There’s nothing funny about censorship, but Bev Clarkson, Pittsburg Public Library, wanted an activity she could do with young adults to address that issue and have fun at the same time.



She came up with Banned Books Bingo, in which titles of books that have been banned or challenged replace the familiar numbers on a bingo card.

There’s nothing funny about censorship, but Bev Clarkson, Pittsburg Public Library, wanted an activity she could do with young adults to address that issue and have fun at the same time.

She came up with Banned Books Bingo, in which titles of books that have been banned or challenged replace the familiar numbers on a bingo card.

For the past six or seven years she has played the game with young people in sixth through 12th grades in honor of  Banned Books Week.

Clarkson played it Wednesday, giving out copies of banned or challenged books as prizes for those who achieve a bingo.

Occasionally, as she called out a title, she’d ask, “Do you have any idea why that book would be banned?”

In the case of “And Tango Makes Three,” it was because Roy and Silo, two male chinstrap penguins in Central Park Zoo, New York, became a couple. The picture book tells the true story of how they built a nest and tried to hatch a rock. Zookeepers gave them an extra egg from a male-female couple who were unable to care for two eggs at once. Roy and Silo took turns sitting on the egg and it hatched. The female chick was named Tango by the zookeepers.

“And Tango Makes Three” was the most challenged book of 2006 to 2010, except for 2009, when it was the second most challenged.

Teen favorites on the banned listed included the Harry  Potter books and “The Hunger Game” series.
Clarkson also read a newspaper article about an author who was invited to talk at a school in Kansas, then was un-invited because the teacher featured the author’s book might offend the more conservative families in the school.

“It’s all right for parents to say that a book is not right for their child, but do they have the right to say that nobody else should read it?”

After the game, when everybody had won a banned book, the young adults gave their opinion on censorship and Clarkson’s Banned Books Bingo.

“I like the program Bev has started, and it really gets us thinking about banned books,” said Jeremy Hall, Pittsburg Community Middle School eighth grader. “I think we should have our choice on the books we read, not adults.”

Megan Lee, Pittsburg High School senior, said that she also did not like people saying what others could or could not read.

“I really do like playing Banned Book Bingo, especially when there’s competition for a book,” Lee said. “Knowing that a book is trying to be banned kind of makes you want to read it.”

Lauren Geiger, also  a PHS senior, said there are books she thinks are horrible, but doesn’t believe that she  or anyone else should have the right to say  that somebody can’t  read them.

“I don’t think it’s right to ban books, it’s like telling somebody they have no right to have  their thoughts,” said Kim Lambert, PHS ninth grade student. “I think it’s awesome that we have a library that doesn’t ban books.”