Book Riot Gets It Right — AGAIN

I often read op-ed and blog posts that come across my Twitter feed when they have something do with advocacy or intellectual freedom.  This one caught my eye immediately:

Blog post 11-4

Particularly striking was this point:

“But, some might say, you’d let your 8-year-old read Lolita? You’d let your 10-year-old read Lady Chatterley’s Lover? And anything by Emile Zola???

Yes, yes I would. You know why? Because I believe that you connect with books that you’re meant to connect with at a specific time. Reading Thomas Hardy, for instance, informed how I read Salinger and Faulkner, Morrison and Mann. I read voraciously, and my parents, who didn’t read much fiction themselves, left me alone with my literary choices. My mom listened for hours as I told her about the books I was reading, and while she lifted eyebrows and asked questions, she never told me I wasn’t allowed to read something. For that I’m eternally grateful” (Cordasco, 2015).

So, so true.  I know that she is speaking about her own children, and that I certainly agree with her when it comes to my step-son and my younger brother, both of whom live with me currently.  It gets more complicated when it comes to the school children I serve.  In my school, which is over 80% F/R lunch, there is so little parental involvement that I have only had one challenge or request from a parent to restrict choice when it comes to class or independent reading.  I used to send out carefully crafted letters to “cover my ass” in case a parent had an objection to freedom of choice.  Never, not once, has a parent complained; rest assured, my students choose books with content that is often too sexual, too graphic, too violent, but I let them read it any way.  If they can successfully and tactfully write about what they are reading in meaningful ways and they are engaged in what they read, more power to them.  It is also important to note, however, that my students are all 17, 18, or 19 years old.  Maybe I would feel differently if they were younger.

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