Check out the June winning entry in the grade 6-8 level.
San Gabriel, CA
Dear Garvey School Board of Education,
Samuel Clemens once stated, I have no color prejudices All I care to know is that a man is a human being, and that is enough for me; he can't be any worse." Clemens — or better known as Mark Twain — wrote that what his honest eyes perceived, yet his book called The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, has been banned in certain libraries because of racism. As a student, I've read this book numerous times, and never did I see any inappropriate language or dialect. What I saw in this book was pure literature, perception, and the time from when it was written.
In many ways, I strongly believe that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer should be kept on the bookshelves of our school's library. The works and writing of Clemens have been purely what influenced him in life as a child and as an adult. The dialect and language is set in the 19th century, therefore the words used are different from our present time slang. Why can't we embrace a time period in history, instead of seeing it as inappropriate."
In addition, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a classic book, filled with great literature. Its imagery and dialect are so real that the reader can see, feel, and ultimately understand the characters' life and troubles. My fellow students can not only have a feel for good writing, but understand the difference of life set in the 19th century to the present day society.
Some parents and adults want The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to be banned from the school's library because they believe it contains contents of racism. I see their point. However, Clemens never saw prejudices in a man's color. Therefore he never intended to include racism, but a blend of what Clemens saw growing up in Missouri in 1876. The words and slang the characters used are simply the language people used in the 19th century, just like how we use slang today. Please take that into consideration before banning The Adventures of Tom Sawyer from our school's library.