Besides promoting Adventure a second core goal of The Mark Twain Trail will be to Educate visitors to The Mark Twain Trail Adventure + Education Visitor Centers about the life’s work of Mark Twain. Mark Twain wrote 28 books plus a collection of short stories including two of the best known books in American history: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
From the early days after The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) were first published there has been much controversy about the adult nature of these two Mark Twain books that has only been highlighted in recent years as America continues to deal with the issues of race in the country. The Mark Twain Trail has as one of its main goals in the area of Education to help people understand that Mark Twain was way ahead of his time in confronting head on the issues of race and how it was shaping the country in some good, but often bad ways in the decades after the US Civil War.
In the last couple of decades in America some K-12 school systems have removed Mark Twain books, including the ones on Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, from their teaching curriculums which is something The Mark Twain Trail hopes to reverse by being an advocate for the the way that Mark Twain attempted to deal with the issues of race head-on in both books. The Mark Twain Trail plans to have an individual point-of-contact that will do outreach to American K-12 school systems to provide them with copies of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn along with book lesson plans that teachers can use in the classroom. Realizing that not every American K-12 school system and many individual schools will not want to use these two books in their classrooms, The Mark Twain Trail plans to provide to schools six alternative Mark Twain books along with lessons plans that teachers can use in the classroom in teaching on Mark Twain and American Literature.
The first two proposed books as alternatives for K-12 American schools to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for elementary up to junior high school kids will be The Prince and the Pauper (1881) and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889).
The second group of four proposed books for K-12 American schools with a focus on junior high and high school kids as alternatives to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn would be four of Mark Twain’s great travel books to get students interested in the greater world out there beyond their local towns, regions, and even America itself: Innocents Abroad (1869), Roughing It (1872), Life on the Mississippi (1883), and Following the Equator (1897)
The Mark Twain Trail hopes to work with as many K-12 school systems, individual schools, and teachers to introduce the writings of Mark Twain into their classrooms by providing copies of books for all the students and lesson plans for the teachers. The Mark Twain Trail Education staff will be continuously reaching out to American schools to gauge their interest in the Trail providing books and lesson plans which we hope develops into schools reaching out to us as we work together to advance the teaching of Mark Twain to American kids and even kids worldwide.
One of Mark Twain’s most famous quotes was about Education, and it is our hope here at The Mark Twain Trail to use Schooling to teach American kids a little something about about Education and Mark Twain!