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message 1: by Chloe (new)

Chloe (countessofblooms) | 1128 comments Wow. That is the most ridiculous thing that I've ever heard.

message 2: by Emma (new)

Emma  Blue (litlover) | 2389 comments Good god. Obviously, there are things that are inappropiate for children, but you should never ban books because of age. Maturity is what matters. What is appropiate for one 13 year old may not be for another.

message 3: by Emma (new)

Emma  Blue (litlover) | 2389 comments Which is how it should be.

message 4: by Emma (last edited Sep 04, 2008 05:21PM) (new)

Emma  Blue (litlover) | 2389 comments Ack!!!! As if I didn't dislike Palin already....

message 5: by Emma (new)

Emma Doesn't this already exist in certain forms? In elementary school, I remember reading books with age recommendations printed on them by the publisher. And honestly, I don't see the big deal. Those recommendations never deterred me from picking up or reading a book; in fact, we hardly ever looked at them.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

This is utterly disgusting. I have raised my children to be book addicts. WE read, read & read. I think it is up to the parents to decide what is appropriate, just as Ken stated.

I was reading Shakespeare plays by age 12 and enjoyed them. I can't imagine not being able to read some of the books I read as a child/teen. I actually even promote some books to my children.

If I think there is something inappropriate I tell them that they can read it when I feel that they are ready which varies with my children as the maturity level is different in each child.

Where do these people come from that think banning books and placing an age on them is even appropriate?

Last year my 12 year old tried to check out The first book in the Wheel of time and the libririan told her she needed my permission. I asked her why she said it wasn't appropriate for her age. I asked if she ever read the book she said no. I asked how she then could say it wasn't appropriate and she said the cover didn't look appropriate? WHAT? THat was just nuts.

And Palin. That is just sick! Who gives her the right? Books shouldn't be banned.

message 7: by Emma (last edited Sep 04, 2008 06:26PM) (new)

Emma Everyone is aware that no one is suggesting any books be banned, right?

It seems everyone in this thread is going after a straw man.

message 8: by Ari (last edited Sep 04, 2008 07:39PM) (new)

Ari (aricl) | 54 comments I'm a little surprised about this strong reaction to an apparently harmless idea. Still, I know that what seems harmless to me may very well seem dangerous to others, specially since experiences with book banning/challenging and/or censorship in general can differ greatly from country to country.

Here in Chile at least, most childrens' books publishers do have age-bands as advisory only and have had them for a long time. This has always been regarded as a guidance/recommendation only, and it has never been attempted to enforce it as "official" censorship. To be honest, I don't remember a single time when someone glanced at me strangely for buying or checking out a book recommended for a different age-band (e.g., Hamlet when I was 11, Exodus around the same age, etc.).

The only instance of censorship and book-banning that I remember -after 1990, I mean, for obvious reasons- was political and it affected a book about corruption in Chile's judicial system. The banning was overruled pretty quickly though, as it was declared inconstitutional.

Still, I am perfectly aware that when it comes to book-challenging and banning attempts, things in the US (for example) are quite different. I admit I know nothing about this subject in the UK, so I would love and appreciate it if someone were kind enough to explain why it is that they see this suggested age-band advisory as a threat and as a potential platform for future book-banning.

Thanks! :)

message 9: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia (pandoraphoebesmom) | 1826 comments As a librarian I could see banding not so much for age but more for reading grade level...our library has easy's, easy readers (which have a reading level system of their own), juvenile and young adult and then of course adult...but they are not arranged by grade level for the kids so when parents come and ask for a book for a 4th grader...we can point them in the right section easily but without a specific topic it can be hard sometimes to come up with a suggestion right on the spot.

If we had a band or color coded system for grade level then you could point that out. They would be a guideline more than anything else not to prohibit a 4th grader from reading a 5th grade book if they read on that level.

That would be the only benefit in my mind.

message 10: by Emma (last edited Sep 04, 2008 08:06PM) (new)

Emma I understand your concern, Leppaluoto, but don't really share it. Labeling is a far cry from banning or restricting. I firmly agree that no book should be banned or restricted (perhaps with VERY strict exceptions) but have little problem with age guides which is what I assume is being proposed. If such bands are instated, children should not be dissuaded from reading outside their band, rather they should be encouraged to read at whatever level they are comfortable.

Why could this not occur? Doesn't it already? As I mentioned before, I distinctly remember picking up books with age recommendations on them. I really don't know much about this issue so perhaps I'm mistaken.

message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (goosers34) Cynthia, what a perfect solution!

I am just wondering where parental responsiblity comes into play here? When I was young, my parents had restrictions for me; that is not to say they "banned" books from me. But quite frankly, I was way to young to be reading "Forever" (Judy Blume) when my mom took it away from me at age 12.

