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Arts & Culture

To Kill A Mockingbird Named America’s Favorite Book

Viewers of PBS’ The Great American Read voted Harper Lee’s novel their favorite fiction book of all time


After a summer of voting, and a limited TV series, The Great American read announced the results of the voting to pick America's #1 best-loved novel… And the winner is: Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird.

First published in 1960, To Kill A Mockingbird tells the coming of age story of six-year-old Jean Louise Finch (“Scout”) during the Great Depression. The story focuses on life in the southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, and deals primary with the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man who has been accused of raping a young white woman. Scout’s father, Lawyer Atticus Finch, defends Robinson, and through their journey, issues of racial injustice, loss of innocence, and compassion are explored.

Former First Lady of Houston, Andrea White (author of Surviving Antarctica) who appeared on Houston Public Media’s companion show Cover To Cover, reacted to the choice of Mockingbird by saying, “I remembered the big issues the book tackled, racism and lack of kindness, from my earlier readings, but I had forgotten the smaller incidents that made this book a delightful read at any age. Good choice…”

Savannah Dorsett, Senior Library Services Specialist, and also a guest on Cover To Cover adds, “…it's such a quintessentially American book—reflecting the best and worst of us. It's a book that covers difficult topics including racism, classism, inequality in our criminal justice system and sexual assault that many are not comfortable talking about but these are conversations we need to have now more than ever. Overall, it's sadly still extremely relevant today which makes it very frustrating that Mockingbird is frequently challenged in schools due to language and content. Because it's also a hopeful book about love, empathy and the power of human connection and how can something like that ever be bad or not worth sharing with others?”

The four other books that rounded out the top five vote get-ers were:
#2 Outlander (Series)
#3 Harry Potter (Series)
#4 Pride and Prejudice
#5 Lord of the Rings

For a complete list of the rankings of all 100 nominated books – visit Here

To watch all six episodes of Houston Public Media’s companion series, Cover To Cover – Click Here



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Ernie Manouse

Ernie Manouse

Executive Producer & Host, Town Square

Ernie Manouse, a native of Binghamton, NY and a graduate of Loyola University Chicago, launched his broadcasting career with NBC News before working at Chicago radio station WLS-AM. In 1996, Ernie joined HoustonPBS (now Houston Public Media), and as an anchor and producer, he has garnered eleven Emmy Awards, five...

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