A Mississippi school district pulled To Kill A Mockingbird from its 8th grade reading list because it received complaints that the book "makes people uncomfortable," according to the vice president of the Biloxi School Board, Kenny Holloway.
Holloway added that the American classic was still in the library, "But they're going to use another book in the 8th grade course." To Kill A Mockingbird is listed as a core text for 8th grade English Language Arts by the Common Core state standards. Contesting and banning this book isn't new. According to the American Library Association, the novel ranks number 21 in the most banned or challenged books in the last decade.
Mashable shared a few schools which have banned the book recently. Less than a year ago, To Kill a Mockingbird was removed from a school district in Virginia due to a similar complaint. The book was banned from a school in Ontario in 2009. In 2012, a Texas school gave out an alternate assignment after a complaint.
Published in 1960, the Pulitzer Prize-winning, Southern gothic novel addresses the subjects of rape and racial inequality in the small town of Monroeville, AL. Two years after it was published, it was adapted into an Oscar-winning film. The school's website shares that the students were going to be learning about how compassion and empathy are not dependent on race or education through reading To Kill A Mockingbird, the Sun Herald newspaper reports.
Once the news of the book's removal hit Twitter, people had a lot to say. For many, a lasting impression was created when they first read the novel in school. One user brought up the point that "If To Kill A Mockingbird makes you uncomfortable you should probably be reading To Kill A Mockingbird." Another brought up a profound and apt quote from the author Harper Lee herself, "The book to read is not the one that thinks for you, but the one that makes you think. "
Many consider the book to be a compassionate and deeply moving work of literature. Since it's publication, 18 million copies are in print in 10 languages. It speaks to the roots of human behaviour in an era we can still learn so much from. One of the school's 8th grade teachers sang the many praises of the book on the school's website calling it deeply moving, adding "Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature."
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