Levar Burton calls book bans at schools ’embarrassing’

Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for PEN America

Written word can be a doorway into an incalculable number of stories and adventures and, as of late, some across the United States have tried to put a lock and key on this opening to discovery. LeVar Burton is not a fan and says such book bans are embarrassing.

“Bulls-. I’ll be absolutely candid and honest, it’s embarrassing that we are banning books in this country, in this culture, in this day and age. We have this aversion in this country to knowing about our past. And anything that is unpleasant, we don’t want to deal with. This is not going away. Nothing goes away, especially if you ignore it. So read the books they’re banning. That’s where the good stuff is. If they don’t want you to read it, there’s a reason why.”

Burton made the comments about the recent wave of school boards and library officials removing books like Maus from the shelves during an appearance on The View posted today to promote Butterfly in the Sky, a documentary about his Reading Rainbow series. Apart from speaking about the political moment, Burton also said while many may dismiss television, it can be a great medium for educating the youth of today, and a child can grasp any topic successfully if you present it to them properly.

“Whatever content you want to teach, if you put it on engaging devices and add some gaming mechanics and things that are familiar to them, you can teach kids anything you want. You just have to make it in the right delivery system.”

Butterfly in the Sky premieres this evening at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.