The Crosby Chronicles: Observing Banned Books Week

Since this week is Banned Books Week, and since one of my colleagues over at Glendale High School is fighting for Truman Capote’s "In Cold Blood" to be approved as a book to teach to advanced 11th grade English students, I thought I’d share with you my experience with banned books.

When looking back on the books I’ve taught over the years, I realize that most of them have been banned in some part of the United States at some time.  Here are the “corrupted” books I’ve exposed young children to:  Erich Maria Remarque’s "All Quiet on the Western Front," Richard Wright’s "Black Boy," John Steinbeck’s "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Of Mice and Men," Charles Dickens’s "Oliver Twist," Ray Bradbury’s "Fahrenheit 451," Nathaniel Hawthorne’s "The Scarlet Letter," Harper Lee’s "To Kill a Mockingbird," and, of course that book of dubious merit, Mark Twain’s "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

If by teaching these books to young people, my students have come away knowing a little bit more about human nature, how some people’s intolerance can negatively impact society, then I plead guilty to influencing them. And isn’t that the lesson behind Banned Books Week?

Brian Crosby is a teacher at Hoover High School and the author of Smart Kids, Bad Schools and The $100,000 Teacher.  He can be reached at




Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World