Friday, June 24, 2011

Not this again...

Via YA Highway, I stumbled on two stories this morning. The first dealt with (yet another) school district banning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian--even though no one on the committee making the decision had read the book.

The second story (an editorial/opinion piece, really) was in the Huffington Post and it was in support of the WSJ article that had everyone up in arms a few weeks ago.

In the WSJ post, Megan Cox Gurdon wrote:

It is a dereliction of duty not to make distinctions in every other aspect of a young person's life between more and less desirable options. Yet let a gatekeeper object to a book and the industry pulls up its petticoats and shrieks "censorship!"

In her Huffington Post piece, Ru Freeman wrote:

As the parent of three avid readers, I agree with Meghan Cox Gurdon's point that what is considered "banning" in the book trade is known in the parenting world as doing our job.

Look, I have no problem with parents being involved in what their kids are reading. They're your kids. You should be involved and concerned about what's going on in their lives and that includes what they're reading.

Even in the house I grew up in--which was pretty liberal when it came to books and movies--there were a handful of novels and films my parents asked me not to read and watch until I was older. But not once did they ever try to make that judgement for someone else's child and I can say, with absolute certainty, that The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian is not a book they ever would have worried about me reading.

As soon as you cross the line from telling your own child what they can read to challenging a book and trying to remove it from shelves, you are saying you know what’s best for everyone. You are robbing someone else of the chance to love a book because you, yourself, see something in that book that scares you. (And if that sounds at all familiar, it's because I blogged about this the last time a school district pulled Sherman Alexie's book.)


  1. My mom made me wait until high school to read Clan of the Cave Bear.
    I think that was probably smart of her LOL.
    But totally--parents should be making these decisions for their own children, not for everyone's children. And if your child comes across a book/movie/etc you wish they hadn't seen, well, take it as a teaching opportunity. Talk to them about it. They're going to see bad things in the world; they can't be sheltered forever.

  2. Kaitlin: I think there were four books and two movies my mother asked me to wait until I was older to read and watch. And, with the exception of one of the movies and one of the books, I was pretty good about not sneaking that stuff past her.

    Jodi: la la la ain't no mountain high enough la la la.