Middle School Readers Might Meet Mark Twain

Middle schoolers might meet Marc Twain via his famous adventure novels, maybe Tom Sawyer, probably not Huckleberry Finn. The latter is the second most banned book of all time, chiefly because its language is considered racially insensitive, but also because slavery is a major topic within the framework of the story. That’s a bit of history that many people, including administrators, want to forget ever happened.

Then again, perhaps middle schoolers might meet Twain via his early, harmless short tales like The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. Perhaps. But it's hard to believe any middle school readers would meet Mark Twain via his politically controversial works. As he matured, Mark Twain became more and more politically controversial. Before the end of his life, Twain, iconic as he was, had become too hot to handle for nearly all Americans, which obviously would include impressionable young folk usually governed by protective adults. Who wants their kids to hear moral values or American ideals challenged?

That is too bad forever, but especially inappropriate now. Because world youth have evolved into controversial figures in their own right. Isn't it young folks that are leading their elders in efforts to save our planet from environmental destruction? So why bother shielding modern youth from literature that is controversial?  If parents and guardians are uncomfortable with political controversy, they might do better shielding themselves from today’s youth rather than shuttering out the light of challenging ideas.

Knowing there are courageous parents, teachers, and administrators who are unafraid of change or of exposing youth to wide-ranging topics and stimulating discussions, I published Twain Illustrated: Three Stories by Mark Twain. So meet Twain exactly as he evolved: culturally and politically controversial, but still and as always, hilariously funny.

View and/or download a FREE PDF version of Twain Illustrated  here!

Big News! The Midwest Publishers Association (MIPA) has named Twain Illustrated finalist for Best Short Story Anthology of 2022!.