I’m not a fan of censorship. I believe it should be up to the people to decide what to read and what not to read, not left to corporations to filter to the people. I didn’t buy into the whole Harry Potter is promoting witchcraft for our kids. I thought it was great that HP revived reading among kids during the rise of the gamer generation. But ultimately, parents are the ones who should be making the decision about what their kids should or shouldn’t read.
But at my daughters book fair, yesterday, I found something that disturbed me. My daughter is in elementary school. And I fully recognize that what is fine for a fifth grader may not be age ok for a first grader. But when I saw a book called America’s Next Top Model, I was kind of upset.
I stand by my initial statement that parents should be the ones deciding what their kids should read. I’m not going to advocate that the book should be pulled or wrapped in plastic or require parental approval before students can buy it.
But I am going to question why a book that is clearly a young adult novel belongs in an elementary school book fair to begin with. If kids are reading great. Last time I checked, young adult books were targeted at teenagers and older Tweens. This book was in an elementary school and with titles like Skin Deep and Eye Candy, I’m kind of thinking that we’re pushing a young adult novel on an audience that’s a little to young to be able to read between the lines.
I called the school and spoke with the assistant principle. All I asked was why do we have books that are probably too old for the audience in the book fair. She was very nice and said she would look at it. The bottom line is that it’s the end of the school year and the end of the book fair. I asked the question in what I hope was a nice enough way to actually garner a hey let’s check this out. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the books for older kids but there’s a reason there is a young adult market and a middle grade market and a children’s market.
All I ask is that we keep things a little more age appropriate. I think that’s reasonable.
So what do you think? Did I handle it the right way or did I over react? And should I have liked a this a different way? Should the author in me have considered other possibilities or ways of looking at this? And how do I reconcile the parent in me with the author?