Banned Books Student Presentation and Melodrama

© Western New Mexico University

As part of the Southwest Word Fiesta, WNMU Assistant Professor of English Composition Professor Heather Frankland and her WNMU Rhetoric and Composition Workshop students will be giving a banned books presentation, while her Introduction to College English students will perform their original three-act melodrama. Both presentations will take place in J. Cloyd Miller Library on Friday, October 23, from 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Frankland, who is a poet and a Southwest Word Fiesta committee member, said, “Come see the class members continue to build on the work that they did with Miller Library in celebration of Banned Book Week during the last week of September. Watch and be entertained by the other class’s creative work in which students rush to save the book, “The Hunger Games,” from being banned at their fictional high school.”

Students from Rhetoric and Composition Workshop spent time researching why their book was banned and reflecting on how they connect to the book. Jacqueline Martinez and Paul Armijo Jr. discovered reasons why their banned book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” was banned, writing, “The book was not only banned in a Catholic School in Nashville, Tennessee, due to good and evil magic, but it was also burned here in Alamogordo, New Mexico,” showing that this issue of banned books connects to us very much on a local level.

WNMU students Jeremiah Tyler, Juan Roach, and Anahi Venegas reflected on what stood out to them about their book selection, “The House on Mango Street.” They wrote, “What stands out to me most in this story is the section, ‘Those Who Don’t;’ a lot of things said in this section I can very much relate to for many reasons. This section speaks of the neighborhood in which the main character lived in, and she gives insight on how those who don’t know of this neighborhood or are from a neighborhood of another color come in scared and misunderstand the environment. This stands out to me a lot, because I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum with this situation.”

Further connecting and reflecting on another book selection, WNMU students Dustin Gnader, Hunter Schlagel and Luis Jaramillo wrote the following about their book selection, “The Devil’s Highway:” “It really opened my eyes to the reality of the true struggle and hardship people went through crossing the border… Having known this book was banned prior to reading it, it almost made me ignore the humanity of these people and only think of just another person trying to get into America. I truly sympathized with these people of the same ethnicity as me struggling to make a better life for themselves and their families.”

Frankland invites the Mustang community and the public to join the students for more reflection, readings and creative work inspired by these banned books.

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