I am a parent to two preschoolers who are readers, even when it is not "story time" at the library or our daily scheduled story time. I often find them in bed most mornings looking at the pictures in their books. I try to round out their reading with diverse books from the library. I know what my kids like, but I also know that to make reading fun, sometimes I have to go beyond Dr. Seuss to reading books a little above their age group.

 

Being active in my kids' reading lives allows me to know what interests them and to be there to answer (if I can) their questions from their reading. My parents were not involved in my reading, but allowed me to read whatever I wanted and made going to the library a regular event (we had one local [county] library plus the school library). I was always reading above my supposedly age/reading level, because I could. I read my Sweet Valley High book the summer between 1st and 2nd grade (paid with my own birthday money). I had a couple questions, so I asked mom and she answered. She didn't go ballistic and demanded the store take back the books that they sold me which were above my age group. She bought two SVH puzzles for me for Christmas that year instead (yes, I have the coolest mom EVER. And she is even a cooler Grandma).

 

So I find it frustrating as hell when I see books are challenged on the basis of "unsuitable for age group." Kids in the same age group have a varied of backgrounds; kids who grew up in the same hometown all through their childhood bring a different background experience to a book that kids who grew up as military brats have. And that is just one example. To say that your kids shouldn't read a particular book because they don't have the maturity/experience to handle the content - well, good for you to identify that and ask for an alternative. To say that ALL kids in that age/reading group shouldn't read a particular book because your kids can't handle the content is wrong; especially so when dealing with books with diverse characters. I do think that schools should have alternatives to book choices so that students' academic career is not sidelined by a parent's objection to particular material, but I would hope that those alternative choices address the same themes and situations that the original choice addresses.

 

If a high school student is taking an AP class in literature or English, then that student should be ready to handle college level literature choices and the themes/situations; if not, do not take that class. Also do not have your parents challenge books in those classes. Parents can't (or shouldn't be allowed to) do that when you are in college, so why should AP classes be any different? If you want college credit while still in high school, prepare yourself for the work, including reading adult books.

 

What is your take?