So a friend added me to an online book club this year. Each month has a new theme for the book to be chosen. The club came up in discussion with my son recently. I told Johnny (age 11) that February’s book club book for me was a banned book. He didn’t know what that meant…because in our house we don’t ban books.
Sometimes I read a book before them or with them so we can have discussions, but I don’t believe in banning them. In the past I have had others question choices I have made for my children. Like the fact that John read all of the Harry Potter books when he was in second grade as the latter ones can be a bit on the dark side. However when you have kids with a reading level that is much higher than their grade level, it can be a challenge to find something that suits their reading and maturity level.
A week or so after this discussion, he came to me with the book “Ban this Book” by Alan Gratz. He said that the inner monologue of the character in the book was a lot like his own. That much of it was the way he though, but not exactly the way he acted (the kiddo in the book doesn’t often say whats on their mind). He asked me to read the book and it was clear that it was important to him.
So I did.
It was wonderful. It was so witty and wonderfully written. I appreciate Mr. Gratz for helping me understand my son in a deeper way, while simultaneously helping me teach them about censorship. As an adult I found it a quick, easy, and delightful read. I would happily allow my kids to read this book, aged 9, 11, or 12. It is a bit beneath my 4 year, but I could read it aloud to him. I still think it wouldn’t be all that interesting to him. I think aged maybe 8+ is a good starting point for this book.
I appreciated that the book brought together kids of all different hobbies, backgrounds, social cliques together for a cause. It also showed how we can misjudge others or their intentions. Overall, there were some great lessons in the book. I would say that if a parent is a bit more on the conservative side, they might not like some of the words mentioned in this book. Sex and books that mention sex are mentioned in this book, so keep that in mind as it could bring up some questions.
After my son returns this copy to the library we will be buying one for our own family library. I highly recommend this book to all my mom friends and their kiddos.
The next book I am working on is The Giver, which I have found on banned lists. I have read it in the past and I just don’t get how it can be challenged, though the ban book clearly points out that the challenge is subjective to ones owns opinions.
Happy reading all.