Maya and Clara

Is this book appropriate for an 11 year-old?

Bekah I suppose it depends on the maturity of the child, but I think I would wait until they are 13 or 14. It's a great and inspiring story, definitely worth reading. But it's also squarely in the PG-13 range, due to language, mild sexual content, and other grown-up themes (family alcohol use).

I wouldn't say it's "ruining the minds" of any kids, especially not a child who has a better understanding of grammar than the person who made that comment.

It's about a young man living between two worlds, and taking the higher road, even when it isn't easy. It's not "reading a messed up kid's thoughts". It's reading about somebody who uses their gifts to choose a better path than the life he was born into. Too bad that message isn't "clean" enough for some.

Anyway, I am a 32-year-old college educated woman and a former high school teacher, and I definitely saw both the merit and amusement in it.

In a couple of years, I hope that your 11-year-old will, too!
David In general I would say no. Sherman Alexie is funny and creates characters that are real people. Some of themes require greater maturity than most 11 year olds possess. However I don't think it will ruin anyone's mind. This is probably in reference to the main character's (developmentally appropriate) candid expressions regarding his preoccupation with sex and girls.
I am way past being a young adult and enjoyed it immensely.
Kelley Perhaps this would be a book that you read with your 11-year-old. That way, you can discuss the parts which require a little more maturity, and also discuss what your family finds appropriate and inappropriate. As an English teacher, this would be my suggestion.
✨Scarlet✨ I'm 12 and I read it, some parts of it are more mature but overall I think it is a super important book for kids our age to read.
Johnny Yes i read and i am 11
Minh Hua I am 12 and I read it it does have a some parts of mature content but its your choice
Hope L. Justice I am a children's librarian. I think this book is amazing, but I would not suggest it for an 11 year old. I would call this book PG 13 as well, so where you child falls in within those topical issues that merit warning is your decision.
Suzanna Fitch I just finished this book, AND I have an 11 year-old. I considered encouraging him to give the book a try, but ultimately decided that a few of the themes were just slightly too mature for his reading tastes (although we've already discussed masturbation, sexual attraction, and even alcohol). However, if he were to have picked up this book on his own, I wouldn't stop him from reading it. I'd simply let him know that if he has any issues or questions, that I'm always willing to listen and discuss them. Ultimately, I feel that this is a book best left for the 13-14 year-olds; as those few years changes their viewpoint tremendously.
Cheryl My son just turned 12 and got this book for his birthday from a family friend that knows us well. He's almost done with it. We tend to read books of this nature together so there is a lot of dialogue between an adult who has a better concept of life (most of the time anyway) and his life experiences. He also happens to be a pretty mature kid. I wouldn't have picked this for him myself, but I also wasn't going to delay his reading of it. If he started it and was overwhelmed by it, I would've told him to set it aside for a year or two and try again, but that wasn't the case. He's devoured it. He takes breaks to read passages out loud to us, make comments, ask questions, etc. It's been a good fit for him/our family, but again, it isn't something I would've have picked at this point.
Kammera Sadly, NO! I SO wish that it had sightly cleaner language! I am so hard pressed to find a good book that deals with these issues but cannot seem to find any ! I am trying to find books that deal with poverty and making good choices with an authentic feel to it. But as a teacher, I can't read this aloud. uugh!!! Any suggestions out there?
Hannah I would say no. I am in high school and reading this book, and I was surprised at how advanced the language/topics are in the book. The book does have a low lexile level, but I would not recommend it to someone of such a young age. This is an amazing book and I would definitely recommend it to the younger teens! I think everyone should read it as some point in their life.
Carolina Söderberg If the child is fluent in english, I think that that it is. Although, some parts might be pretty inpropriate for an 11 year-old.
Vee welp theyre 18 now so you cant stop em now lmao
Julius This book contains some foul language, but if you have a mature audience then it is a great book.
Stephen The woman author who writes the forward in the 10th anniversary edition speaks of choosing this as bed-time reading for her pre-teen son. Frankly I cannot picture a mother reading a bed-time story to a pre-teen male that touches this directly on masturbation. The main character is supposed to be a 14 year old hormonal young teen guy. I think that the story deserves to be read but if you're concerned about the maturity of your child, there are plenty of tamer books. That said the book brought this 60+ year old to tears and to out loud laughter more than once.
James C Depends on how mature the kid is and what the person knows and doesn't know ive seen a room full of 8th graders handle it pretty well just really depends on your child's maturity level.
Eloise I let saw my sister read it, and she's 9
Edvard Yes, it would probably be perfectly fine, as you can't shelter kids from reality for forever. If it isn't meant for that age range, then I don't know who would enjoy it to be quite honest (other than childish teens and adults, I suppose).
Oscar Sanchez we'll they're 15 now aren't they
JoAnne I would say wait until the child is 15 or 16 due to adult language.
Isaac Kuhls It might be a small bit too mature but I think they'll enjoy it.
Laurie Not for an 11 year old. That's pushing it. Possibly junior high kids if they are mature enough. The challenge with this book is that the reading level is pretty basic -- about 5th or 6th grade level -- but the subject matter is much more mature. It would be a good choice for kids in their first or second year of high school who are behind in their reading skills and need to catch up and get engaged with the whole idea of reading.
Cyndi Meeks I wouldn't give this book to an 11 year old.
Cynthia Wiley It's too mature for a 11 year old but for ages 13 or up it should be fine. It's a book both parents and young adults will enjoy. It goes on some very controversial subjects that some parents may find offensive but truth be told it something that kids see often nowadays. Eventually I wouldn't be surprised to see this book as a recommend book that kids are assigned to read.
Latoya Faulk Good book! My favorite part of this book is page 94-95. This is when Arnold befriends Gordon, and Gordon teaches him how to read. I love this book, it does tackle some pretty touchy subjects: racism, whiteness in the young Native American imagination, masturbation, childhood trauma, love, violence, abuse, and alcoholism. I'm still trying to decide whether I'll pass this along to my 12 year old son to read. It feels a little too mature for where he is in his life.
Steve I would think a 13 year old might get much more from this wonderful book than an 11 year old, depending on the 11 year old. Lots of death, violence, and alcoholism to cope with throughout the book.
Ben C. No. This isn't really a book for an 11 year old. I am 13 years old and reading this book and even for me it can get a little bit extreme in language especially in the chapter "How to Fight Monsters."
Jordan I don't think so... It uses some strong language, and hard topic to deal with, but kids should know about these things by now.
Berfinnur it is a veryyyy inappropriate book especially for middle schoolers!! even though it is written in a 7th grade level doesnt mean its their age appropriate!!i mean what the hell this book is ruining the mind of perfectly innocent kids!!1 why cant people write "cleaner" books for once!! not everyone wants to read about a messed up kids thoughts!!!
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