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Age-appropriate reading

A place to debate issues or to rant about what's on your mind. In addition to discussions about historical fiction, books, the publishing industry, and history, discussions about current political, social, and religious issues and other topics are allowed, so those who are easily offended by certain topics may want to avoid such threads. Members are expected to keep the discussions friendly and polite and to avoid personal attacks on other members. The moderators reserve the right to shut down a thread without warning if they believe it necessary.
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Currently reading: "The Dead of Winter" by Nicola Upson
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime, dual time-frame
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Post by Madeleine » Mon March 26th, 2012, 11:20 am

[quote=""Mythica""]On occasion? Geez, I was regularly using the F word by the time I was 13.[/quote]

To my shame ,so was I. :o
Currently reading: The Dead of Winter by Nicola Upson

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Post by Ludmilla » Mon March 26th, 2012, 2:31 pm

[quote=""annis""]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 :) [/quote]

My daughter read this at 11 at her teacher's recommendation. Her teacher is a voracious reader of YA books and routinely talked about books that she loved to her students. I don't censor books when my kids show an interest. If it's something I question or don't think they're quite ready for, I'll read it with them and talk about it with them which is what I did with The Hunger Games when my daughter read it (and you're right, girls this age are going to be more focused on the love triangle). She lost interest by the end of the 2nd book in the trilogy. I read the trilogy and think that older teens and adults will get more out of it.

I think what some parents feel uncomfortable with is how influential teachers can be, especially teachers who have different values. For example, it's been my experience that teachers are probably more wary of preaching their religious convictions in the classroom, but they will make their political convictions known quite frequently and to the point of presenting their political beliefs as the socially acceptable standard or fact rather than inclination or opinion. Schools apply some pretty heavy social conditioning, whether we want to admit it or not. Many parents are naturally going to be concerned about the influence teachers have over their children.

All that said, I have met some fanatics that are sadly misinformed about the content of the books they protest, including some of those who want to protect their kids from foul language or Harry Potter books (usually for religious reasons). I grew up in a neighborhood full of older boys, so I was exposed to curse words at a fairly early age. Encountering them in books was anti-climactic.
Last edited by Ludmilla on Mon March 26th, 2012, 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by DanielAWillis » Mon March 26th, 2012, 3:21 pm

[quote=""annis""]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 :) [/quote]
I did not read the Hunger games series, thing I would read them after seeing the movie (I like to use books to fill in theb lanks rather than the other way around).

But I was very disturbed by the movie. I hope the books have more of a "stand up to the Authority" message than the movie did. What I got from the movie is "You can't win, you might as well kill yourself" which I found very disturbing to be aiming at teens.
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue March 27th, 2012, 12:12 am

I don't know if the 'stand up to authority' message is a wise one to preach to teens, especially without situational nuances. In any case, our teens get that message in every second book/movie/song, so they hardly need more of the same. For my part, I thought the story did a good job exploring the possible options to deal with overwhelming force.

It is too easy for those in the developed/privileged world to forget the realities of the rest of humanity. There are many places where if you stand up to authority, you not only die, but your loved ones do as well. (You're new here, so you haven't heard about my Pakistani/Afghani connections, but they live in a totally different society and their teenagers would find the Hunger games quite relevant. So would their four-year-olds, for that matter.) Historically, this was even more true in the past.

I urge everyone who writes stories outside of our time and place to do a little real-life research into underdeveloped countries and situations in our own such as human trafficking. It will really bring your character's situations to life.
Last edited by MLE (Emily Cotton) on Tue March 27th, 2012, 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by annis » Tue March 27th, 2012, 2:50 am

Yes, totalitarian regimes are very much aware of the value of "hostages to fortune" as a way of holding a sword over the heads of those who put up any resistance. I see the Taliban have just issued a threat to Pakistani lawmakers and their families if NATO supplies go through Pakistan. And Henry VIII sent a strong message to dissenters when he had Cardinal de la Pole's mother and brother executed after the Cardinal objected to Henry making himself Head of the Church in England and so on and on...

On a similar note, just spotted this article about the upsurge in the number of executions in Middle Eastern countries as authorities attempt to stem pro-democracy movements. Not surprisingly China holds the record for the greatest number of executions carried out last year.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/ma ... executions
Last edited by annis on Tue March 27th, 2012, 5:31 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by rockygirl » Wed June 6th, 2012, 1:52 am

As a teacher, I do not like some of the required readings I do with my students. Not every kid is ready for every topic, even if they are all the same age. I'll read anything, but I don't know that I have the right to inflict that particular value on other people's children. I am reminded that a few years ago, when my niece and nephew were seven, several parents asked my sister to tell the twins that shut up was not the bad s word. Apparently, the kids had said that to their classmates. My sister, who is no stranger to cursing, doesn't in front of her kids, refused. I personally think those other parents had a lot of nerve.

Books don't need to be age-appropriate as much as they need to be kid and family appropriate in each situation. I have students I would recommend The Hunger Games to and students I wouldn't.

I don't preach my religion or my politics to my class. In fact, I go out of my way not to. But I know colleagues that do.

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Post by Margaret » Wed June 6th, 2012, 5:35 pm

Books and the opinions of teachers really only have a significant influence on kids, I think, to the extent they inspire thought and get kids thinking for themselves. Most people would consider that a good thing, but I guess not all parents want kids to think for themselves. Try to stop them, though! I remember a music teacher who tried to impress on us that we shouldn't listen to the Beatles because (I'm cleaning up her language here) their music was inspired by Motown music. Didn't make any of us less enthusiastic about the Beatles. A history teacher tried to discourage my interest in evolution. Only made me think about it more. I remember reading articles about the Vietnam War explaining why we had to stop communism there or dominoes would fall all over the world. The reasoning impressed me only temporarily - a few years later I was demonstrating against the war.
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