July 29, 2004
Reading for DISpleasure
There are good books of course; I am not denying that. But some of what is turned out by writers is just disgusting.
About twelve years ago, when my oldest was about 10, she came to me with a book that terrified her. It was one of those books that you get from the school book fair. What could be so horrible?
Try: adolescent serial killer. And it wasn't a joke. The story featured a kid of about 10 who got revenge on all her older sister's friends who had the gall to go on with life after her sister was brain damaged in a riding accident. The book starts with the accident and continues on from there, including the suicide of the ten year old.
THIS IS APPROPRIATE READING FOR AN ADOLESCENT!!! Yeah I'm shouting. I don't see anyone who would find that book fulfilling. What a horrifing concept and what editor allowed it past their desk. I wish I remembered the name of the book but it went out into the trash.
All books don't have to have heavy duty moral concepts in them; but most good books do teach something. FOG MAGIC teaches children about loss in a very subtle way. BEHIND THE BEDROOM WALL teaches about the Holocaust,courage,and standing up for what is right. One of my favorite books, MOMO, by Michael Ende, teaches so many different ideas that it is hard for me to annotate. There is fear and saddness in all these books. Many books deal with painful subjects; but an adolescent doesn't need ugliness thrust into their head.
There is so many years for a child to learn about the ugliness of the world. Let them learn the beautiful first; the shield and sword that allows them to conquer the