As my grade ten class closed their copies of To Kill a Mockingbird, one of my students shot up her hand and asked the perennial question: “So, why do we read this book?” It’s a question I get asked every year, but this time I was ready for it. Sort of.
My grade ten students are delightful. They’re inquisitive. They’re readers. They love to debate. A quick poll told me that they all enjoyed the book – more or less. They thought it was still relevant – more or less. They’ll remember Scout and Atticus – maybe not forever, but still… Despite all that, they still wanted to know why we were reading something so, well, old.
In her Salon article “What makes a book a classic,” Laura Miller decides that not only is the question almost impossible to answer, it’s also “mostly pointless.” Nevertheless, my students and…
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