Thursday, October 13, 2005

More on what's appropriate

Today I did a bit of Googling on the book I posted about yesterday. I'm intrigued (but not particularly surprised) to see this book is listed on "banned books" lists. (I'd think it's as likely to offend liberals as it is to offend conservatives, since it seems to depict feminism as a sort of bizarre psychosis.) One set of parents is trying to have a warning sticker placed on it, or to have it removed from the sixth grade reading list, and it's been removed from the Fairfax County, VA middle schools.

But here's a question: Is it really "banning" a book to say it's inappropriate for a particular age group? Can librarians make any sort of judgments about books? What about the book Lydia posted about the other day, Deal With It? I checked it out of my local library, and yes, it's pretty darn explicit about oral sex. Does it belong in middle schools? What about elementary schools? Is making a judgment about inappropriate content for a particular age group necessarily the same as banning a book? Should I demand that my local elementary schools carry a copy of Angela Knight's Mercenaries?

Sigh. I'm totally opposed to banning books, but "banning" and "exercising judgment" aren't necessarily the same thing. (DH's comment: "I think it speaks highly of our freedoms in this country when the word 'banned' must be interpreted so narrowly to be used at all.") And I'm not trying to get this book removed from the school's library, just trying to make sure my daughter won't be handed it again with a recommendation from a grownup. But I have a feeling it's a losing battle, and will be regarded as teachers as an attempt by a raging wingnut to "ban" the book.

So keep an eye on the newspaper... you may eventually see this headline: Author of explicit romance novels wants to ban children's books!

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