As our "Banned Books" month comes to an end, it made me wonder if there are any books that you would ban from your house. Do you censor your child's reading? Do you think that parents should ban their children from reading certain books?
I think that it's important to ensure that our children are reading age appropriate books and that, as with TV viewing, it is well supervised. If my child wanted to read a book a didn't think was appropriate I would (hopefully!) explain to them why I didn't think it was appropriate and discuss the themes in it. On the whole I think that children will end up reading what they want to read - I'd rather know what's happening and have the chance to add my own information and thoughts into the mix. Although I have certainly considered banning "Olga the Brolga"...there's really only so many times you can read one book! lol
Good question! I know from experience that telling a child not to read a particular book tends to just make them want to read it. I will play it by ear as my kids get older. Books are a bit more self selecting than movies and tv, in that the reader has to have the vocabulary and reading comprehension to read adult books, and hopefully by the time they have that they also have the maturity to understand the content. I wouldn't want to be outright banning books from my house, but if a book is one of my kids wants to read is misogynist or has themes I find disturbing I would want to discuss those themes with them and maybe encourage them to wait until they are a bit older. I might also be able to offer more appropriate alternatives that my kids would like. My obsession with reading young adult books might even come in handy one of these days.
I'm honestly not sure!
I would like to think that I will carry on taking the same approach I do now - we read pretty much everything and discuss themes or issues, so that anything I don't like or that makes me uncomfortable is talked about. But as he gets older, he might not want to discuss everything at length. Equally, as he gets older, he will be able to find ways to read books that I may not approve of, without my knowledge. I know that I did as a pre-teen and teenager! It's tough working out the right balance.
I was a voracious reader from the age of five. Prior to that my Mum and Dad read to me and even subscribed to Enid Blyton's Sunny Stories on a weekly basis. Dad subscribed to The Bulletin, and I often dipped into it, for the cartoons initially. My parents subscribed to The Readers' Bookclub. A close family friend used to give us out of date magazines from where he worked at a gentlemen's club. These were mainly English magazines including Men Only. Of course I only read the latter for "the articles". What a smorgasbord! I can only remember Mum telling me two books were "not appropriate" - One a Pecker, Two a Pecker and Sara Dane. How tame these would seem to today's children. Of course, forbidden fruit was sweetest, and I read them from cover to cover. For this reason I don't remember banning my child (the other did not read unnecessarily) from any particular reading matter. Not that I would have been aware of most of the content. Did this mean I was negligent?
Lol your answer has reminded me of the time, aged about eight or nine, I filled out a form that had been in our newspaper to become a member of the Mills & Boon Monthly Club..... my parents only found out after I had been sent three threatening letters demanding payment after the free trial period had run out! I had already read several of their books by that time.
My parents were furious, not with me but with M&B, as they shouldn't have accepted an under-age child as a member. Happy days. I too read voraciously, absolutely anything I could get my hands on.
Yes, that Sara Dane, donjo. Times were different then. Coincidentally, Sara Dane was loosely based on Mary Reibey, the lady on your $20 notes. She was an ex-con business woman based in Sydney's Rocks area where she assisted in the founding of the Bank of New Sout Wales, now Westpac. She is also one of my husband's ancestors. No biggie, as she had heaps of kids and her descendants probably number in the thousands by now.
Generally the presence of sexual violence makes me loathe to consider it for children. I remember coming across several 'young adult' novels as an early teenager that after reading them I felt should have been grouped with adult fiction.
It's hard though, because particularly in teenage years, children need to gain a whole set of knowledge that parents may be uncomfortable with them learning.
I am partway through reading Roxanne Gay's collection of essays Bad Feminist. In one essay, What We Hunger For (about her love for the Hunger Games trilogy) she responds to the suggestion that young adult books have become too dark and contain content young folk aren't ready for by pointing out that young people are often forced into situations they aren't ready to deal with in life (she herself survived a gang rape as a teenager). For those kids books with darker themes let them know they are not alone. She quotes another writer, Sherman Alexie:
"There are millions of teens who read because they are sad and lonely and enraged. They read because they live in an often terrible world. They read because they believe, despite the callow protestations of certain adults, that books- especially the dark and dangerous ones- will save them."
Come to think of it I tried reading Frankenstein when I was about twelve and got bored by all the rambling travelogue stuff (it's not structured like the novels I was used to at all) and gave up. I didn't revisit it again until I was at university. I think it's a bit hard for a child to understand but it's not like it's full of sex and violence (some violence, but not so graphic by modern standards).