13 Comments

  1. I’ve seen several reviews of this book and it was one I wanted to steer clear of.

    We can’t control everything our kids read, but we can foster a relationship where they can bring us their questions or feelings of uncertainty about what they read. And while I don’t like the idea of forbidding books, I have no problem with being honest about ones that bother me, and why they bother me. It’s part of my responsibility as a mom, and part of respecting my children. IMHO.

    I gave my daughter a children’s version of Moby Dick to read, and she abandoned it, explaining that she was troubled by the content, and why. She had some boundaries in place, or reading ethics, or whatever we call them. It set my mind a bit more at ease about her encounters with other books as she gets older.

  2. Amy

    Thanks for sharing your ideas, Janet. His wonderful that your dd already has some sense of boundary in regards to her reading life! Is this something that you feel like you’ve helped her to develop?

  3. I haven’t read this particular book and my kids are still young enough that for the most part they are only reading things I suggest or pick out. So, it’s not really an issue I’ve dealt with directly. I think I’d be ok in general with most things for my kids to read but with saying that we have to talk about them.

    One way we’ve dealt with it was that my oldest wanted to read Harry Potter. I’m fine with HP and loved the series myself but I felt like they got darker and scarier in the later books. I let him read the first three books but told him he has to wait on the rest. He understands that it’s not because the books aren’t ok but that as a parent I think it’s my job to protect him from certain things until he is ready to deal with them. I think that approach/principle can carry over into over books.

    I have a friend with older kids and her oldest was very interested in reading the Twilight series. My friend wasn’t thrilled about them but also felt like her daughter was mature enough and would be ok with them. She left it up to her but suggested that she think about it. It ended up being a really good experience for her daughter to make the decision on her own. She asked lots of people she knew (including me, teachers, other friends at church and even Sara Groves). In the end she chose to read it but after reading it didn’t really like it. My friend felt like had she told her daughter not to read it it would have made it more interesting to her.

    • Amy

      Alice–I like your approach, and I think your friend exercised a lot of wisdom, too. How did your friend’s daughter come to ask Sara Groves her opinion? I am a fan of Sara G., and I imagine she’d make an interesting person with whom to talk books.

  4. Well, I probably fall more into the conservative camp. I don’t think i’m up for banning books. I am up for censoring them up to an age of maturity on any given topic. Obviously I wouldn’t hand a book like this over to my kids at age 10 or under! (And probably not even at 10, truth be told.)

    I would ask myself the following questions:

    1.) What’s the subject matter that is being dealt with and that I do not agree with;
    2.) How does the author treat the subject matter?
    3.) Is Biblical truth being upheld or ignored?

    If Biblical truth is not being upheld and is, in fact, being completely and utterly disregarded (and sometimes in a mocking way) then I would tell my kids that I would PREFER them not to read it and WHY and one of my reasons would be that we are to be thinkign on what is good, right and pure. Not splitting hairs on sin – I think to have a good story you have to have some sin involved. But the story needs to not be “broken” in the sense that it doesn’t correctly resolve the sin issues. Which is a blog post all on it’s own.

    I guess if I were to summarize my thoughts I would say that I would encourage them not to wallow in such stories but not to be afraid of them either. Rather, I would like them to be discerning enough to be able to read such books and tell you EXACTLY what’s wrong and bothersome about the story in the first place!

    • Amy

      Carrie, I like your idea of a “broken story,” but is it realistic to expect all stories to end “redeemed”? I don’t think that always happens in real life, at least not that we see. In my thinking, it goes back to the “prescriptive” vs. “descriptive” argument. I do think, however, that stories need to at least have a glimmer of hope (because Hope Is the Word, don’t you know), or I don’t want to read them. I think the questions you pose are great ones, nevertheless. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  5. Amy

    Thanks for your thoughts, ladies. I knew I could count on you! 🙂 Again, this is not something that we’ve dealt with yet, given the young ages of my children. However, I remember having a tough time as a teenager having assigned reading that clearly violated my standards. I have now taken many, many undergraduate and graduate level English classes, so I know that it’s not possible (or even preferable) to avoid all tough issues in literature. I’m hoping that by careful, thoughtful exposure, my children can be a little more prepared for it than I was as a teenager.

    Anyone else?

  6. I understand how you feel about the homosexuality issue. I would not want my children reading about that topic. There is already way too much of an emphasis in our culture that the lifestyle is equal or better than heterosexuality. I have talked with my oldest child about it because she was aware of it. She has been taught that it is a sin but that we still treat the people with kindness and respect. Recently, she wanted to read the Pretty Little Liars series. I know there is a homosexual relationship and a sexual relationship with a teacher in those novels. I told her it was an inappropriate series for her and why. We are responsible for providing the truth and giving them guidance during these influential growing years. We can only hope it “stickes” when they grow up.

  7. Thanks for the review and sharing your opinion. I clearly remember this issue growing up when my mom finally let me read Flowers in the Attic but she read it with me so we could talk about it. It did put yucky images in my head that will never come out – even if I talked with my mom about how wrong the behavior was. That’s why I want to teach my girls to self-censor because once they get it in their heads, it’s there – and they will have to deal with it. When it’s mature content of any kind, I think it’s my job to have them wait until they are older.

    • Amy

      Melissa,

      Thanks for commenting! I like the idea of reading questionable content alongside the child or teen. I agree with you about it being our jobs to teach our children to self-censor. Thanks for stopping by! I checked out your website and it looks wonderful!

  8. I think this becomes more and more difficult as your children get older. We had better have taught them to have their own filters and standards by the time they are 10 or 11 years old. I have eight children and most of them read almost as much as or more than I do. So I can’t pre-read all their books even if I wanted to.

  9. Susan

    I’m always interested in books and reading and education. My daughters are 32, 20 and 28. The oldest has 3 little girls – ages 3, 22 months, and 6 days, and my middle daughter has a 2 month old daughter. I buy them a lot of books and they go to the library a lot and I love reading to them.

    My children went to public school, which I was very happy with, for the most part. But I did speak up even when they were in high school. My youngest was supposed to read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou. I had heard that it might not be something I’d approve of, so I read it, and as I was sobbing and shaking, I had my husband read a certain part of it, and we decided that our daughter would NOT be reading this book. It had a very graphic description of a young girl being molested, and it was NOT something I wanted in any of my daughters’ heads. The teacher respected my wishes, and my daughter read something else. We had this issue with one book in junior high as well, and my girls learned early on that “what’s popular isn’t always right and what’s right isn’t always popular”.

    I certainly would veto this Keeper book until the child is quite a bit older and we’ve already talked about this issue.

    I look forward to reading more reviews on all your wonderful blogs.

    I’m interested in any and every list of good picture books for young children. My oldest granddaughter is ready for something with a plot, but when we’re reading stories, the little one often wants HER book read, or wants to turn multiple pages at a time, etc. smile…

    Susan
    moot96 AT aol DOT com

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