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Saturday, January 28, 2023
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Leftist Librarians Hope to Trash Summer Reading Classics

(Tony Sifert, Headline USA) In January, the School Library Journal and the National Council of Teachers of English issued a survey to “educators” asking which classic texts they would remove from summer reading lists.

“For decades, teachers have been handing out assigned reading, mostly comprised of old ‘classics,’ which can lack appeal and relevance for today’s young readers,” SLJ staff wrote in promoting the survey’s launch.

The results are in, and they are what you would expect from an organization that last year asked former First Lady Michelle Obama to “share inspiration and insights with literacy educators from across the United States” as a keynote speaker.

Gone are Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” (recommended for cancellation by 20% of participants), George Orwell’s “1984,” and Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” — among many others — and perhaps most absurdly, “Shakespeare’s works.”

Recommended replacements include well-known and timeless texts like Trever Noah’s “Born a Crime” and the Black Lives Matter-inspired Angie Thomas novel, “The Hate U Give.”

“A lot of my students do not care for reading, and they’ll say all these books are boring,” one English teacher told the SLJ. “It drives me crazy to see these summer reading lists that keep having books that don’t work or appeal at all to students.”

“Students cannot relate to some [older books] anymore,” the so-called educator continued. “I understand that classics should be appreciated, but I think it’s time to allow books published from the 2000s to be given a fair shake.”

The movement falls nicely in line, of course, with a push from the National Council of Teachers of English and its want to “decenter” reading and writing. Now, instead of studying literature and learning to write essays, those woke English classes will focus on “digital media and popular culture.”

One voice of reason, the head of the English Department at Heritage Christian School in Indiana, said that she preferred to assign books of “verified quality” that allowed students to “recognize what’s common across humanity, time, and cultures.”

“Most contemporary things haven’t had the chance to be tested by time, and so I would want to screen them,” Kimberly Davis said.

The full list of cancelled texts includes: To Kill a Mockingbird, Shakespeare’s Works, The Great Gatsby, Hatchet, The Catcher in the Rye, The Outsiders, Lord of the Flies, The Grapes of Wrath, Huckleberry Finn, The Little House on the Prairie, Tom Sawyer, Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Of Mice and Men, Anthem, and 1984.

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