In my sophomore English class we read a wide variety of material, both fiction and non-fiction. The first novel we read each year is Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. I always have to lay a little groundwork before reading and do some preparation. The story is classic and timeless and, in the end, quite positive. The whole theme of the novel is to not judge someone before you know all the facts. As Atticus says, you have to put yourself in their skin and walk around in it. Atticus was all about getting Tom Robinson judged fairly. I also love all the symbolism in the novel and love to see the "lightbulbs" go off when the kids start thinking about that snowman as more than just a snowman, or the rabid dog, the dog with a "disease" as more than just a mad dog.
By the end of the novel, the kids have gotten so far past Mr. Ewell's hate and anger and profane name-calling that they "get" the message Atticus is selling and end up loving the novel.
Below is the list of books on the list most requested to be banned from school libraries. This just blows my mind. This list almost always includes all the Harry Potter books and usually Of Mice and Men. How many of them have YOU read?!
Top 10 requests
American Library Association officials say they know of 420 requests to remove books from schools and libraries in 2007. Here are the top 10, along with the reasons cited.
Knowing my students, just looking at this list, they'd make a beeline for the library just to get their hands on one of these! Nothing makes a teenager want to do something more than telling them they can't or that it is bad for them!
1. "And Tango Makes Three" by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. Reasons: anti-ethnic, sexism, homosexuality, anti-family, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group.
2. "The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier. Reasons: sexually explicit, offensive language, violence.
3. "Olive's Ocean" by Kevin Henkes. Reasons: sexually explicit, offensive language.
4. "The Golden Compass" by Philip Pullman. Reasons: religious viewpoint.
5. "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain. Reasons: racism.
6. "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker. Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language.
7. "TTYL" by Lauren Myracle. Reasons: sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuitable for age group.
8. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou. Reasons: sexually explicit.
9. "It's Perfectly Normal" by Robie Harris. Reasons: sex education, sexually explicit.
10. "The Perks of Being A Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky. Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuitable for age group.