Where are the parents? It seems like more and more things are being taken away or restricted from use of minors by our government. which has not stopped our children from growing up too quickly.

But I do agree that some things should not be available to minors in libraries. Just like the computers filter material for children, so should a librarian be allowed to ask a parental permission for materials being checked out. A sales clerk at the video or music store cannot (or is not suppose to )allow minors to purchase "Parental Advisory" labeled material. So why can't a librarian ask a child's parent if that young adult book may be too adult?

message 12: by Sarah (last edited Sep 04, 2008 08:20PM) (new)

Sarah (goosers34) Leppaluto, as I read the article she was not fired. but retired years after the incident.

message 13: by Ann from S.C. (new)

Ann from S.C. | 1395 comments I can say that I have not read every book out there, or seen every movie, or listened to every song, so I feel as a parent of young kids (9 and 13) I need to rely on certain sources to let me know on the ratings on certain books, movies, songs, etc. That is why there are ratings on movies and songs. And maybe that is why some books are "banned". Now, I have seen that one list of banned books,(on the list thread) and can say, I can't see why most of those books are on there.

I guess we can only parent our kids to the best of our abilty, and pray they survive!! I mean, I did and I read Rosemary Rogers and the smut she put out. What was my Mom thinking?? lol (She was in the next room reading VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. )Talk about books that should have been banned...jk

message 14: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (goosers34) let me add that as a parent of two boys (who I hope and pray love reading as much as I do), I will applaud the person who questions their choices.

message 15: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (goosers34) or possibly because she had a better opportunity elswhere. the article does not say one way or the other. so without facts how can we assume it was because of intimidation? just a thought.

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

As adults and parents we should be in charge of what our children read. I have noticed in my neighborhood some parents who don't care what their children do, listen too, watch, ect (granted most of these children wouldn't be caught dead in a library or bookstore).

But my parents raised me to read, and actually my father always asked what I was reading. Once in a book store I actually saw the book Valley of the Dolls (I was about 14 at the time)and asked my dad if I could get it-I thought the title sounded good. My father told me it wasn't appropriate. He briefly explained why, and I have never had an interest in the book.

I think this should be a parents responsibility. We know our children, we know their maturity, reading level & intelligence. We know what books they could, couldn't handle.

I think this is our government trying to sneak in and take some of our rights away. Granted my children are avid readers their are some books that they have asked if they could read (specifically Phillipa Gregory). I told them that the stories are good but the contents are not appropriate for a 12 and 14 year old. Needless to say they can't read her books at this time by my rules. But the only book my daughter was ever told she needed parental permission number 1: not read by the librian that told her this 2: the book had no swear words, sexual contents, drug use ect. It was along the lines of Lord of the Rings 3: the librian didn't like the cover which had a boy with a bow & arrow and a girl on a horse (very harmless). I recommended the book to my child, who loved it and I personally felt that if you don't know what's in the book, the parent recommended it/allowed it then why try to stop the child?

With CD's that just came out they have Parent advisory stickers for sexual content, swear words. This might be a recommendation but to say you can't check/buy this book because your not 17 (just an example)I think is unjustified. I was reading books and plays in junior high that my teachers thought were too difficult to understand (Shakespeare, Hemingway) I had no problems and loved their work. What would have become of my love for reading if I had been completely hampered?

message 17: by silvia (new)

silvia  | 282 comments I dont have kids but I'm very sensible on the subject because my personal experience growing up.
my dad always encouraged me to read. He bougth lots of books and to make sure I read them I had tasks related to the books. answer question, make copies etc.

also I always had book around me. my grand father was a huge stack of books (lots of them not advised for kids)and later so did my father. And my natural curiosity and love for books complelled me irresistible to them

I remenber once when i was about ten I've picked a book from my grandad's library, it was a play about a family oof fishermans. my mum was quite histerical when she saw me whit the book. she got mad at me and at my grandparents for allowing me to take it out. It wasn't for my age... and I coulnd't undersant what was wrong about the book. recently I came across it again and only know I understod the probleam. the play is called the promisse and the story goes around the probleams on a young french married couple that on a storm nigth promised they would never have sex if the groom's father returned alive from the sae that nigth. nut nothing of this is speaked hopenly, and on my inocent 10y old mind there was no hint to sex in that book. so my mother didnt need to get that histerical!
especially because of her proibition later i've started reading some tother of my granddads books secretly. I've read moll flandres and fanny hill. but I was in high school by then.

