15 May 2008

A long lost cause I never can win

I'm a bad mom and don't let my kids pick books at the library to help them get interested and take ownership in reading. This is because they pick books that

a. are stupid (like those awful paperbacks based on Disney movies ever so distantly related to actual literature)
b. annoy me (LOTS of these)
c. have problematic contents (eg divorced families, disrespectful treatment of elders and siblings, political propaganda, farting dogs [WHY????])

I flip through every book we bring home to see that they're satisfactory and still, almost every time, I end up with one that I have to alter when we read it or hide altogether.

This system isn't going to last forever, though. Big Girl is about five minutes away from reading independently and I can hardly keep picking out all her books until she's safely married. How well I remember the trouble that ensued when my mom picked up a book I brought home from the library sometime in middle school and discovered that the YA section is not a kid-safe zone AT ALL. Even if it isn't Judy Blume kindly taking the trouble to shape my children's sexual ethic for me, I'm scared about what my kids will run across in books. I don't want to turn our house into a police state, and I know they'll find out eventually that other kids talk back and are mean, and much worse things. But . . . ?

12 comments:

Pr. H. R. said...

I don't want to turn our house into a police state

Yeah, but I don't mind.

elephantschild said...

I can deal with farting dogs - what I can't handle are the "mommy loves you even though she 'has to' leave you at day care all day" books, and the "the world is going to BURN up in a ball of exploding GREENHOUSE gases and we're all going to DIE unless you BOW to AL GORE right NOW" books.

About the time your DD starts reading (next week) is about the time you explain that not everything you read in a book is true - and that Jesus is the only author of a book that never ever lies or hides the truth.

Glenda said...

Do you own "Honey for a Child's Heart" by Gladys Hunt? It is a great book list of good books to read to children and for children to read. And you're right there is lots of yuck out there. I've given up (with 5 getting books) staying on top of it all. With the little three, if I see something I don't like at home, I simply won't read it to them. And with the older, I trust friend's recommendations and I try, try, try to talk, talk, talk about the books they are reading. I know I'm missing some things, but there is simply no easy way to stay on top of children who love to read and still want to get all the other work done a wife and mom needs to do.

Reb. Mary said...

I'm alternately yearning for and dreading the day we have one old enough to read for himself (and his siblings :) ). Lots of censorship hereabouts too.

Just be glad your tv isn't doing the talking...Ever since BoyOne got to watch a couple cartoons in the hotel room at the pastors' conference, we've been reminding him that "stupid" is not a preferred adjective around here, no matter how often Arthur says it.

And the vocab problem is a relatively innocuous and solvable one...like you all say, it's those darn ideologies that can be so insidious. (I'm still recovering from my rant about the Berenstain Bears awhile back.)

But *why* are the books that are just plain annoying the ones the kids like so much? I mean, my kids had never even seen Dora/Diego on tv, and BoyOne seeks those books out at the library and LOVES the Diego underwear his grandparents bought him. Well, at least they're bilingual. And hey, everyone needs bilingual underwear.

Stacy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gauntlets said...

Stacy: I understand your need for information. I know that you have been asking questions for a long time. I encourage you to look for debate elsewhere. I'm quite positive there are pastors in your area. We cannot, on this blog, respectfully dialog with you on these issues.

Via con Dios.

Gauntlets said...

Now that EldestChild can read we skip the picture book section of the library altogether. They have 200 picture books at home they never read as it is.

Here's my trash avoidance tactic so far: I let them all choose books from the big kid section. EldestChild reads them aloud in my presence. I swoop at the first signs of danger.

Shazam.

elephantschild said...

And here I was feeling all sorry for myself that my Dd (who will be 6 in a few weeks) really doesn't show that much interest in reading (although she *can* sound things out)

I see that there are some distinct advantages to having a late reader that had never occurred to me before!

I'm assuming the Pr. HR above is the Dh of one of you? If not, there's some splainin' to do.

Rebekah said...

Glenda, thanks for the book tip! Sounds good.

RM, Dora's very theoretically popular around here though we've never once seen her show. I don't get it either.

Gauntlets, no picture books at all? I was tempted to go that route but I didn't know if it were allowed.

EC, I'll claim that riffraff up top. ;)

Liz said...

Have you tried the Sir Cumference books? There are three of them, and though the math concepts may be beyond your kids yet, knights and dragons and kings are always fun!

Gauntlets said...

None. I let them spend maybe 15 minutes in the "baby book" section looking at whatever they want (though I'm trying to train avoidance of the Disney/PBS/Otherly Trademarked books) and then we get out of there. In the old days, we would bring home picture books only to lose them, tear them, spill milk on them . . . I declared war. The babies waved the white flag. Here we are.

As for training avoidance: ManChild is fascinated with Diego, of Dora fame. I blame the people who spend thousands of dollars on marketing research and thus create the perfect thing to feed the vices that give temptation force. It's almost beautiful, the way those marketers can manipulate my kids. Beautiful, beautiful corruption.

Gauntlets said...

Liz: We really like Sir Cumference around here. We don't get them, but we like them. ;)