"When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow."
So begins "To Kill a Mockingbird," a novel by Harper Lee published on this date by J.B. Lippincott Co. Simply put, one of the most admired works in all American literature. The story of race and justice in a small Southern town in 1936, its themes are so universal and its story and characters so accessible that it resonates with readers young and old. At the same time, it has been banned or challenged innumerable times by schools and libraries (for reasons ranging from racial slurs to profanity to references to rape). Unnerved by the enormous attention after the book's publication (along with its winning a Pulitzer Prize and adaptation into a celebrated movie), Lee turned toward a quiet, guarded life in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. To date it is the only book she has ever published.
* More about Harper Lee: @
* Original New York Times review: @
* Listen to actress Sissy Spacek reading the opening pages: @
* Book quiz: @
* Book covers through the years and from around the world: @
* Story of a Virginia county's banning of the book; click on letter to read Lee's response: @