Sunday, December 13, 2009
The Sunday Salon
This is a new type of post for me that is common among other book blogger communities where they post thoughts about their reading and other book-related things in general on a Sunday and call it the Sunday Salon. So here it goes...warning, book banning rant ahead.
I was reading the paper yesterday and came across this:
And I became very angry. There's nothing that bugs me more than an uptight parent trying to control what other people's children read. There was a similar story in my area last year around Christmas where a school board removed copies of The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman from it's school libraries purely because one parent had issues with some of the implied anti-Christianity themes (and the parent hadn't even read the book).
It got me thinking. Granted I'm not a parent yet, but I have teenage nephews that I've been giving books to since they were 9, and classrooms full of kids I walk into every day where I recommend books they should read. I know what books are and aren't appropriate for the kiddies and the teenagers. Every kid is different and no one knows that better than the parents, if you know there's certain material in a book (because you've seen it for yourself, not just because someone's told you so) that you know your kid can't handle, then take the necessary steps to direct your kid away from said book. Although, I've always been of the opinion that you shouldn't restrict kids from reading anything. If it's marketed as a children's book or a young adult book, and the kid falls into that age range, it's fair play. The important thing is for parents to be involved in what their children read, ask them what the book's about, and let them know that if they read about something they're not sure of to come to the parents and ask about it. My parents never restricted my reading when I was a kid, if I could physically read the words, it was mine to devour. But I also knew that if I had issues with anything I read, that I could come to them and talk about it.
The lady in the article was angry because her 12-year-old son got in trouble for using foul language, then he takes a book out from the library and sees the same language in it. Now the mother wants it revoked from the school library. Hello? The protagonist of the book is a 12-year-old boy, meaning it's a children's book geared towards the intermediate grades (12-13 years old). 12 year old boys swear, it's a fact of life. The world is not going to fall apart if your child reads a book with the word "boobs" in it. If you don't want your kid to swear, teach him that it's not appropriate to use that language at home or school. Just because a kid reads something in a book doesn't necessarily mean he's going to emulate that, and it's a parent's job to teach kids the difference between fantasy and reality. What happens in books, video games, movies, and television are all fun and games but it doesn't mean you go out and try to raise the dead because you saw it in a Simpsons episode.
I'm also of the opinion that no one can control what anyone's child reads other than your own. If you have an issue with Harry Potter or whatever other book, no one's holding a gun to your head or your child's head forcing you to read it. Just because you have a problem with it doesn't mean you can tell me that my child or my students can't read it either.
Thus ends my rant ^^;