Wednesday, February 14, 2018

School Reading Lists

I've just found out that some schools in the USA have decided to pull 'To Kill A Mockingbird' by Harper Lee from their set reading list.

This is a disgrace.

Okay, when I tried to read it in high school, I found it wasn't the type of book I wanted to get into - but that's me; as a student. However, the rest of the class were right into it! And when they found out I didn't like it, I was booed and hissed at by them. The teacher had to calm them down and ask me why. I said that I couldn't get past the part where house burned down and Boo had put a blanket around the kids while they watched the flames; and yet they didn't know it was him. I thought that part was really touching, and lovely. After that part, I found the author lost me completely... so I put the book down. 

I also found it incredibly racist and the language was really loose. 

If you consider the other authors I was reading, you'd understand why. At the same time as reading 'To Kill A Mockingbird' I had become a big reader of Stephen King; who is such a tight writer, I found it amazingly difficult to read anything else with looser writing or prose. 

Despite how racist this book is, I don't think it should be taken from the reading lists of the USA, simply because it's written about a time in its history that has and did exist. 
People of colour were judged before they were spoken to. Towns were segregated. A lot of places did not serve African American people - and they were not called by that name either. They were ordered to sit at the back of buses and were not allowed into universities and had to have their own schools as well. This included being excluded from voting for the longest time as well as being slaves to the richer white people.
So, why is it that 'To Kill A Mockingbird' is being excluded from the reading lists of the US schools? It's because it's got offensive language in its pages. 

I've got something to say about this. When those children get out into the world, after being sheltered and protected by the education system and their parents for so long, and they head off to college/university, they will find out in the most difficult way that the world is not kind. The real world is filled with sadness, hatred, racism and bullying of all kinds.

And if we don't teach our children from a young age about all of this through the books written in the 1940's onwards by the brilliant writers of those times, how in the hell are they going to learn about it? Most certainly not from their helicopter parents who aren't going to teach them anything. 

Let your children read the books they're not permitted to read in schools today, people, otherwise your children will grow up not knowing anything useful about the world around them, except SnapChat, Facebook and YouTube.

Until my next post, happy reading ... anything your children want.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Yes, various books, like 'To Kill A Mockingbird' for example, are pulled from schools, but not all schools pull/ban the same books. I am sure that not every school across the nation has pulled 'To Kill A Mockingbird', I'd find that difficult to believe. Books are usually pulled within a certain school district across the board.

    Mark Twain's novel, 'Huckleberry Finn', is also a book that is frequently pulled from schools for using the "N" word to describe African Americans. I am personally offended by the "N" word as it is derogatory term. HOWEVER, I would never want 'Huckleberry Finn' banned and/or censored in anyway... I think people miss the point that Twain was writing/using historically accurate words people used during the time frame in which he wrote 'Huckleberry Finn'. Twain's writing should be preserved the way in which he wrote it. It gives readers a fuller, richer experience.

    I've read both 'To Kill A Mockingbird' and 'Huckleberry Finn' and felt that both books point out racism and racist behavior. Although, there are those that would argue the contrary with Twain's novel. 'To Kill A Mockingbird' is one of my favorite novels ever written and I am long overdue to read it again. Anyway, both books make you think about important topics.

    As a side note, I went to a public high school in the 1980s here in the USA. I never knew banning books was a thing because my high school had students reading a wide variety of books that have often been banned over the years for various reasons. It's always strange for me to hear/read about books being banned/challenged in anyway as the books that are usually being banned/challenged have important messages to impart to readers. These novels are great segways to open discussions on relevant and meaningful issues.

    Yes, various forms of racism have existed in the US, which is unfortunate, but this isn't the time to get into that I suppose... All I can add is that our current US President, Donald Trump, is not my favorite person at the moment. He has made all kinds of racist, xenophobic, and sexist comments, which isn't a good thing (to put it mildly). It's embarrassing to have him in office. But we're stuck with President Trump for another 3 years and I am hoping he isn't re-elected for a 2nd term.