Bill Baar

I try and steer kids away from depressing things... especially anything focused on body image with my daughter. There are clearly trash books and I'd hate to think the school library would be buying them.


I'm also glad my parents let me read everything. When they thought it was crap, they flat out told me that and why.
And I think it was good that way. Because since they told me they think a book is dumb and why always made me (if i wanted or not, i had the criticizm always in the back of my mind) actually think and read it critically (which is an important thing to learn anyways) and then could decide on my own. Sometimes I disagreed with my parents but mostly I agreed (sometimes it took my years to agree but hey...).
Talking about teaching your kids an independent and critical world view...

The Happy Feminist

Yeah, talking to kids is key too!


I have to admit that although I would never support banning any book, when my son was little I struggled with the urge to track down Dav Pilkey and strangle him. (And I'm a Quaker and committed to non-violence!) My son and his best friend thought the Captain Underpants books were hilarious and fancied themselves George and Harold. Some of their imitative "adventures" almost got my 7-year-old kicked out of school. Yes, I explained why, even though the ideas were funny, they were mean and damaging in real life--and eventually the lessons kicked in, but not before some really bad stuff happened. Talking to other parents I've learned that our experience wasn't unique. The books are really clever and engaging, and if I didn't have kids I would probably have found them delightfully subversive. As it is when I see the books on those banned lists, I tsk-tsk about censorship, but there's a part of me that really, really gets it.


It never fails to amaze me that people want to control what their children read rather than encouraging them to read everything they can get their hands on.

Perhaps because some of us have kids who are voracious and intelligent readers, and therefore don't feel that we need to encourage or permit our kids to do the reading equivalent of rolling in dogshit because, by golly, if you're reading something it's got to be good.

HF, I hope you are not one of those people who gets her undies in a wad if she sees a little child being taken to a violent R-rated movie by parents who couldn't get a babysitter. I mean, you're against censorship. Right?

The Happy Feminist

Right on, Mythago! My moment of glory as a toddler was yelling, "Oooh tummy!" in a crowed theater during the raunchy sex scene in an "R" movie. I don't think there's anything wrong with taking kids to see whatever.

You know, as an example, I suppose if my (hypothetical) kid were holed up memorizing "Mein Kampf" and listening to Prussian Blue, I would definitely be alarmed. My solution would probably be to sit down and have a major talk with him or her. I have never thought restricting movies and reading is the way to go.

Meh, I don't know about the movie thing. I've been to too many R films (horror, etc) where I overhear kids sitting around me begging their parents to leave the theater b/c they get scared out of their minds. Makes me want to turn around and smack the hell out of those parents. Children's minds are like sponges, they absorb everything, but do not yet possess the capacity to understand what they see/hear/read. But it is always the *parent's* responsibility, rather than the government, to make sure their child is introduced to new things in a timely manner.


I am on the fence about this one. I do not like the idea of banning books. But, we all agree that books have an influence on children.

I want my child's library stocked with good books. I do not want my child's library stocked with books that all show the girls becoming servants to the men or promoting the idea that all girls should be thin with big breasts. I do not want my child's library to be stocked with books about killing, rape and torture. That is certainly censorship.

It is a fine line to walk though.

Bill Baar

Books are kind of obsolete...what I really don't want is my kid getting to myspace at the school library or home...


Will-- Are you suggesting that a child who reads a lot of books that contain killing, rape and torture will be damaged by such reading? Isn't it the other way around, that is, a child who is damaged may want to read a lot about killing, rape and torture? Your suggestion, logically extended, supports banning some books ... and some television shows, and some movies, and some musical groups, etc etc.

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