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Books you would NOT SUGGEST to your kids. Why? At what age would you recommend it?

Discussion in 'Children and Young Adult Books' started by Gilgamesh, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    I am from waaaaay the other end of the age spectrum, looking back on it all now. In summary, I think chilldren will be like their parents. If you want your child to be some way that you are not, I would suggest that is a losing battle.

    Children will say damn and f**k if you do; they won't if you don't.
    Children will booze if you do, otherwise probably not.
    Children will be lascivious if you are, otherwise I doubt it.

    Children will read books if you do, otherwise likely show little interest.
    Children will respect the intellect if you do, otherwise I doubt it.
    Children will respect a religious faith if you do, otherwise I doubt it.
    Children will certainly be atheist if you are; why not in this society.


    Now everyone tell me there are exceptions, and of course I know there are, because in some ways I am an exception too compared to my parents. But generally speaking we were a bookish, academically-oriented, tee-totalling, Christian sort of family, and I am not surprised to see that our four children are pretty much the same way. Not exactly, of course, but there are no great deviations in the example areas I used above.

    We made regular visits to the library, bookstores and book sales, and surrounded our children with stacks of age-appropriate books from day one. There wasn't room for inappropriate books and our children ended up reading several years above grade level. By the time they were fourteen they were already reading anything in sight.

    That is long and boring I know, and maybe not quite responsive to the thread but, then again, it is only the once you'll see it. :flowers:

    Good luck. :)
     
  2. savvyambrose

    savvyambrose New Member

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    This is how my childhood was, too. However, once I got to middle school and started picking out my own books in the school's library, I tended to find books that my parents may not have agreed with.
     
  3. Peder

    Peder Well-Known Member

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    Well, yes, me too. Children will find their way into more 'adult' books in their own way and their own time, but then is when a good reading background keeps things in perspective. It was stressful for us when our children started encountering the different standards of all the different children and families in the school population, but we all survived.
     
  4. bleumana

    bleumana kickbox

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    If it wasn't for Charlotte's Web, read to me in first grade, and The Witches, read in second grade, I may not be the avid reader that I am today.

    As a child if someone told me I couldn't read something, it made me more determined to see what it was.

    I think getting kids to read and having discussions with them about the content is always better than discouraging them through censorship.
     
  5. fourx

    fourx New Member

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    :lol: brilliant.
     
  6. bleumana

    bleumana kickbox

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    Shouldn't we be encouraging children to read instead of restricting them?!
     
  7. AlphaOmegaX

    AlphaOmegaX New Member

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    It's just like video games. I guess the only way you could truly protect your children would be to keep them indoors all the time under your rule and never let them experience anything outside.
     
  8. mmyap

    mmyap Member

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    Looking back I admit I was really picky about what I put on the shelves. Not so much because I thought my kids would freak out or need therapy if they read a bad word or two. I just had decided opinions about what I considered literature and what I thought was junk.

    My dislikes were the Sweet Valley High series type stuff, Goosebumps, and I will say I had a really negative reaction to a lot of Manga stuff that I browsed through (too much sexualization of what looked like 13 year olds. Not all of it, just some of it has a decidedly weird vibe and i don't have the time to inspect which is which so they were out.)

    There were no outright bans though, I just stacked the shelves with enough other stuff that they were happy with.
     
  9. abecedarian

    abecedarian Well-Known Member

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    That has been my approach. I've never liked the series you mentioned nor the Babysitter's Club, but I never outright banned them. I do gripe loudly about the Junie B. Jones series, and not because of the content. I loathe the poor grammar. Ever try to read one of those 'things' aloud? Torture! I know the author is trying to appeal to kids by writing like they would speak, but is that anyway to teach a kid to speak and write like big people?!? Yuck. Beverly Cleary never had to stoop...
     
  10. Isambard

    Isambard New Member

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    Only book I can think of that I would restrict access to for those under 18, is The Anarchist Cookbook.
     
  11. Comeflyaway

    Comeflyaway Member

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    Growing up, my parents were strict. My brothers and I weren't allowed to go out with our friends on school nights, stay up past 9, drink soda, or watch anything on TV that wasn't educational or the news. But they NEVER restricted our books. I think books opened my eyes to a world that I would have been completely naive about had I not read anything. We read more and more adult themes as we got older, and all three of us kids were reading far beyond our grade levels. I went through phases of reading young adult books with vampire or zombie themes, and although I'm sure my mom wasn't thrilled about it, she never tried to stop me. In the end, the lack of censorship helped me become more mature, learn to love reading, and understand grammar rules from a young age. Reading words like "damn" didn't prompt me to run through the house screaming "damn damn damn damn" any more than sex scenes caused me to throw myself at boys in the hallways at school.

    I took a course in children's literature once, and it raised an interesting point. Back in the day, fairy tales were more scary than they are now. Think of the three little pigs -- it used to be that the wolf died in the end, but now kids are hearing about the wolf running away to the woods because that was seen as less harsh. You know what? The second ending terrifies kids so much more than the wolf dying because it left things open -- the wolf is still out there! People are trying to clean up children's literature to make it less scary, but that's not necessarily the case. Just a thought.
     
  12. speechless

    speechless New Member

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    I think it depends on your child's personality. I'm not a parent but I think I'd pretty much let my kids read whatever they wanted after the age of 10. Before that, books with, say, explicit sex, would be discouraged. Or, rather, I'd just hide them or something.

