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07 December 2015 @ 10:47 am
Taking care  
I have been following a thread on a professional listserv. The focus of the discussion was on a challenge to Gayle Forman's JUST ONE DAY. The original challenge came from the parent of a middle school student who believed the book was too mature for her daughter. I wish the parent had simply had the child return the book. Even if she had included a note indicating she believed the content to be beyond middle school kids, I think I would have sided with the parent: this was a book deemed not appropriate for her daughter. Of course, it never ends there, does it? The parent wanted the book removed. And so there was some discussion on the listserv.

One librarian did point out that the book would have worked better with older readers and suggested perhaps it would be fine in a high school library. Another chimed in that he/she would not have the book in a junior high library and that kids could just get it from a bookstore or a public library. Yet another pointed to a "rating" of the book from a web site that provides "guidance" about books for tweens and teens. As the discussion continued, a curious thing occurred: these professionals sounded more like gatekeepers.

I worry about shrugging off books as something kids can obtain elsewhere. There are MANY kids for whom a bookstore purchase or a trip to a public library is NOT an option. And there are web resources that seek to label books in much the same way they do TV shows and movies and music. So what separates a G from a PG from a PG-13? And who makes those decisions?

There is a very, very fine line between selection and censorship. It is easy to cross that line. We need to take care in our discussions as well that we are not giving even A HINT that we have crossed the line.
 
 
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