The End for ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ in Schools?, Elder Law Attorney, Woodstock, GA


A controversial decision by author Harper Lee’s estate has many people wondering if ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ will continue to be assigned reading in school.

Reading Harper Lee’s anti-segregation novel To Kill a Mockingbird has become something of an American rite of passage. It is one of the most commonly assigned books in schools. Many people can probably recall the version of the book that a teacher passed to them.

As of April 25 that version will no longer be available, as the Tampa Bay Times reports in “Harper Lee’s estate wants readers to pay more for ‘Mockingbird’.”

Lee’s estate has informed the publisher of the paperback edition of the novel that it will no longer have license to print the book. Other, more expensive versions of the book will still be available.

This news comes shortly after a judge controversially agreed to seal Lee’s will from the public so the public does not know who the author’s heirs are and who is behind the decision to put an end to the paperback version of the book.

Lee’s estate is not necessarily in the wrong.

It does have a duty to properly manage the author’s assets for any heirs or beneficiaries. Selling To Kill a Mockingbird for a few dollars more could potentially lead to more money for those heirs or beneficiaries.

However, this decision could also backfire.

Many states have cut school funding in recent years and many schools in other states are feeling a pinch as well. Those schools might assign less expensive books instead of Lee’s work.

Reference: Tampa Bay Times (March 12, 2016) “Harper Lee’s estate wants readers to pay more for ‘Mockingbird’.”

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