School librarians: Dump ‘Mockingbird,’ ‘Gatsby’ …
— Summer Reading Survey
School librarians want to drop To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby and Huckleberry Finn from summer reading lists, according to a survey by School Library Journal and National Council of Teachers of English, writes Chris Queen on PJ Media.
Number one on the list is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, apparently because Atticus Finch is a “white savior.”
The book also topped another list, PBS’ 2014 survey of Americans’ best-loved novels, writes Queen. “Twelve of the books that librarians have daggers out for made that list.”
Other classics on the list include the works of Shakespeare, Jane Eyre, Little House on the Prairie (Indians), Catcher in the Rye and the once politically correct Island of the Blue Dolphins.
The librarians recommended modern, “diverse” books, writes Queen.
Titles like The Hate U Give, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, and Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime (no, seriously) make the list of suggested replacements for the classics. It’s a predictably woke list. One teacher mentioned how she thinks kids can learn the same lessons from more modern, less time-tested books. “Instead of 1984, she suggests Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher, which follows a young girl and her undocumented immigrant family in a not-so-distant future America where citizens are tracked with a chip. The plot is Orwellian and ‘big brother,’ she says, ‘but also talks about immigration instead in the future, so it’s more fun.’”
“More fun” than 1984 is a low bar.
Many of the new books are written for young adults. They’re easier to read, more immediately relatable. But if you drop Dickens, you don’t get to read Dickens.
Librarians and teachers are divided on whether summer reading should be fun or fit the curriculum, writes Lauren J. Young in School Library Journal.
Some teachers let students choose what to read, while honors and AP teachers often assign required reading, Young writes.