Monday, January 30, 2012

Inkheart, Oh how I love thee...

I don't only love children's picture books... I have a love for all books.  I love to read.  And some of my very favorite books have been found in Children's Fiction & Young Adult Novels. 

The Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke is right there at the very top of my list (along side To Kill a Mockingbird & The Lord of the Rings... and if you ask me, that's pretty high ranking...and yes, I know I'm a nerd).  The trilogy is based on the concept of getting lost inside a story, literally. 

Twelve year old Meggie & her father, Mo, get sucked into a very frightening adventure (that uncovers many family secrets) when Dustfinger (one of my all time favorite and complex characters) walks into their life.  As I read these books... I lived the stories, I escaped from reality... it's like these books were written FOR ME.

Having said all that... one of my best friends (and a person who's opinion I hold in the highest regard) did not share my complete love and adoration for this series.  In fact she was pretty upset about some of the content that was found in books written for a young audience.  The truth is, when I read these books, I read for myself.  I wasn't thinking "would these books be appropriate for my 4th grader to read?" (I don't have a 4th grader yet and I have a hard time projecting to the future like that).  As for recommended reading level... on Amazon it says 4th grade and up.

So here's the question, what is appropriate, and what isn't- that ever present censorship issue.  My sister works in the SLC library.  She had a very interesting meeting last week about this very issue (and I'm hoping she'll write a post about one incident in particular... because it had to do with content in a kid's picture book).  The gist of it is this, it is NOT the libraries fault if your child checks out and reads something that you think is inappropriate.  The library is NOT going to take a book out of circulation just because someone out there doesn't think it should be part of the collection.

Parents are in charge of that.  And we should be.  We should know what our kids are reading.  And if a chapter book (or a picture book, or a movie, or a comic... etc) has content you're uncomfortable with your child reading, then that's something you should discuss with your child.  But if you've never read the book... then who knows?  And let's face it... what one parent considers inappropriate- another parent wouldn't even bat an eye at.  We all have different opinions about this kinda stuff, and that's okay too.

I'm glad my friend brought up some points about these books I'd never considered.  And in several years if my kids want to read these books, I think they should... because these are the kind of books that build a LOVE of reading (did I mention how much I love them?).  But I will be more aware of the content, and ready to talk to my kids about what they've read. 

So, thoughts on censorship???  Where do you weigh in?  Are there any books written for kids that have upset you recently?  I'd love you hear your take on this issue.  Or, on a different note... is there a book or series that you love so much, one you think was written for you?  Please share.

And really, if you or your child enjoys a good fantasy/adventure story you should definitely look into this series... in fact I think I'll re-read them right away.  Writing this post has made me want to live the adventure all over again.  I mean look at these covers... I love everything about these books.

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