Also I've started reading edgar allan poe when I was 14, from my dad's library. I guess most people would consider it unapropriate for that age. well what I mean is that I was a bit preoce on my reading tastes. there was a time when suposedly teen books werent challeg enough

message 18: by Charity (new)

Charity (charityross) It's a slippery slope. One person's using the banding properly for age-recommended reading is another person's excuse to pluck it from the shelves. Do they necessarily go hand in hand? No. But, like I said, it's a slippery slope.

message 19: by Chloe (new)

Chloe (countessofblooms) | 1128 comments There seems to be a lot of conjecture about what Palin got up to with the Wasila library so I thought I would post a link to an interesting article by Glenn Greenwald that really lays it out:

It's a bit lengthy but definitely worth reading.

message 20: by Emma (last edited Sep 05, 2008 01:28PM) (new)

Emma My parents paid vague attention to what I read, mostly because I would constantly talk about whatever I had on the go, but, as far as I remember, they never prevented me from reading anything. This was not the case with movies, tv shows, etc, so much of what I picked up about the adult world came from books.

When I was about 11, I started to move on from children's and YA books, and ventured into the world of ostensibly 'adult' novels: Barbara Kingsolver, Jane Austen, Catherine Cookson (yes, I was a 70 year old). And never, in material such as that, did I feel what I was reading was age inappropriate. So I'm a little baffled by all these parents claiming that their teens are too young to read...well, anything.

Children find what they are comfortable with and honestly, I see little point in policing books unless the child is VERY young, in which case they probably won't be able to read an unsuitable book anyway.

message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Emma, while I agree with you and can understand your sentiment, I believe when you have children, the thought will at least cross your mind and you will at least understand where the notion comes from. It is about overcoming that notion as a parent to avoid being overly protective.

message 22: by Santina (new)

Santina (littlesaintina) | 76 comments I know this is about Age Banding, but regarding the library banning books, that should be illegal. A library is a public place, paid for with public tax dollars and therefore should give us access to any book. If anyone doesn’t like it, don’t pick it up. In fact I think all libraries should have a banned books section. Reading is part of gaining knowledge and that should never be banned.

Now regarding the banding I agree with a previous post that grade level is a nice way to go. If my child is reading at a level 3 grades above her she should read those books, regardless of her age. She should always be striving to read more and read books that are a challenge; not sitting with books deemed her age level, never reading anything to challenge her. Besides who the hell decides? What I allow is not what another parent might allow, it's ridiculous to forces the beliefs of a few people on all parents.

I also agree with Leppaluoto, Kids will only read what they are interested in, and if they can't understand it they will lose interest. Yes TV is different, even I find myself watching crap I can't stand, so I believe in restricting TV and movies, but the written word is left entirely up the imagination of the reader and age banding it just another way for the governments to control what we're reading.

message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Again, I am not for banning books, but is it really the government trying to ban the books or is it a group of misguided citizens that lobby for it to happen?

message 24: by Abigail (42stitches) (last edited Sep 05, 2008 11:08AM) (new)

Abigail (42stitches) | 360 comments This makes me think of the Chik-tracts that were circulating about the Harry Potter books. Absolutely silly, although possibly well meaning, but really only served to scare gullible, uneducated parents. My parents let me read whatever I wanted and the library never stopped me. Even when i got into Stephen king and John Irving at about 13 and 14, they never said a word. Of course, I think they had forgotten about the sexy bits. And I glazed over those too, because at the time it wasn't on my mind. I was more interested in the inter-personal relationships and plots. Kids will get out of reading whatever their interested in. Best to just let them read it and come up with their own questions.

I don't see age recommendations as a problem. It may even be helpful, but it should be understood that those are not set in stone age brackets. It would actually be more helpful to label books like movies, based on the amount of foul language and "adult situations" they contain.

message 25: by Sera (last edited Sep 05, 2008 07:36PM) (new)

Sera The government needs to stop legislating morality and telling its citizens what is good or not for good for them by way of books, music, video games or anything else. With all of the other problems going on in the world, the last thing anyone should be worried about is labeling books. Most of the labeling is all moot anyway, because most parents don't pay attention to the labels, just like they don't use the parental controls on their televisions, etc.

message 26: by Marsha (new)

Marsha Wow, interesting discussion.

I could speak from personal experience. But does my individual experience matter? I don't really think so, because I tend to believe that what is right for one person is not necessarily okay for others.

There are many factors here- the cognitive, emotional, and moral developmental level of the reader, the beliefs of the parents, the level of involvement of the parents, education of the parents and the reader, value placed on the arts, value placed on education, personal beliefs of the parent and the reader about violence and sexuality (to name just a couple of the main categories "of concern" that come up). Spiritual beliefs, individual past experiences, level of community involvement (for instance, are the same five people running the PTA for the last five years because no one else wants the job), economic issues (who has the control to put rating systems into place and who benefits from such ratings).

I'm just rambling here... but all of these issues come into play. Values are everything.

I do have kids. I love them. I talk to them every day. I know I can't protect them from the world and I try to let just a little bit more in at a time so it doesn't become overwhelming for them, so they have the tools they need to handle the things the world throws at them. But I am not doing them any favors if I fail to prepare them for real life.

