The Big Read in 2010 (Video)

The idea of removing the n-word from Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn–by translating this detested racial slur as “slave” instead–occurred to me after I completed a tour of libraries in Alabama and Georgia to promote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for the NEA Big Read program. Teachers approached me in every town and said that they could not (or would not) teach…

The Price of Fighting Censorship: Mark Twain Editions Today

Two of Mark Twain’s most famous literary works are gradually being dropped from the reading lists of many public schools owing to their racially derogatory language. Dr. Alan Gribben eventually realized that this unfortunate situation has merely resulted from a single banned word. No school boards, curriculum directors, or superintendents object to Twain’s harsh portrayals of slavery, only to the now-detested racial slur used…

“Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Go Back to School” (article) and “Bring Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn into the 21st Century” (video)

This article “Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Go Back to School “originally appeared in Independent Publisher  (May 2011).  A related video, “Bring Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn into the 21st Century” is also included. During the past year I worked on an experimental edition of Mark Twain’s two most famous novels to make them teachable again…

Trouble on the Raft: Defending an “Other” Huck Finn

 This editorial originally appeared in Publishers Weekly (27 February 2011) The idea of preparing an alternative edition of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn occurred to me last year during a lecture tour designed by librarians to remind younger readers that engrossing literature predated the Harry Potter series. What shocked me was the number of…