There was an interesting piece in the op-ed section of the New York Times yesterday entitled: A COMMON CORE FOR ALL OF US. Here is the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/opinion/sunday/a-common-core-for-all-of-us.html?ref=opinion&_r=0. The author discusses being part of a conference where university folks assemble to get information about "common" or "campus" reads. My university has had a freshman read for many years now. This year the final two books include the usual nonfiction written for adults and a dystopic novel, one of the first fiction considerations ever. While I do not agree with the author's contentions about CCCSS in general, the final paragraph of the op-ed piece are fascinating: "Maybe what we need is a common core for families, in which mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, all read the same book, and sit down at the table to talk about it. Having a language in common doesn’t mean we have to agree with one another. It simply means that we — as a family, a college or a country — can engage in a meaningful conversation about the life of the mind."
Actually, I think this idea would be beneficial all the time. Sitting down with what our kids are reading (and viewing and listening to as well) and having the frank discussion frightens some, I know. Heck, answering some of the questions that arose as a result of the former residents of the back bedroom reading IDENTICAL, LUNA, and SPEAK among others was something that gave me more confidence that my kids could handle more of what the world could throw at them.
Every time I see a book banned from a library or classroom I worry about the kids now denied access to the tough times that exist within the confines, the relatively safe confines, of a book. My own kids always had free access. Not so some of their classmates. Why are we so afraid that a book might transform someone from who they are to some sort of wild eyed crazy simply because of a book they read? Why do we ascribe so much power to a book? What do we fear?