Good books are about real life- the world that we live in. That world is ugly, and sexy, and scary, and exhilarating. It's drudgery and it is joyous. People do things to be ashamed of... maybe more often than they do things they can be proud of. We hurt each other... personally, professionally, and also on societal and national levels.

My kids can read what they want. It's my job to read it with them and talk with them about it.

message 27: by Angela (new)

Angela | 64 comments As a librarian and teacher, I am glad that we are having a rich discussion. When I read this article, I focused on this statement:

"Age-banding seeks to help adults choose books for children, and we're all in favour of that; but it does so by giving them the wrong information. It’s also likely to encourage over-prescriptive or anxious adults to limit a child's reading in ways that are unnecessary and even damaging."

After age 5, my parents did not choose books for me anymore. Instead, we went to the library every Monday night to pick out books of our own choosing. My sister and I had our own library cards so we felt empowered when going through the checkout line. Additionally, my parents often gave us gift certificates to Encore books or Waldenbooks so we could pick out our own books.

That said:

As a teacher, I would think that it is somewhat helpful to have the age banding, especially for the younger grades. I'm wondering if the age banding is a technique used by companies like Scholastic or Penguin in order to sell more books to schools/school librarians, (?)Hopefully, the school librarian or teacher has a sense of their clientele. Therefore, after a short interview (likes, dislikes, types of books, favorite authors, if you like this than....), they can point the child in the right direction. After that, it is time for the child to decide.

I agree that age banding can lead to censorship when adults are picking books for a child. Also, I agree that most readers will not continue reading a book if he/she does not understand the text or loses interest after the first few pages. I completely agree with Marsha that the world is a series of paradoxes. If we did not embrace this, we would be automatons.

message 28: by A.J. (new)

A.J. I think that in focusing on how age banding will affect kids and adults selecting books, people are ignoring a more pernicious effect on the other side of the business.

In a world of age banding, an author who aims a book at a certain age group may find it age banded at an older age group because the content is deemed inappropriate -- and the older age group is not going to be interested, as it is in other ways below their level. So the book dies on the vine.

And publishers, being in the business of selling books rather than letting them die on the vine, will be less likely to take risks. Books will be published to satisfy standards imposed by a small number of adults, rather than to address an audience.

That's far more important and worrisome than some librarian or bookseller telling my kid he can't read a certain book -- because I can always tell that librarian or bookseller where to catch the bus. But I can't let my kid read a book that never found its way into print.

message 29: by rebecca j (new)

rebecca j (technophobe) | 6029 comments I don't see much use for labeling books as Young Adult either - the reader knows what is interesting to them, regardless of their age. I read books from the YA section of the bookstore and order books from Scholastics TAB book orders all the time, and I'll be 48 this month! We have a sunday school class we call Young Adult class and we have students from 20 to 75 in it. Honestly, some of them probably couldn't understand some of today's YA market, and some of the 15 yr. olds understand much more complex books than them. When are people going to understand that age has nothing to do with intelligence or ability! Once they hit puberty, you can't keep them from smoking, drinking, cussing, etc., why are you trying to control what they read? Trust me, the ideas in books will do less harm than what they learn on the school bus, and what you didn't teach them when they were younger. By the time they reach YA age, your influence is waning - putting a label on the book won't stop them from reading it - they're more likely to want to read it if you are against it! Teach them morals and values while they are very young, then trust them to use those values when they read.

Tim (Mole) The Gunslinger (Mole) | 103 comments My God this is insanity where will it stop parents should be the ones who say something is inapropriate for there children no one else!

Whats next Farenheit 451? When I was kid I read at a higher level than some and if I would have been stopped from reading what interested me I would have never gained the love I have for reading! And your all right if there trying to read above there level they will lose intrest.

And there not going to see anything or learn anything so horrible that there not going to get from television or real life experience!

message 31: by Beth (new)

Beth Knight (zazaknittycat) | 501 comments I hate that Palin woman even more!

message 32: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thenightowl) For those of you who mentioned the Palin vs the librarian was a new story today on the Good Morning America Show. I didn't catch the whole thing, but they said that Palin questioned the librarian regarding the process of restriction, but was not specifically targeting any books. They also said the librarian was fired, but she was reinstated due to community uproar that ensued, and then after a period of time the librarian left on her own volition because it was too much pressure for her working under Palin. Unfortunately, I'm on a work computer so I can't link the website video, but if you go to you can watch it.

message 33: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments Doesn't it depend from child to child if he has a certain age to read it? I remember I finsihed with four or five other kids of my class the highest reading level at school while many other hadn't and they were all at a different level but had all the same age. Also personal experience is important to know if a child should read a certain book or not. Some people are ready, some not.

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