Hosted by Booking Through Thursday
(From 12th May)
Do you read books “meant” for other age groups? Adult books when you were a child; Young-Adult books now that you’re grown; Picture books just for kicks … You know … books not “meant” for you. Or do you pretty much stick to what’s written for people your age?
I’ll read pretty much anything that catches my attention, and if that means I read young adult and children’s books from time to time, then so be it. An example of books meant for younger audiences that I read this year alone would be:
- Kelley Armstrong – The Reckoning (Darkest Powers 3)
- Frances Hodgson Burnett – A Little Princess
- Cornelia Funke – Inkheart (Inkworld 1)
- Cornelia Funke – Inkspell (Inkworld 2)
- Cornelia Funke – Inkdeath (Inkworld 3) – ABANDONED
- Tove Jansson – Finn Family Moomintroll
- Terry Pratchett – I Shall Wear Midnight
- Philip Pullman – The Ruby in the Smoke
I’m also currently reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnet.
More often than not, I find that there are brilliant stories and excellent writing to be found aimed at the youth market, and through my son, Xander (who is 2 1/2 years old), I’m rediscovering some delights aimed at very young children as well as reading him some stories that are perhaps aimed above his age-group, but he loves hearing someone tell him any story. I shall continue to read books of any genre and any age market I fancy and I warrant I will enjoy many more than I don’t.
(From 19th May)
In contrast to last week’s question–What do you think of censoring books BECAUSE of their intended age? Say, books too “old” for your kids to read?
I think that if a book is well written and the author has intended a book for a specific age range, then he or she will censor themselves, to a point, to make sure it is appropriate for that age group. Different children will be more ready for some things than others at different ages. I had a reading age far above my actual age from being very young, but I don’t think I or my parents ever had a problem with inappropriate material. If I had questions about anything, I could always ask them and they would always answer me as honestly as they could.
Books that are supposedly aimed at a younger market but which contain inappropriate material for that age group are, in my opinion, the product of a sloppy writer who couldn’t be bothered making it age-appropriate. Being challenging is one thing, but aiming a book at the 8-12-year-old market but then peppering it with swearing, drinking, drug use and sex would be incredibly inappropriate. Yes, by all means reference things tactfully and in a way they can understand, so they can arm themselves against peer pressure (backed up by parents), but you can’t have characters effing and blinding all over the place and have very graphic descriptions of violence and sex. If a book has those things in it and has been placed in the children’s section of the bookstore or library has been woefully mis-classified!
An example of an inappropriate placement would be the time I picked up a copy of Maia by Richard Adams in our school library. I was about 14 or 15 years old at the time. It’s the story of a 15-year-old girl who is sold to become a sex slave and is filled with vivid descriptions of sexual acts, both heterosexual and lesbian. I thought at the time it was pretty unusual to find such a book in a school library and if it were picked up by my mid-teenaged child at school, I’d be a bit worried at what kind of thing my kid was reading. Of course, as an adult, I love the book – it’s a wonderful story and very well-written.
From a personal point of view, I was mostly pretty good at deciding for myself what I was ready to read and if I found something uncomfortable, then I wouldn’t read it, but then I suspect I was quite mature in that outlook and many children would continue reading, finding themselves confused and perhaps scared.
I do feel it’s the job of parents to help their own children see what kind of things they are ready to read and to encourage open discussion of issues in the books they are reading. If the parent can read it beforehand (fore-warned is fore-armed, after all), so much the better.