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Fullerton College Library

Banned Books 2023 @ Fullerton College

A library guide of resources celebrating the 2023 Banned Books Week and our freedom to read.

Essay Contest Information

2023 Banned Books Essay Contest Info 

Thank you for your interest in Fullerton College's Annual Banned Books Essay Scholarship!


Prizes: Three winners (first, second and third place) will be announced at the end of October. The prizes are as follows:

$200 = 1st

$100 = 2nd

$50 = 3rd

Due:: OCTOBER 10, 2023, 11:59 p.m 

All currently enrolled Fullerton College students are eligible to participate. Learn more by reading below! 


Choose+Read, Write+Support, Proofread+Submit:

  • Choose and read any banned or challenged book. A banned book can be defined as, “any book that has been banned, censored, challenged or restricted.” The chosen book can be ANY book, as long as it’s “banned” or in danger of being banned, and there are published news, stories, and / or other information about it that can help your research. 

  • Write a 500-1,000-word essay answering only one of the four essay prompts below using and supporting ideas from the banned book of your choosing.  Support  your ideas further by including one (or more) sources that highlight your chosen book’s controversy. This could be an online news article, editorial, reference source, database source, magazine, or other source. Be sure to read the "Researching Banned Books" section to help you. Also, a librarian can always assist you with this part if you need it.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. In what way(s) did reading a controversial book personally liberate you? Explain and support your reasoning
  4. 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.

  • Proofread! 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.)

The rubric used to judge the essays is available further down the page for your convenience. 

  • Submit your essay (.docx or .doc format only) on or before OCTOBER 10, 2023, 11:59 p.m.

Include your first name, last name and Banner ID number on the essay.

  • Online: using the submission form on the "Ready to Submit?" upload pane on the left, or on the library website.  
  • E-mail: Email your submissions to with the subject line “2022 Essay Contest Submission”

One essay submission per student. Previously submitted essays from past contests are not eligible. No hand-delivered paper submissions, please. Submissions sent after the posted date and time will not be considered.


For questions or concerns, contact Student Programming Librarian, Val Macias, at

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

The Banned Books Essay Contest is supported through a generous grant from the Fullerton College Friends of the Library

Academic Honesty Statement: Fullerton College’s policy on plagiarism fully applies (NOCCCD BP 5500 1.3). 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.




Does the entire essay focus well on their chosen prompt?

No attempt to focus on any prompt. There appears to be a thesis, but the paper appears to be a collection of facts and information. May also read mostly like a plot summary The essay thesis may not be very clear; it may be hampered by uneven details. The essay is largely focused on the central argument of their chosen prompt, but the effects of the reasons, details and evidence may not be as compelling because the thesis statement may be broad. A tight and compelling central idea in which all the reasons, details, and evidence clearly support the central thesis of the prompt. 


Does the essay connect the book content and its controversy in a personal or relatable way?

No attempt made to personalize the essay or make it relatable in any way. Little attempt to personalize essay, may read as a series of general and broad statements about the book or on book bans. Some attempt to personalize essay, could have benefited from more clarity in one or more places. A solid effort to personalize the essay in meaningful and relevant ways. May have examples from their lived experience(s), culture, personal observations, are offered. A thorough effort to personalize the essay in meaningful and relevant ways is seen throughout. Creative, evocative, and powerful examples from their own lived experience, culture, identity and personal observation are masterfully utilized.  


Are the supporting details logically consistent? Does the evidence provided support this well? Are the sources credible?

No attempt to support the central idea in the essay. There may be a serious lack of supporting details / evidence to strengthen the argument of the essay. Little evidence of research, even from the book itself. The supporting details do a fair job to support the thesis, but they may appear to point to the obvious or the predictable. Used only the book as a source. The supporting details do a great job overall to support the thesis, but one of the key points may be underdeveloped.  Used one or more additional sources in addition to the book.  Details strongly support the central thesis of the essay. The evidence strengthens the argument of the essay. A variety of credible sources are used to support.


Are the paragraphs clearly structured and do they flow well? (Intro, body, conclusion, transitions, etc.)?

No clear attempt at organization. There doesn’t appear to be a cohesive paragraph structure. The essay may appear to be one long paragraph. Some key paragraph structures, like the concluding paragraph, may be missing. The essay may have a structure, but some paragraphs may appear excessively long and/or underdeveloped. Some paragraphs may not have a clear purpose and/or transitions. The essay has a clear structure, but there may be one area that could have been more developed. (e.g. the concluding paragraph reads like it was hastily put together, etc.) Clear organization and purpose; clear transitions and signal words may be apparent to make the essay flow well.


Are the paragraphs largely free of errors related to grammar, syntax, punctuation, and spelling?

No command of language mechanics. The essay appears to be neglectfully done, or the writer has poor command of language mechanics, as there are many errors throughout. May be difficult to read as a result. Adequate command of grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax; the paper appears as if to be of first draft quality, and could have been improved with solid proofreading. Overall good command of grammar, spelling punctuation and syntax. Some errors found, but do not seriously distract the reading experience. Excellent command of grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax. Few to no “typo” errors found.


Is the essay largely free of formatting errors (fonts, margins, line spacing, etc.) and is the MLA ** format utilized well?

No evidence of formatting is apparent. There appears to be some formatting, but serious neglect with respect to MLA ** apparent; including missing a Works Cited page. Good format. Adequate use of MLA ** format. Some major errors are apparent, such as margins, or missing citations on Works Cited page. Good use of format overall, and a solid Works Cited page with some minor apparent difficulties with MLA ** Excellent paper format and use of MLA ** format, which include consistent citations and a clear Works Cited page.

 ** MLA is the preferred documentation style. Other documentation formats, such as APA, Turabian, Chicago, etc. are acceptable provided that the writer is correct and consistent with the requirements of their chosen documentation style.