LeVar Burton: ‘Read The Books They Don’t Want You To’
Book bans have been an ongoing issue in public schools and former children’s TV host LeVar Burton is the latest to weigh in on the issue in an unconventional way.
Burton was tasked to read three books for a segment on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah all of which have been banned or challenged for different reasons. “I am so excited to read with you today,” the Reading Rainbow host begins. “Our first selection is called Rosa, and it’s the story of Rosa Parks.”
He then explains the banning behind Rosa: “As it turns out that book is banned because reading about segregation is divisive, but since almost any book with Black people these days is considered ‘divisive,’ here’s one that doesn’t have any people in it at all.”
The second book on the list is And Tango Makes Three, a picture book about two male penguins who adopt and raise a baby penguin.
“Both penguins are boys,” Burton says. “Well, I’m told that that book is also banned because of sexual perversion, which is weird because there’s no sex in the book at all.”
“Y’all: they adopted the baby!” he continues. “What do you guys want? A mommy and daddy penguin so the kids can make sure that the penguins are knocking boots?”
The last book selected is the Dr. Seuss classic Hop on Pop which was challenged in 2014 by a Toronto father who thought it would “encourage children to use violence against their fathers,” according to TIME. The challenge was revealed by the Toronto Public Library in a release of its annual review committee notes, per The Hollywood Reporter.
“You got to be kidding me! Alright, there are plenty of books to choose from, but you know what? No. Read the books they don’t want you to. That’s where the good stuff is,” Burton says following police sirens for effect.
“Oh s—. They’re coming. Read banned books!” he adds before disappearing off-screen.
Take a look at the segment below: