Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Parents Against Bad Books in Schools

If you haven't seen the Parents Against Bad Books in Schools website (http://www.pabbis.com/) you have to check it out.

Their criteria for judging a book, according to their website:

"Age appropriateness
Good taste
What are educational goals/objectives and does book achieve them?
Is book relevant to curriculum, standards of learning, program of instruction?
Is this particular book necessary? Are other books without bad content equal or better in doing the job? Which ones were considered?"

They acknowledge that "bad" is what you determine for your children. But, if you look at their website, you'll be hard pressed to find a well-known middle grade or YA novel that doesn't have some sort of objectionable content. And their reasons for including them are often vague, confusing, or erroniously drawn from innocent passages.

Some of their "bad" books include:
I am the Cheese by Robert Cormier
Keesha's House by Helen Frost
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

(By the way, I have read all of the books above and I wouldn't have any problem with my child reading them, at an appropriate age of course.)

While I respect parents' rights to choose what is appropriate for their children, I have a hard time with this group suggesting that the books should be removed from schools, therefore taking them out of the hands of all children at that school.

I think this issue is too big for just one blog entry.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Loved finding a fellow poet. I subscribed to your blog!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Blogging at Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick, www.SharingwithWriters.blogspot.com

Auntie Flamingo said...

I did not view the web site nor is this comment for or against them but Crystalee your blog post triggered a thought.

I think in some ways we shelter children so much they don't get a chance to make mistakes or form their own opinions. It is done to the point that when the child grows up and is alone (as in not sheltered anymore) in the 'real world' they don't know what to do. And some base their actions on what they know, TV and video games.

TV, internet and videos games is what needs to be monitored. Not books.

Dawn Embers said...

I can understand certain books being deemed inappropriate for kids. However, it also can go the other way and so many books that are on the banned book list shouldn't be. There are some great books out there (like Julie of the Wolves and so many others). Many of which children and teens should be allowed to read.

Nice post and it definitely is a multi-post topic.

sharazad said...

This is a great post- I agree 100%- allowing people to ban books is like having thought-police.

Concerned parent. said...

I am the mother of two daughters, ages 12 and 14-1/2. My freshman daughter was given a summer reading assignment which contained a list of 5 books. Three out of the five books contained excessive profanity, including the f-word, and adult sexual content. One of the books "Song of Solomon" was just horrible. If you want to review the contents of that book, you can do so at PABBIS. This is a great website for concerned parents. We need to keep inappropriate content out of the hands and minds of our youth. That is why the world is so mixed up today. The three books on my daughter's assisgnment list, if rated for a movie, would have been rated "R" or worse. Why should students be given inappropriate reading material as an assignment when there is so much excellent reading material available?? Please do your research before commenting on this issue.

Jane Doe said...

I can't grasp why Concerned parent. was so concerned about the fact that her freshman's books had bad language in them. I'm a teenager, and it is very easy to hear the same words in the hallways of my school(and I don't live in a ghetto). This daughter probably encounters such words most of the time at her school, so makes little difference when she reads them in a book, if you ask me.