Banned Books Week Begins

I skimmed the list of most challenged books this morning–the long list, the list with the last decade or so on it–and struck me how many of the books are being challenged for being inappropriate to the age group.

And… well, okay. I get that some parents have very clear ideas about what’s appropriate for their kid. And… that would be why we have parents.


A lot of the books that were being challenged for being inappropriate to the age group are adult books.

And I’m really not sure how that works. I mean… there are adult books… and there is no reading level above adult books.

So… What?

The teenager shows up to protest that his mother is reading a book about how to keep teenagers from doing drugs, and that’s totally inappropriate, and she got it at YOUR LIBRARY.


Your Mother and I saw that you’re reading The Color Purple for your retirees book club. Let me tell you, we’re shocked. We are rolling over in our graves right now, young lady.

Plenty of time to read when you’re dead, I guess.

If you want your kid supervised, I’d suggest you supervise him. That’s really not the Librarian’s job. Or the Bookseller’s job. Or that woman who just happens to be eating at the same restaurant’s job.

In the event that you do dump your kid off at the Library or Bookstore, please be aware that your child is essentially being raised by wolves. Book People.

You can’t be horribly surprised if he winds up reading.

When I was a Bookseller, one of those ban-the-books, but babysit my kid mommies tracked me down. No. I mean weeks or months after her child (he was probably fifteen) had purchased the offending material. She found the receipt and my name was on it, so she tracked me down personally.

She screeched, and generally informed me I was going to hell for selling a comic book to a teenager.

The thing is… I knew the kid. The kid was quiet, and well-behaved, and probably a bit smarter than average. Never a problem. And the book I’d sold him? Well, it was pretty much the same kind of thing he’d been reading for… (counts on fingers.) Anyone who was paying any attention already knew.

I’d never seen the mother before.


Not while her kid was doing homework at my table.

Not while he was playing card games with the rest of the kids in the club.

Not while he was reading the last 4 billion installments in that particular manga series. (and people who read manga will attest that I’m only exaggerating the length  of a series by a little.)

I’m all in favor of being involved with your kids’ lives, but… could you please do it  on a regular basis?

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