Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, died this week. While I am only an occasional reader of science fiction, preferring fantasy to possible reality, this is one of my favorite authors of the genre. I must say that it is a cherished moment when I am able to talk with a high school student about their required reading list and hear them complain about Fahrenheit 451. Usually the conversation goes something like this--"Why is a book called, Fahrenheit 451?" I answer, "That is the temperature at which books will burn." With this I am left to only assess the wonder on the student's face. Is it shock, awe, confusion, or disgust?
If you have an older reader, who is a rebel of sorts, why not introduce them to some of the best titles that have been banned and yes burned over the centuries. Right here in America, titles such as Adventures of Huck Finn, Blubber, Catcher in the Rye, As I lay Dying, the Bible and Beloved are on the top of most lists you will find. Bradbury can be found on these lists as well.
My seventh grade book club read Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury to kick off this past school year. The kids learned a lot about friendship, family and self by discussing Will, Jim, Charles and Mr. Dark. If you haven't given this book a try, read it with your older readers. You will never look at youth or a merry-go-round the same way again.
For a different look at Something Wicked this Way Comes, check out the authorized adaptation in a graphic novel format by Ray Bradbury and Ron Wimberly.