Thursday, April 2, 2009

Censorship isn't always a bad thing!

Censorship is generally considered a bad thing, but I learned something today that made me think otherwise.

Several girls in my sisters' fourth grade class are reading Twilight.

First of all, how did they get their hands on a TEEN book? Twilight is definitely PG-13. Bella wants to go farther with Edward than he is able to handle. Plus, the scary vampire-ness of the whole thing is too much for the average nine year old girl.

My library has the suggested grade level on all of their childrens' books. This is interpreted as a matter of reading ability, not maturity. For instance, Jacob Have I Loved is marked as an appropriate book for a third grader. Although the instance is a short one, the book speaks of when the narrator got her first period.

Third grade.

I remember my grandmother bringing a bag of old books for me one day when I was my sister's age. Among them was Are You there God? It's Me, Margaret. Grandma commented on how that would be a very good book for me to read.

My mom took it away. I'm glad she did. I read it later when I was thirteen.

If any parents are reading this, I'm urging you to become the uncool parent on this one. No matter what "reading level" the book is considered, you need to consider the maturity level of the book. It is great that kids are reading, but books could potentially be just as harmful to the brains of kids as TV has!

(As for me, I'm hoping that the size of the Twilight books will intimidate the fourth graders!)


Anonymous said...

I had a post on a really similar topic during banned books week. As parents, I think it's our responisibility to know what our child is reading and even read the books themselves so that we can a. Know whether it is appropriate for our child and B. if we allow them to read it, we can discuss the subject matter with them.

That being said, I'm all for parental controls, but not necessarily for STATE control. I think that parents should be able to control what their children read but I don't think that the STate or the government should. I don't think that governments should ban books, simply because of the subject matter, but I also don't think that students should be forced to read books, necessarily if parents have an objection to it. That being said, I'm really liberal in my reading habits and subject matter. Would I let a 9 year old read Sweet Valley High or Twilight or the Anne Rice books, probably not. But I would have no problem with them reading other things that could be controversial - Harry Potter in some circles. You get the picture.

When it comes down to it, I think that it's something that you have to consider the subject material and the age/maturity level of your reader.

Anonymous said...

I honestly agree. I have an 8 year old sister whom I try to "protect" from things she isn't ready for. Twilight is one of the books that I had to put my foot down about.

Great post!

Louise said...

I'm so sorry I haven't been around your blog for a long time. I haven't been blogging much myself, but I just wanted to drop by and say hi, wish you a good weekend and a nice Easter (if you celebrate that) and apologize for being scarce.

I am finishing my Master thesis and this takes up most of my time. Hopefully, by the end of May, I will be able to blog more and participate more around the blogosphere.

I am still reviewing books from time to time on my blog, but I am not really active.

I don't expect you to come running visiting and commenting, I just wanted to let you know that I am very much alive and I miss reading and commenting on your blog very much.

This is a personal message written to all the blogowner, whose delightful blogs I visit on a regular basis, but it has been copy/pasted. So if you find it on other blogger's blogs, that is why.

I look very much forward to be active again - and apologize once again for not being active the past month and not being able to be active for another month or two.


Amy said...

I agree with first commenter...parental control equals a big yes, state control equals a big NO. They have too much control over us as it is!

Ronnica said...

I's definitely a parents' issue, but a vital one!

Oh, and you can't count on the size of the book keeping them away, considering some of the HP books are equally long.