There often seems to someone on the attack lately. I've been teaching for a lot of years and I've seen lots of attacks on books as well as attacks on people who choose to read certain books.
To me, the attacks are usually a waste of time & energy ... and just a little bit nuts.
Some people become absolutely inflamed because of what they think
is in a book.
Whenever a new fuss pops up I think back to a student I'll call Amanda. She was in my split grade 6/7 classroom for 2 years. During our first reading conference of her Grade 6 year, Amanda admitted she'd never actually read a book on her own. Reading was very tough for her and by the time she finished sounding out words she'd almost always lost the meaning of the sentence.
She thought she might like some of the Goosebumps books everyone was talking about. There was a lot of fuss at the time from people who wanted to ban Stine's series from classrooms and libraries. There were people who claimed teachers were 'evil' for allowing kids to be exposed to them. (I question if any of those people actually read any of the books!!)
Being me, I had over 30 Goosebumps books to choose from. She selected 2 and I read them into tapes. She tried to read along with my voice during reading time.
Then she read one on her own.
By the time she finished Grade 6, Amanda had read 17 Goosebumps books on her own.
Over the summer and during her Grade 7 year, she moved on to Stine's Fear Street series. And Christopher Pike. And Caroline B. Cooney. Then Lois Lowry and JK Rowling. And many, many more.
Her grade 8 teacher was shocked she'd been a non-reader 2 years before.
Ridiculing anyone for their choice of reading material is yet another kind of put down. The world has enough of those.
I'd rather see the build ups. I'd rather celebrate the Amandas of the world who demonstrate perseverance and are willing to admit to a difficulty and take the risks involved in becoming stronger.
If I only stocked my classroom with my favourite books, it would still be a very large library, but it wouldn't rival the 5000+ books I stock today. The more variety I have available, the easier it is to find those Home Run books for kids and turn them into avid readers. Do I have to personally like the books they choose? Nope. Do I have to support their right to like them.
How do you feel about the folks who want to dictate what we read or judge us based on the ones we choose?