Friday, October 05, 2007

Banned Books week Sept 29-Oct 6th--Salem's Lot

When I was a senior (I think, either that or a junior) in high school, a complaint was lodged against a book in our school library. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. And it was pulled.

Now, in a prior year, on a free pick book report, I did a report on this very book. So, it seemed silly to me to pull the book out the library, when I had read it at a younger age than I was when they banned it.

There were protests by students. A local book store gave away free copies of Salem’s Lot to anyone who wanted them from my hometown. But the book stayed out of the school library. I don’t know if Salem's Lot was ever put back.

It bothered me greatly then, and it bothers me greatly now. Our understanding was that one parent objected to it being available to their child. So a whole host of other children, who might have derived some enjoyment from reading it, were not allowed to do so. And several of us had read the book years before so it wasn't age inappropriate.

My hubby and I had a rousing discussion on challenged books Wednesday night because of all my blogging this week.

He asked me, “So if the oldest kidlet wants to read It (also by King) in 8th grade, are you going to let her?”

I thought about it a minute and then said, “Yes.”

LOL I think I surprised him. I followed it with, “I was in 9th grade when I read It.” And I read a whole host of Stephen King books earlier than that.

Yes, I still think of her as my little girl (same with the youngest), and it’s odd to think about what she’s ready to read and what she’s not, only to realize…there aren’t that many years between her age now and when I read things. I was reading Sydney Sheldon, Kathleen Woodiwiss, and Stephen King when I was in junior high school and maybe even before then.

She and I have many bridges to cross with books. Some I may wait on (like I did with Blubber by Judy Blume last year). Some I'm going to give her the go ahead, like the next Harry Potter book, which is now resting on her shelves, waiting for her to pick it up.

But just because I feel something isn’t appropriate for my child yet, it doesn’t mean I have to pull the book off a library shelf, whether school or public. It means I do my job as a parent, talk to my child about it, and figure out things with her.

May books never be banned


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