Fullerton College Library

Banned Books Essay Contest Winners 2019

This semester, the FC Library promoted the 2019 Fullerton College Banned Books Essay Contest to celebrate and promote Banned Books Week. As such, Fullerton College students took up the challenge to pick up a banned book, read it, and write an essay about it for the chance to win cash prizes. The contest ended on October 11, and students who submitted their essays to the library before the deadline were anonymously evaluated by a team of faculty from various departments.

Congratulations to our winning students!


Do you have thoughts, opinions, or ideas about needing to protect free speech? Here’s your chance to learn more and to write about the history of banned books and their impacts on our society. Pick a banned book and write about it. The best essays get prizes! 

All currently enrolled Fullerton College students are eligible to participate.


Three winners (first, second and third place) will be awarded the following prizes:

  • $200 for first place
  • $100 for second place
  • $50 for third place

Certificates of achievement will be issued to the winners. Certificates of participation will be awarded to all participants upon request. An essay-reading event to announce the winners is planned for all participants and guests.

Essays due by:

October 11th, 2019

Have your contest entry handy in a doc or docx file to submit.


Banned Books Week is an annual awareness campaign spearheaded by the American Library Association to celebrate the freedom to read.  Throughout human history, and across many countries and cultures, many books have been banned, confiscated, censored, destroyed in bonfires, had content edited out, and challenged in schools.  Also, many authors and their readers have been fined, imprisoned, threatened, assaulted and even executed for their association with banned books that were disapproved by some authorities and governments.

Steps to Participate

1: Choose and Read: Select and read a banned book: A banned book can be defined as, “any book that has been banned, censored, challenged or restricted.” The selected book can be any banned or challenged book. Ask any FC librarian with assistance in selecting or researching a banned book. The book does not have to be from FC Library.

2: Write: Compose a 500 -1,000 word essay answering only one of the four essay prompts below using supporting ideas from the banned book of your choosing. Essay Prompts:

  • “The vulnerable ought to be shielded from dangerous ideas.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
  • In what way(s) did reading your controversial book liberate you?
  • Use examples from your chosen text, argue for the benefits of reading a potentially controversial book.
  • Explain why you feel the banning or censoring of your selected text was (not) justified for its time.

3: Proofread carefully: Faculty from English and other departments will evaluate each essay on the following criteria:

  • Organization
  • Strength of argument
  • Adherence to the prompt
  • Supporting details
  • Format
  • Language mechanics (i.e., grammar, spelling, and punctuation)

Use of the MLA format is encouraged.

The essay will be evaluated using a rubric. You are strongly encouraged to take a look at the rubric as you write:
Banned Books Essay Contest 2019 Rubric

4: Submit: your essay (.docx or .doc format only) on or before OCTOBER 11, 2019 11:59 p.m. Include your first name, last name and Banner ID number on the essay.

1.) Online: using the submission form on the library website. Or…

2.) E-mail: Email your submissions to vmacias@fullcoll.edu with the subject line “2019 Essay Contest Submission.

One essay submission per student. No hand-delivered paper submissions, please. Submissions sent after the posted date and time will not be considered.


For more information on Banned Books week, please visit the American Library Association page:

Academic Honesty

Fullerton College’s policy on plagiarism fully applies. Participating students who submit essays are responsible for submitting academically honest work by submitting original written work, with credit given to any sources where required, which includes the full, proper and complete use of citations and works cited pages. Essays with suspected plagiarism will be disqualified.

Ready to Enter?

Have your contest entry handy in a doc or docx file to submit.