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‘Reading Rainbow’ host LeVar Burton urges kids to read banned books

On Tuesday, former host of Reading Rainbow LeVar Burton appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah to encourage children to read books that their schools are banning from their libraries.

In his segment, Burton read a book about Rosa Parks, noting that it is being banned because the “reading about segregation is divisive.” 

“I am so excited to read with you today,” he started out during his appearance. “Our first selection is called Rosa, and it’s the story of Rosa Parks.” Just before Burton could begin explaining the book by Nikki Giovanni, the television feed was cut by a disclaimer that read, “Please Stand By. Content Violation.”

Burton then continued once he returned to the screen, “As it turns out, that book is banned because reading about segregation is divisive.” 

He went on, “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.”

Burton begins to tell the story of the second book, And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. The book is about two male penguins who adopt a baby penguin, but the feed cut once again when Burton tried to explain the story.

“Well, I’m told that book is also banned because of sexual perversion, which is weird because there’s no sex in the book at all,” Burton said.

Burton, who appeared on Star Trek, finally suggests that people “can’t possibly have a problem with” Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. But Burton was wrong as the children’s book was one of a few publications that were requested to be removed from the Toronto Public Library in 2014 for encouraging violence against fathers.

“What? Disrespectful to parents?” Burton said. “You gotta be kidding me!” The segment turned more serious when Burton issued a service announcement to children and students. “Read the books they don’t want you to, that’s where the good stuff is,” he said as a police siren went off in the background. His final message before running away: “Read banned books!” 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: DETROIT NEWS

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