Child-Proofing Books

Man, I’m starting to wonder why the Motherlode blog at the Times has such a jones against reading. After the blog’s weird snark toward RIF and McDonald’s, Motherlode then published a piece by the novelist Lynn Messina, in which she admits to dumbing down the Harry Potter series so that it won’t disturb her 5-year-old. But wait! There’s more! Messina even censors children’s books–for example, a scene in Pinkalicious where a character has an aversion to vegetables.

Argh. Let’s not overcomplicate this, Motherlode. Here are the steps that you seem to misunderstand:

  1. Get books for your kids.
  2. Read to your kids.
  3. Let them read what they want.
  4. Trust your children.
  5. Help them develop bullshit detectors. Worried about product placement in McDonald’s RIF books? Help them spot it and learn from it.
  6. Help them develop their own sense of morality. Johnny isn’t going to stop eating vegetables just because a character in Pinkalicious thinks they’re icky.
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2 thoughts on “Child-Proofing Books

  1. Also, kids of all ages are capable of coming up with their own (and sometimes unexpected) critiques and questions about books. If you don’t give your children the opportunity to analyze what they are reading/what you are reading to them, then what is the point? Teach the tools outside of the literature, then let kids apply them on their own – or, if you must insert lessons, just talk about the book after you’ve read it.

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