During Banned Books Week we consider who dictates what we can and cannot read. How do we decide age-appropriate reading for kids?
Banned Books Week 2022
Debate rages on about book banning. I believe we can all agree that adults in the United States have the freedom to read whatever they choose to read. Our minds are fully formed at about age 21, according to neuro-science.
X-rated, R-rated, and M-rated movies would not be allowed in public elementary or middle schools because they are considered inappropriate for younger viewers.
If we apply the same standards to literature in school libraries, what is the objection?
But let’s consider what reading material is age appropriate for younger readers. We can measure reading comprehension. Students learn to handle increasingly complex levels of vocabulary and sentence structures as they age.
What of content? Movies have ratings based on the subject matter, vocabulary, levels of violence, and sexual content. Lately, I’ve seen warnings in movies about smoking shown in them.
When my daughter was 13, she spent the night at another girl’s house and watched Psycho. She demanded to use the bathtub instead of the shower for six months. This tells me she was not mentally prepared to handle the level of blood and violence in that movie at that age.
I firmly believe our minds absorb what we feed them. Fear, violence, the glorification of evil in all its forms have an effect on the mind.
I support choosing books to support the age level of the reader. I strongly object to banning books because someone wants to rewrite history or condemn past cultures and civilizations.
It is absurd to demand historical novels portray the values of today’s society. They cannot. They reflect the values and conditions of their time. In fact, public outrage over Wilkie Collin’s 1859 book The Woman in White led to changes in British law to protect women with greater legal rights.
Let us educate young minds and encourage creativity and freedom of thought without burdening kindergartners to decide on their future sex lives or set their identities in cement.
Teach the Golden Rule–to treat one another the way we want to be treated–along with math, science, history, language, social studies, art, and sports.
Leave out the race-shaming, revisionist history, and vogue social agendas. We don’t allow religion in public schools, so how about if we stop forcing opposite value systems on kids?
We are falling behind other nations scholastically. Less indoctrination. More basic education.
The Space Coast Writer’s Guild sponsored me to teach an editing workshop and it was a huge success! Editing Down to the Bones!
East of Evil is a semi-finalist in two unpublished categories of the Royal Palm Literary Awards!
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