Believe it or not, more than fifty years after it was first published and the era that ushered in the Civil Rights Movement, To Kill A Mockingbird is still among the top ten books banned or censored in libraries.
People, mostly parents, have apparently asked for the book to be removed because it’s full of racism and bad language. Similar requests have been made about Mark Twain’s great Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
If we continue to ban material that “might” be deemed offensive to “anyone” then it won’t be long before we raise a generation that is completely ignorant.
I find it fascinating that the book banners are, generally speaking, from the same ilk as the folk constantly screaming about their freedom of speech or their right to bear arms. There is no reason to ban any book. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. If you don’t want your children reading it for any reason, don’t let them read it. Also? Good luck with that. Make sure you tell them exactly which books you don’t want them to read, that’s always a good tactic.
Another thought on the racism in To Kill A Mockingbird: we put dozens of “classic” books in front of children every day that describe the terrible conditions of women in the past and no one talks about banning them. Is there a difference between literature that exposes racial hatred versus misogyny?
Something to think about.
Each year, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the top ten most frequently challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools.
According to ALA.org, “a challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. The number of challenges reflects only incidents reported. We estimate that for every reported challenge, four or five remain unreported. Therefore, we do not claim comprehensiveness in recording challenges.”
Here are the top ten books that made the list of most challenged books from 2000-2011:
See also: 25 Must-Read Books For Kids
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You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who.