CONTENT ADVISORY FOR:
Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird
Adapted by Christopher Sergel
This is my answer to the frequent question about whether To Kill a Mockingbird is appropriate for an eight-year old. Our overwhelming answer is yes. HOWEVER, you will want to have a lot of discussions about the themes both before and after the show.
In the play, Tom is accused of raping a white woman. The night before his trial, Atticus goes to the jail to protect him from the lynch mob that wants to take matters into their own hands. These can be scary concepts for children if they are not prepared for what they are seeing.
The “N word” is definitely used. But it is used in the larger context of a story whose sole purpose is to show how damaging prejudice can be. This is far different than a play in which swear words are routinely used as adverbs. For the play to deal with this story, the ugliness of it must be shown as truthfully as the beauty.
If your child is mature enough to have the attention to watch a full-length play, we strongly encourage you to let him or her attend. This is the perfect age to start learning about important issues, and there is no more important issue than equality and the decent treatment of all fellow human beings.
Lettie Van Hemert