A geeky girl living in the big city, making her way, the only way she knows how... no wait, that's The Dukes of Hazzard. Who am I again? Oh yeah, a pop culture obsessed writer, publishing person, and occasional nerd. And I'm getting married. I talk about that, too.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Neil Gaiman Gets Taken to Task

My 12-year old daughter chose Stardust for a school book report. We purchased it in paperback at Barnes and Noble. From the packaging, it looked like an appropriate fantasy story for her age and her 6th grade teacher approved it. We were very offended to find that it had an explicit sex scene and the word "fuck" in it. The marketing of this book was misleading. Were you intending to mislead children into reading it? Why would you do this?
And responds quite appropriately. Read the whole thing, and pay special attention to this brilliant part:
While I'm sure there are many twelve year-olds who would qualify as Young Adults and who can happily read books intended for and marketed for teenagers, just as obviously many of them wouldn't and can't, and if you feel yours doesn't I'm sure you're right.
That right there is always the best response to the "how could you"s and any form of censorship. If you don't want your children to read a book, then that's a choice you make within your family and within your house. You don't go to the school and plot to ban the book, as others might have done.

Another great thing to do? Read your kids' books. Chances are, most of them that they've been recommended, like Stardust, are pretty damn awesome, but if you have an objection to a word they might otherwise not hear in your house, then make an informed decision to pick another book. There's lots of them out there. Loads!



Blogger ***Dave said...

I did decide, when reading it aloud to the family on the long car trip last Christmas, to edit a bit on the fly the occasional naughty word and the sex scene. I decided that was better than reading them aloud then suing Neil Gaiman for having me read about sex to my kid or something ... :-)

I will be stunned if my daugher, when she reaches 12, will not have been exposed to "fuck" in written language (she's certainly been exposed to it verbally) -- but I will hopefully have taught her some rules about using such language.

I suspect by then she will have run across some sex scenes in her reading. I hope they are as well-written as Mr Gaiman's.

Indeed, by the time she's 12, I hope she's read _Stardust_ on her own, or has an interest in doing so. A lot better than a lot of more tawdry dreck out there.

12/29/2007 3:45 PM


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