Conable Scholarship recipient Aubrey Madler will be blogging her thoughts about the ALA Annual Conference throughout the week. This is the third installment.
Of everything I saw and heard on Saturday, what still sticks with me the following morning is the experience listening to Nancy Pearl’s interview with Mary McDonagh Murphy. This event was in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Harper Lee’s (Nell), “To Kill a Mockingbird and the book and documentary Mary created in its honor. There was not a dry eye in the auditorium as reflections from Oprah Winfrey, Rosanne Cash, and Tom Brockaw were projected on the screens. I heard them describe reading this novel as young adults, then again at later phases in life, they got deeper and deeper into the novel’s experience. I couldn’t help thinking over and over again, what we would miss if we did not have the freedom to create such works, publish them, and experience their personal meaning generation after generation.
Similar thoughts were later reiterated during my conversations with fellow right-to-read advocates when we identified that reading a novel as a youth is a completely different experience than reading the same novel as an adult. Children and adolescents will absorb from the story what they are able to at that phase in their life, which makes these novels so appealing to all ages. I compare it to watching animated films that are marketed toward children, yet adults can appreciate the deeper intricacies laced throughout the story that their children do not recognize.
Do I read banned books? Absolutely, and “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a favorite. In fact-I think I’ll read it again.