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Age-appropriate reading

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annis
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Age-appropriate reading

Post by annis » Fri March 23rd, 2012, 8:36 pm

I was startled to read this article about a South Carolina parent who instigated criminal proceedings against a teacher who read Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game to a class of 14 -year olds. In a society which thinks nothing of allowing teenagers and pre-teens to read endless stories filled with violence and vampires - Hunger Games, Twilight, etc,etc, (not to mention movies and video games) this seems rather surprising. Ender's Game does shock, but for a reason- to challenge readers into an examination of the ways technology distances us from our own humanity - an issue which has surely become even more significant since this novel was first written, and our lives have become as much virtual as real. It's always been sci-fi's role to look at the moral and ethical issues associated with cutting-edge science and technology.

I probably wouldn't read Ender's Game to an 11 year-old, but I think that by the age of 14 kids are ready for some meatier issues. I'd certainly read much more challenging stuff myself by that age. What do others think?
Last edited by annis on Fri March 23rd, 2012, 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Vanessa
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Post by Vanessa » Fri March 23rd, 2012, 8:55 pm

Well, try telling a teenager not to do something and they'll just go ahead and do it anyway. So if they wanted to read something and thought they weren't allowed to, they'd read it in secret. However, I think most of the time teenagers will only read something they're comfortable with. I think they know in themselves what frightens or disturbs them. And at 14 they should be aware of most things and should be given some responsibility.
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Mythica
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Post by Mythica » Fri March 23rd, 2012, 9:48 pm

Well, I never read it myself but "the parent" (strangely, the article doesn't even mention whether the parent is a mother or father) sounds pretty crazy. Don't books have to be approved by the school before teachers can assign them? According to the article "Ender's Game is included on the American Library Association's list of the best 100 books for young adults." And on top of all that - they called the police? How is this even remotely a legal issue? Not surprisingly, the police have dropped the case, having found nothing criminal. Honestly, I think the parent should be charged with wasting the time of the police.

It's people like this who give us Americans a bad reputation for being insanely conservative and ignorant.

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Post by annis » Fri March 23rd, 2012, 10:33 pm

I suspect this parent of being one of the fundamentalist persuasion that I call "Holycopter" parents. I've come across a few in my work at the library, so they're not confined to the States :) They like to micro-manage their children's reading and would prefer to keep them in some sort of sanitised Never-never Land where they never grow up to think for themselves. I'm afraid that I can find nothing in common with them, as I believe in encouraging intellectual curiosity and am eternally grateful that my parents never tried to put limits on my reading.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri March 23rd, 2012, 11:28 pm

I think the parent has other problems and was looking for an excuse to air them. Every society had some of those around. Pity the kid.

I have not read Ender's Game, but I did read Ender's Shadow, a parallel story about another member of the cast. That parent must have really been looking for an issue if they picked that book to squawk about.

On the other hand, I DID have a problem with a book assigned to my 14-year-old when she was in high school, and many other parents did also. The book was an autobiography of a woman who had faced sexual abuse by her stepfather, and had a chapter that was far too graphic for impressionable minds. The school's plan for dealing with this was to 'forbid discussion of that chapter'!!! In other words, make them read it, and let the scene run around and around in their heads without any further context. Whose idiotic idea was that? There was considerable public outcry, and we got the book yanked.

Mind you, I thought the book was excellent and worthwhile for adults to ponder. I have used in in our work with abused women. But there is a time and a place, and a public school, with (at least some) sexually inexperienced kids, is not it.

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Post by annis » Sat March 24th, 2012, 1:05 am

There was a bit of a kerfuffle here over a teacher reading Hunger Games to a class of 11 year olds, and I do wonder about the wisdom of that as there are some quite heavy concepts involved in the story. Concerned over this, the school initiated discussion to establish whether any of the kids wanted to talk over issues they'd found disturbing. Turned out the issue the kids were most worried about was whether Katniss would hook up with Peeta or Gale :)
Last edited by annis on Sat March 24th, 2012, 1:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by rebecca » Sat March 24th, 2012, 1:18 am

I remember when Harry Potter first came out and people were up in arms. I think many Churches also had their say. Their main contention being that if you read the books, then children will embrace the occult.

I grew up watching 'Bewitched.' It didn't turn me into a witch:rolleyes :( though some might disagree :p ). What I don't like is the XBox thingy where violence seems so real and impersonal. I also don't like some of the music clips I see now and again on these music channels. But as one comment said if you ban something then the kids will read it anyway.

Bec :)

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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Sun March 25th, 2012, 12:37 am

Agreed with everyone else. That parent has issues.

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Sun March 25th, 2012, 3:54 pm

As a school librarian i do not have to get my books approved before I buy them. Thank god cause otherwise i would be screwed. If a teacher uses them in a classroom then yes they need the rubber stamp of approval in my school.

OMFG the kid is 14 not 9. I swear parents like to shelter their kids or they like to think their kids are innocent. I'm gonna wager this is the same kid that is talking to their friends about sex and swearing in the hall on occasion because thats what teens do. :rolleyes: Some parents need to get a grip.
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Mythica
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Post by Mythica » Mon March 26th, 2012, 11:06 am

[quote=""Divia""]As a school librarian i do not have to get my books approved before I buy them. Thank god cause otherwise i would be screwed. If a teacher uses them in a classroom then yes they need the rubber stamp of approval in my school.

OMFG the kid is 14 not 9. I swear parents like to shelter their kids or they like to think their kids are innocent. I'm gonna wager this is the same kid that is talking to their friends about sex and swearing in the hall on occasion because thats what teens do. :rolleyes: Some parents need to get a grip.[/quote]

On occasion? Geez, I was regularly using the F word by the time I was 13.

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