Rarely, and I do mean rarely, do I start a sentence with, “As a parent, I feel…” When I do, I’m usually being facetious. However, today I’m going to use that little intro in all seriousness.
As a parent, I feel that this banned book business is hogwash. I have heard the arguments. I have listened to parents talk about how they are scared for their kids and what they are exposed to. You know what? The books in the library are not the problem, you are. That’s right. I am attacking parenting. (*gasp*)
Here are some thoughts: Read with your kids! Pay attention to what is in their backpack. Ask them what their books are about. Tell them they can ask you questions about things, and that you won’t judge them for their curiosity, even if it scares the crap out of you. Be a parent, for goodness sake.
My kids and I are partaking in a little Lord of the Rings today. (We are watching the movie, they are too young to sit through the reading of the book.) For nap time, I’m starting James and the Giant Peach. Later, we’ll probably play Harry Potter because it’s Jenna’s current favorite. Banned books are celebrated in my house because reading is fun, and knowledge is power.
I am not saying that your kids are at the right age for some books just because I think mine are going to do okay with them. That is where parenting comes in. However, I am most definitely saying that if you are banning a book from a school library because your five year old shouldn’t be reading it, you are silly. Your five year old may be too young, but what about someone’s eleven year old? Maybe you feel like your ninth grader isn’t ready to talk about the issues in a Sherman Alexie book, but your twelfth grader is living those issues, and if you think they aren’t, you are fooling yourself.
Look, shelter your children, that is your right. If I catch you trying to push that on my kids, however, there will be hell to pay.
Final words: Open your kids’ backpacks! See what they are reading. Be happy they are reading at all, I mean, it’s that or the dreaded video games (*snort* but another rant), right? If you are really concerned, talk to your kids’ teachers. Get reading lists. Read the books first. Everything in those books, and I mean everything, your kids have been exposed to by their peers and the media (promise). Now, take a deep breath, sit your kiddo down, and talk to them. Awkward? Maybe. Life changing? Definitely.