    I read several James Patterson books around the ages of 10-12. My mom actually recommended them to me. Those books have cursing and sex and violence and all that bad stuff, but my mom didn't make a big deal out of it. I read the book, said, "That was good," and went on about my business. What exactly do people think will happen if children read a violent book? "That person killed someone! Cool! I want to kill someone too!"? Some kids imitate what they see/read, but I think for the most part kids have common sense. They know it isn't real. If you think your child is ready for a book, then let them read it.
     
  13. This is an interesting topic, because it applies to much more than literature; for music and film, as well. Here's how I feel: to introduce your children to "mature" or "adult" content, you have to be a good parent. I was six years old and watching Michael Myers chase people down with butcher knives and axes. It's okay - I turned out just fine. Why? Because I had a mother who took the time to explain to me the differences between real life and fiction. This is okay in a movie, this is not okay in real life. Your children aren't stupid, so you need to clarify things for them; talking to them like people is beneficial. I didn't go around stabbing my cat because I saw a fictional serial killer do it. Entertainment was just that, entertainment, and thankfully I had someone that didn't plop me in front of a TV and leave me there to confusedly draw my own conclusions. No parent should.

    Thus, I feel that adult content is, tentatively, acceptable for children of any age, provided they have strong role models who will make things clear for them. If you disagree, please don't respond with "monkey see, monkey do" -- the phrase holds little water. ;)

    On a side note: what child really wants to read these books? I don't see many seven year olds in line for Capote's In Cold Blood or Ketchum's The Girl Next Door. Most would be bored to tears - nevermind any visceral understanding, they'd be catching flies...
     
  14. mmyap

    mmyap Member

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    Well I guess I'm a pretty good mom then, Mcilroga. I agree, you have to be able to differentiate between fantasy and reallity. There are no such things as zombies, monster, etc. We enjoyed them (spooky movies) as a family, made fun of the predictability and campiness of them. October is a big thing in our house because between all the goofy spooky movies you also have the history channel airing shows about the real legend of vampirism and so forth. It's interesting and makes for a fun month.

    My kids are older now so we're long passed the stage where I needed to think twice about what they were exposed to. I think they have a really healthy sense of fantasy vs. reality.
     
  15. I'm glad you make fun of them, mmyap, it shows that's it all just make-believe. And just look at the holiday Halloween. Halloween was certainly my favourite holiday as a child, and I have a feeling most children would agree. And that involves getting dressed up as an evil character - essentially being in his/her shoes. Thousands of children every year become pretend vampires who drink blood, or zombies who eat people, or Jason Voorhees with the big wielding machete and the hockey mask. They also go in haunted houses, where people in real life scare the crap out of them. Doesn't get any closer to the "restriction" than that, a movie almost seems like nothing in comparison, doesn't it? :) haha Yet most of us always seem to turn out fine - because it's just pretend. It gives us a bit of character. Being scared is sometimes a good thing.

    As far as language goes, I've heard swear words all my life. Not necessarily from parents, but it's pretty unavoidable. I was always told just not to say it, and it worked. It was a "bad" word. But I don't feel children are ever going to be successfully exempt from these words, because they're seemingly everywhere. I think from the beginning I knew what they sounded like, I just found other words to say instead. "Shoot" was a childhood favourite. :)

    Of course I could get into how ridiculous I feel it is that "bad" words exist at all. Essentially someone just made one up and labeled it a "curse." Maybe in 400 years, "chair" will be a bad word. :p
     
  16. readsalot

    readsalot Member

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    One of my favorite books: The Cry of the Icemark is great but I wouldn't say it's a "kid's" book. Probably recommended for age 13-14 (low end of YA?)
     
  17. Azhria Lilu

    Azhria Lilu Member

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    My eldest daughter (she's just turned 11) is an avid reader, which I heartily promote. I don't restrict her reading, but I will occasionally suggest to her that a book she's considering may not be what she will be comfortable with (if there are explicit sex scenes and suchlike). Thankfully, she's still very much in the "eewww boys" stage of life, so the mere suggestion of romance in a book and she runs in the opposite direction screaming. Other than that, I don't restrict her at all. She's very much into horror - mainly zombies - so when she discovered World War Z, we had a chat about the content, since I'd already read it, and I showed her a few of the more gruesome descriptions in the book - they didn't put her off, just made her want to read it more. We have an agreement that if she starts having nightmares about something she's read, or it starts to bother/concern her then we discuss it and she puts the book down and takes a break from it.
     
  18. nammy

    nammy New Member

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    well I myself am a kid(most people say) and my parents never ever stopped me reading any book and I always had the freedom to read any book I want so basically in the future I'll allow my kids too to enjoy such freedom. They have their own minds. Why stop them from reading stuff... By gaining knowledge in every field, they'll be able to differentiate better on whats right and what's wrong...
     
  19. blackbeard

    blackbeard Member

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    Wonder how kids will react to 1984 and Blood Meridian...
     
  20. Bullyboy

    Bullyboy Member

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    Realistically...as a former kid and raising five to assumed adulthood...as a parent you can't stop your children from doing a blessed thing unless it involves duct tape and cutting them off to any freedom whatsoever. Kids will be kids, I remember being a preteen and feeding a neighbors cats while they were on vacation...JACKPOT, the husband had 3 years of Playboy back issues...I was a weird kid even then...while my good buddy was oogling the obvious, I really WAS reading the articles...Norman Mailer, Vonnegut...who are these guys and how do I find more??? Ditto for books like Richard Wright on my Dad's nightstand. The situations were way above my understanding but even then knew when I saw great writing. Within reason don't try to censor your kids reading...it probably won't work anyway.
     

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