It has been announced that two exceptional volumes from classic literature will be republished in February of 2011; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Both books are already available free as a part of Project Gutenberg, so you might ask why they are being reprinted. The publisher, New South Books, is re-releasing the books in order to make them more “classroom friendly.”
By that they mean they are removing racially or sexually discriminatory words from the novels to be replaced with less offensive words. The editor of the novel is altering a classic piece of literature they hold the rights to publish in order to make it more sell-able to schools and libraries.
…teachers told him that they couldn’t use the original editions of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer because teachers said, “we can’t do it anymore. In the new classroom, it’s really not acceptable.” According to Publisher’s Weekly, “Gribben became determined to offer an alternative for grade school classrooms.”
I am all for making reading accessible and fun to people of all ages, but censorship is never the answer. Most classic literature is rife with sexism, racism, and generally discriminatory behaviour. If a novel isn’t acceptable for grade-schoolers to read any more, then maybe you should bump the book up to a higher reading level. What do people think? Should we take a black marker to To Kill a Mockingbird next?