My family enjoys the freedom to read every chance we get. This week, we’re celebrating that freedom as part of Banned Books Week, and we’re sharing our mugshots to help spread the word. To get your own mugshot, visit any Poudre River Public Library this week, then share it with your social media networks.
I confess. I am guilty. I read banned books:
My teenager reads banned books:
Even my toddler reads banned books:
To be honest, this week comes at an interesting time, as I’ve recently fielded a few cringe-worthy book requests from my 13-year-old. The Twilight series? The book snob in me rears an ugly head and suggests various classics instead. Stephen King horror books? I don’t think so.
As parents, how do we promote a freedom to read while also setting reasonable limits? How do we help them choose books for which they are developmentally and emotionally ready? How do we walk that line between censorship and parenting? Here are a few strategies I’ve employed over the years:
- Bargain: If you’re hesitant about a specific book, consider making a deal. For example, she can read the latest Lauren Myracle book after she reads The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Call of the Wild, The Grapes of Wrath, or whatever else you might choose.
- Read Together: I had some misgivings a couple of years ago when my daughter wanted to read The Hunger Games. My solution was to read it as well. We shared some wonderful mother/daughter moments discussing the book, seeing the movie, and shopping for Hunger Games t-shirts and Mockingjay pins.
- Do Your Research: It’s quite possible that my opinion of Twilight is unfair. I’ve never actually read the book, but I assume it has mature content. Worse, I imagine the writing must be terrible. So, to practice what I preach, I just looked it up on Common Sense Media. I expect she will be thrilled when I give her the go-ahead for this book. Next research task? Finding an age-appropriate Stephen King book.
- How to Say No: Sometimes, there’s a book that your child is just not quite ready for. When saying no to a specific book, use language that makes it clear she can read it eventually. You are not banning a book. Instead, you’re postponing it until it’s more developmentally appropriate.
Most importantly, I want my daughter to know that we can discuss the issues, controversies, and themes about which she reads. I want her to feel comfortable coming to me with her questions and thoughts. By talking about our book choices, we’re sharing ideas, expanding our knowledge, and strengthening our relationship. With perks such as these, what’s not to love about books?
For more information about Banned Books Week, local events, and the most banned books of 2012, please read the library blog here.