’s almost certainly awesome.

Something Big is Coming…

Banned Books Week begins this coming Sunday (September 23rd), and that means that big things are coming to Collage! On the blog for the next two weeks, keep an eye out for all sorts of Bannded Books Week content, from lists of our favorite banned books and music to keep you pumped while reading, to activities and more! Got an idea for something you’d like to do for #BannedBooksWeek? Let us know in the comments below!