Kids and reading

Vision: A book in every child's hand. Pratham Books, India via flickr CC

Vision: A book in every child’s hand. Pratham Books, India via flickr CC

One of the links that came into my inbox this week (courtesy of the ALIA Weekly Bulletin) was an article featuring children’s author Judy Blume talking about overly-anxious parents worrying about their kids’ reading choices (It’s worth clicking on the link just to see how amazing she looks in her mid 70s!). Judy’s opinion is that on the whole, kids will self-censor their reading, skimming or skipping over the bits that they don’t understand or aren’t ready to read.

This is more or less how I grew up reading. My parents have always told me that when we made trips to the library or the bookshop when I was a child, the only censorship they applied was price. When it was my turn to take my own children to the library I tried to apply the same philosophy and I had largely the same experience.

What do my children’s librarian friends and colleagues think?


2 thoughts on “Kids and reading

  1. I agree, and encourage parents to let their kids decide for themselves, but of course sometimes things go wrong. As a kid I kept borrowing a book about a dear with no friends – Mum would find be bawling in my bedroom over it. Eventually she had to ask the librarian to ban me from borrowing it. Bizarre…

    I did have an incident recently where a 12 year old Twilight reader reserved in a lot of vampire books; we were uncomfortable, talked to Mum in case it was all ok, talked gently to the girl, and steered her onto other books.

  2. Yeah, I didn’t have any restrictions in my choice of library books as a kid and as a consequence read loads of science fiction (I’m sure my mum secretly disapproved, but never said a thing). Now I don’t read SF much anymore, but am an avid reader of literary and foreign fiction, so the early SF heavy reading diet obviously didn’t harm me!

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