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Monday, September 27, 2010

Banning Books in Schools

I didn't blog yesterday. There would have been a time when I'd have been desperately trying to think of something but now? nah!

Yesterday was momentous I was reading a book realised I was cold and went and turned the heating on!!! I had hoped to wait til October. Hey ho.

There's a piece on the BBC website about the increasing number of books being banned in US schools.

Main reason's parents object are bad language, sex or sexuality.

Writer Lauren Myracle says a typical e-mail reads: "What gives you the right to take away my child's innocence?"

but as Myracle says to engage with teenagers you need to write honestly about them.

I appreciate that kids are growing up ridiculously early these days, in some ways, but I suspect they are influenced much more so by their parents and surroundings than books.

The small town of Stockton, Missouri had a struggle over Sherman Alexie's book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

The opposition to the book was led by lawyer and parent Mike Holzknecht.

The book is just chock full of vulgarity, profanity, obscenity and sexual explicitness involving minors. People around here, where it's pretty rural and conservative, they will go a long way, but this book was so far over the edge. It doesn't belong in a school.

Holzknecht goes on to say he moved his family to Stockton because he felt it was a place with good, shared values.

Whereas I sympathize with Mr Holzknecht wrapping our children in cotton wool doesn't necessarily protect them. You can't go from the famous five to adult fiction over night.

One of my aunt's found a pack of cigarettes in her daughters possession she said nothing about it and trusted her daughter to make the right decision. As she said saying no would have just made her daughter continue when she really didn't want to.

Very often if we say no kids find it much cooler and try stuff they shouldn't.

There is a strong difference between the UK and the US. Challenges to books are much rarer in the UK.

In the US, locally-elected school boards can have books withdrawn when parents petition them in the UK, control lies almost exclusively in the hands of headteachers,.

Sally Duncan (the School Library Association) says that she can recall one primary school that refused to have any Harry Potter books because of the supernatural content.
Parents are perhaps less likely to complain about the content of books in the UK as, by and large, we are a less 'religious' society.

Is the US more religious? Well I think they go on about it more. Going to church and quoting the bible doesnot necessarily make you a good christian for instance

My own reading in my teenage years was done at my sniffing around libraries and getting the books I wanted. My folks brought me up with "a code" and trusted me.

Forcing your views down your kids throat. especially in their teenage years, is in my view a counterproductive thing. Bring'em up give them support and advice but give them some leeway.

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