Children’s literature and education should be challenging at times and engage with issues, even if they are uncomfortable.
Scott Westerfeld’s blog has a really disturbing post about the truly insane practice of some parents deciding that something that they have read to their children is not at all suitable for other parents. As he comments, these people “are the junk mail of literary discourse”.
This happened to John Green, whose novel “Looking for Alaska” (Amazon UK), was being considered for being taught to the 11th grade (any one know what this age is – about 15 or 16?). The teachers asked for permission from the parents to teach the book and some complained that the book was “pornographic” and “disgusting”. That teachers need to ask for permission to use books that engage with the real world and that some parents see fit to try and effectively censor education. If the book is not taught, I hope that the open-minded parents and children go and read the book outside class.
Its fate is to be decided today at a school meeting. I hope that backbones are found rather than trodden on.