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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Do you censor your kids' books?



corpse.jpgA new book came across my desk for review recently called 10 Ways to Recycle a Corpse and 100 More Dreadfully Distasteful Lists. It's a follow-up to the best-seller 5 People Who Died During Sex and 100 Other Terribly Tasteless Lists by Karl Shaw. The middle schoolers in my carpool were fighting over it.

Listen to this one guys, someone would call out,  Benjamin Franklin would sit stark naked in front of open windows to take an "air bath." Ewww!  Aside from the historical trivia, it has giggle-producing list titles like "History's 12 Randiest Royals" and "7 Oversexed Writers" and "10 Extreme Food Fads" (which outlined The Booger Diet).

It is like the Book of Lists (one of my personal nerdy favorites as a kid because of its unknown-to-my-parents randy lists like popular sexual positions and their pros and cons). Except it goes out of its way to find bizarre and bawdy tidbits from history, where the BOL kind of hid them among the funny or just plain interesting trivia.

After hearing them read the details of notable suicides as I drove us home, I got thinking maybe their parents wouldn't be so thrilled with this history lesson and the book has conveniently disappeared from the car.

But it got me thinking about when it's a good idea to censor your kids' reading material and when it's OK to pretend to be shocked and look the other way to encourage the love of reading. I sure remember vividly my furtive reads of Stephen King books using a flashlight under the covers at night because my mother did not approve of the horror novelist.

poopypants.jpgBoth my boys were huge fans of the Captain Underpants series. It's one that more than a few librarians frown on because of its potty humor (See The Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants, right, for proof). And I know a mom who doesn't like the Junie B. Jones books because the girl uses bad grammar. The titular character is a kindergartener who says "funner" and "runned," and sometimes she calls people or situations "stupid," a word that's banned in that mom's house.

So what's your call on this? Do you swallow your shock or need for correct behavior and word choices and let them have their fun reading bawdy material? Or keep a close eye on what they read and dole it out more carefully?

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Friday, November 4, 2011 1:59pm]


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