mardi 15 février 2011

Censorship and children

An interesting discussion here about censoring children’s reading:

Here are my thoughts:

I think I will try to guide my (future) children’s reading. (As knfmn put it: “suggesting books for them that make them stretch their limits”.) If my children are interested in a particular book, I don’t think I will try to stop them from reading it. I think trying to ban them will just make them want to read them even more. And in any case, I think it would be terribly hard to determine when my children are mature enough to read, for example, the rape scenes in The Color Purple. As someone said, “The world itself isn't censorable and I would much rather my kids found out about the nastier side by reading about it and discussing it with me or their dad than coming up entirely unprepared against the real thing.”

The important thing will be to discuss difficult books with my children before they read them AND as they go along, to make sure children know they can ask questions about traumatic scenes. Of course, what worries me is that children might not want to ask questions about what they just read, and they also might not make the distinction between fiction and reality, depending on their age and maturity. I do remember reading some pretty traumatic material early on, and I don’t think it left me scarred. In fact, I remember reading one book in particular that I just didn’t get. Something about the main character being old enough to wash his own sheets – it was only several years later that it “clicked”. It was uninteresting to me, at the time.

I agree wholeheartedly with cecilturtle when she says that the concept of guiding readings, expressing values and disagreement are just as important as giving access to books. “As a parent, I do have a responsibility to monitor my daughter's choices. As a citizen, it is my responsibility to make sure that all books are accessible - there is a nuance.”

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