Banned book passages to be read at Ivy Tech Friday

By Mike Leonard 331-4368 |
February 29, 2012

Read Across America Day celebrates the birthday of the imaginative children’s author, Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, and plays out in programs across the country where adults come into schools and libraries and read to children.

It may come as a surprise to some, however, that even Dr. Seuss faced censorship battles, particularly for his book, “The Lorax,” whose theme of environmental awareness has long raised objections from the logging industry.

The late Dr. Seuss might have the last laugh on that one, as a movie based on the book is slated for release on Read Across America Day Friday. The film includes the voices of celebrities and actors, including Taylor Swift, Zac Efron, Betty White, Danny DeVito, Ed Helms and Rob Riggle.

Ivy Tech Bloomington will celebrate the day with a noon-5 p.m. program featuring students and community members reading passages from banned and challenged books in the commons area of the Connie and Steve Ferguson Academic Building.

The event is hosted and coordinated by students in Ivy Tech Bloomington’s “American Literature After 1865” service-learning class and the Creative Writing Club. “I think it helps make it clear how widespread the phenomenon of challenging literature is,” said Elizabeth Starr, who teaches the class. “It can be children’s books. It can be the classics.”

Among the books Ivy Tech’s students will be reading this term are Mark Twain’s “Pudd’nhead Wilson,” William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying,” Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” and Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple.” Students also are blogging about their reading experiences at The blog is a service learning project in partnership with the Ivy Tech-Bloomington Library. The public, students and staff are invited to read and comment on student blog entries. Students will select and recognize the best outside comment on their blog at the end of the semester.

Non-students also are invited to read passages from banned or challenged books or simply witness the readings. Starr can be reached at to discuss possible readings and available reading times.

In addition to the reading event, students are running a book through March 9 to collect paperback books for Boxcar Books and the Midwest Pages to Prisoners project. Bins will be located throughout Ivy Tech’s main campus.

Those who donate books or volunteer to read at the Read Across America Day event on March 2 will receive an “I Read Banned Books” button or free cookies supplied by Chef Jeff Tabor’s Ivy Tech HOSP 105 students.

Dr. Seusss’ 1971 book “The Lorax,” above, whose theme of environmental awareness has long raised objections from the logging industry, is slated for release as a major motion picture Friday on Read Across America Day.

Copyright: 2012

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.