Fullerton College Library


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! 

Read all about Banned Books at the library.

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. 

October 10th, 2023 @ 11:59PM

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

Submit Essay


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:

  • Do you agree or disagree with this statement? “Banning books is an attack on (my) identity and (my) culture.” Use examples from your chosen book and other sources to support your stance.
  • Speculate using specific examples from the book, AND relevant events in history, trends, politics, current events, etc. what the consequences may be if the specific book you read gets banned. Be sure to discuss what consequences this banning could have on your own life/worldview.
  • In what way(s) did reading a controversial book personally liberate you? Explain and support your reasoning
  • Do you feel the banning / censoring of your chosen book was (not) justified for its time? Explain and support your reasoning using examples from your own life/lived experience to support your position.

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

  • Organization
  • Strength of argument
  • Personalization
  • Evidence of Research / Supporting details
  • Format
  • Language mechanics (i.e., grammar, spelling, syntax, punctuation, etc.)

Use of the MLA format is encouraged.

4: Submit: your essay (.docx or .doc format only) on or before OCTOBER 10, 2023. 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 “2023 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.


banned books 2022 flyer

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

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. Essays suspected of having been created wholly or partially with generative artificial intelligence output tools, such as ChatGPT, will be disqualified.