- Following a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Davis School District has returned "In Our Mothers' House" by Patricia Polacco to school library shelves. It was removed from shelve after a group of parents petitioned the school for its removal. You know, because we can't have a book that represents a same-sex household as normal or anything! (That was extreme sarcasm, for the record.)
- The New York Times had an interesting question in their Room for Debate feature, What’s ‘Just Right’ for the Young Reader? The various perspectives were all interesting to read, though I must admit that I still think Sendak said it best, "I don't believe in children, I don't believe in childhood. I don't believe that there's a demarcation. 'Oh, you mustn't tell them that. You mustn't tell them that.' You tell them anything you want. Just tell them if it's true. If it's true, you tell them." In all fairness, that is essentially what a few of the debaters, especially Lisa von Drasek, said. I also found the opinion of Betsy Bird, who wrote "kids are excellent self censors," to be particularly interesting in terms of this next piece:
- Susane Colasanti's When It Happens will stay in the teen section of IL library, despite a parent's attempt to remove it. The unsuitability of the reading material for her daughters' age group was pointed out to her by -- wait for it -- her daughter. As Leila from bookshelves of doom responded:
Discounting the whole challenge thing, this story was actually a nice example of a younger reader holding her hand up and saying, "WHOA. THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR ME." I mean, obviously, the parent took that statement and went a step further to "IF IT'S NOT FOR YOU, IT'S NOT FOR ANYONE YOUR AGE", which is problematic, but still."
- Oddly enough, Maggie Stiefvater was also recently weighing in on the issue of age appropriate content, albeit in a much more light-hearted fashion. After mentioning that she won't let any of the children in her family read her current books until they are 30, she announced that she will be participating in a middle grade level project with scholastic. Very cool.
For The Girls:
- Elizabeth Burns of A Fireplace, A Chair & A Tea Cozy raises an interesting question about the importance of (or lack thereof) including menstruation in stories about teen girls with her post It’s That Time of the Month. I highly recommend reading the comments as well as the post, as there are lots of interesting things being said, and good books being recommended.
- Jezebel managed to scare the crap out of me with their article about teen girls meeting strangers in real life that they met on the internet. According to a new study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics, 30 percent of teenage girls have met an internet contact without confirming their identity beforehand. YIKES.
To Lighten Things Up:
- McDonald's in the UK is replacing its Happy Meal toys with books. How awesome is that?! Now, if they could just make this an international policy!
- Maureen Johnson is offering up some awesome swag in the form of custom stickers and an autographed bookplate to anyone who preorders Madness Underneath from an indie bookstore. Check out her website for a view of the stickers and a list of participating bookstores.
- Finally, a lovely quote from Ursula K. Le Guin found via teaching literacy:
"While we read a novel, we are insane—bonkers. We believe in the existence of people who aren’t there, we hear their voices… Sanity returns (in most cases) when the book is closed."