When I signed on to my homepage this morning, this is what I saw. Of course I clicked on the link to read the article.
I am floored. It is the year 2010. Are parents really still challenging books? Now, before you get riled up... hear me out. I am a parent! For those that don't know, I have 2 boys - my oldest is turning 15, and my youngest is 10. Maybe I'm too liberal. Easy going. Maybe I just want my kids to read. I don't care if they're reading comic books. Just read!
I'm just trying to wrap my brain around this. Parents are uncomfortable with the content of these books. The Twilight series "reflects a general unease about supernatural stories." Come on. Do they think the kids who read these will want to really be vampires?
First on the list was the ttyl series by Lauren Myracle. These books are written in "text lingo". I can almost understand teachers' concern of the lack of proper grammar. Proper grammar is almost a lost art form these days. But for language and drug references? PLEASE! Kids like these books because they actually talk to them! They relate to the content. They're "coming of age" books. I think it is pure genius that authors can write books that kids want to read - maybe because they're experiencing and going through what the characters in the book are experiencing and going through.
I read tons of young adult books when I was not a young adult (meaning that I was a little ahead of other kids in my class. For instance, by the time I was in fifth grade I was plowing through V.C. Andrews' Flowers In The Attic series.) My mother thought it was fantastic that I could read books like that at my age! I also remember reading books that had drug references, and or sex scenes (Judy Blume's Forever anyone?). I can honestly say that reading any of these books did not make me want to go out and do drugs or have sex.
What about And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell. I know - the whole "gay" thing. This is a very controversial topic, and I'm certainly not going to get into a political tyrade. Let's just suffice it to say that my sister is gay and I feel that all humans should have the same rights. Black, white, gay, straight... none of it matters. And teaching children about "gay" people is not going to "make them gay".
I feel that if you are properly educating your children at home, and they learn by your example, then you are going to have a kid that "knows right from wrong", and hopefully he/she will make the right decisions. Let's face it - all kids make mistakes. The teenage years are notorious for experimentation. Can one honestly "blame" a book that was read on your 16 year-old coming home drunk one night? Or having sex for the first time?
Would one honestly "blame" a book that their child read when they were 4 years-old on their sexual orientation? ("I just knew we shouldn't have let little Johnny read And Tango Makes Three!)
I realize that this is all opinion and personal preference. But I would like to think that as a people we have come a long way from banning books. Oh, I don't know where I'm going with this.... I guess I'm just trying to understand what goes through people's heads in situations like these. We could debate about it for hours. Parents absolutely have the right to tell their children what they feel is appropriate to read or not to read. To do or not to do. What music to listen to or not to listen to. What video games to play or not to play. It absolutely all begins at home. I just don't want other parents to tell my children what they can read, do, listen to, play or what have you. That is my responsibility to my own children.
And if I want to teach my children about homosexuality through a book, that should be my right. It's what America is all about. Ya know, "Land of the free; home of the brave"... and all that. We should be free to express our opinions. And hopefully if you have one, you will be brave enough to express it.
Go here to see a list of classics that have been challenged for the past 20 years.