To be upset DD has been allowed to get this book from the school library?

(51 Posts)
FlickSticks Sat 02-Feb-13 17:00:04

DD who is 7 has just finished a book she got from the school library called 'Bad Girls' by Jaqueline Wilson. She asked me what shoplifting was and said she had read about it in her book. I read a bit of it and it was bullying, people slapping each other in the face, shoplifting and calling each other 'silly cow'.

I'm really upset by this, I think it's an inappropriate book for her age. I trusted that the school wouldn't let them get books out which were meant for older children,

AIBU?

mrsjay Sat 02-Feb-13 17:04:21

erm I don't know my dd loved jacqueline wilson books but they seemed to be in the older section of the school library over 8s. maybe read the book to the end to see how it turns out, it is a shame she has been allowed to get a book you don't approve of as she is a fab childrens author and she doesn't patronise children, maybe contact the school and say you think she is too young to be reading it, but dont let it put you off in a few years to let her read them,

i read this book when i was quite young, i'm failing to see the problem?

the thing is, if your DD is an advanced reader, she'll have to read books aimed at older ages because the ones for her age will be too easy & boring. (which may put her off reading)

YorkshireDeb Sat 02-Feb-13 17:06:41

If I were you I'd mention the content & your concerns to the school. It is reasonable to expect them to send age appropriate books home but not to expect them to have read every book in the library from cover to cover to make this judgement. We buy books from children's booksellers who sometimes advise on age - but have unknowingly stocked a book in the library with mild swear words & another which talked about boobs. Once parents alerted us to this we removed them from the library. X

I can't really see the problem tbh. Surely your dd knows about bullying, slapping and what shoplifting is? Was the book encouraging that sort of behaviour?

I can't really see the problem tbh. Surely your dd knows about bullying, slapping and what shoplifting is? Was the book encouraging that sort of behaviour?

Hassled Sat 02-Feb-13 17:06:57

They're quite edgy books - deal with some contraversial stuff, etc - but flick to the end - I'm sure justice prevails. People learn the error of their ways/have appropriate punishments etc. I agree that 7 is probably too young.

ILoveTIFFANY Sat 02-Feb-13 17:07:11

It's a library... How can they censor which books are taken?

mrsjay Sat 02-Feb-13 17:08:45

t's a library... How can they censor which books are taken?

well school libraries usually have an age section dont they,

ILoveTIFFANY Sat 02-Feb-13 17:10:43

And did they?

Also, just looked it up on amazon and it says it's the reading age group of 4-8.... Not sure that they got that right

socharlotte Sat 02-Feb-13 17:20:01

Why didn't you take it off her before she finished it if you are so opposed?
Surely at 7 she has come across the term 'shop lifting' before. There are 'shoplifters will be prosecuted' signs up in many many stores.

exoticfruits Sat 02-Feb-13 17:25:27

As a child the best thing about a library was free choice.

SweetTeaVodka Sat 02-Feb-13 17:27:02

I read Bad Girls myself when it first came out - if I recall it's one of the Jacqueline Wilson books aimed at the slightly older end of her readership, more of a 'pre-teen' age range? All Jacqueline Wilson books tend to cover slightly controversial or edgy topics though.

While I can see that you may be upset at your daughter being exposed to the concepts of shoplifting, bullying etc and her realising that the world perhaps isn't always kind, I think our instincts to protect kids from this reality isn't always necessary, and they are often better at coping with such ideas than we give them credit for.

I don't believe in libraries censoring access to books either. Yes, they have books organised into age ranges, but these are guidelines rather than rules. I was a prolific reader as a child, and started reading 'adult' novels when I started secondary school. I still recall the first - River God by Wilbur Smith. My mum is also a big reader and used to read most of the books I brought home and vice versa, and we discussed them.

Rest assured that from my memory of the book, Bad Girls does not portray shoplifting or bullying in a good light. You could use this book as a point to discuss these issues with your daughter - chances are she was already aware of such things.

cory Sat 02-Feb-13 17:28:10

Jacqueline Wilson's books treat difficult subjects in a highly moral way, never failing to show that letting yourself be led by your mates (which is what happens in this book iirc) is bad and can get you into trouble. Imo you can't get further from encouraging bad behaviour than this book.

It won't do her any harm to read about difficult issues and bad behaviour when the book is one by a good author who understands children. Fairy tales, after all, include murder, maiming, kidnap, theft, assault...

Virgil Sat 02-Feb-13 17:31:10

Talk to the school if you are concerned but as others have said, if she's reading more advanced books than expected at her age then this will happen.

We had two "situations" when DS1 was six and a very strong reader. The first book was about to give away the whole tooth fairy thing (fortunately I was reading ahead ) and in the second the main characters entire family was massacred (Michael morpurgo - good books but have to choose carefully for this age group). I just alerted school to both and they put them to one side.

The thing with Wilson's books is, they are written for very different age groups, some for quite young children and some are most definitely for teenagers, and yet all the covers and blurbs and illustrations are in the same style, so it's impossible to tell which is which without actually reading the whole book.
I daresay it's not so very unreasonable to expect a school librarian to know what's in them all, but it really depends on how big the school (and library) are and if there is an actual dedicated librarian, or if it's just each class teacher or even some of the older children doing library duty instead.
Perhaps a word to the school just to say that you realise it is a JW book and so on, but that you felt this particular one wasn't suitable for a 7 yr old.
A lot of people seem to buy them for gifts and things too, and just sort of assume that because it's by JW it's a children's book and will be suitable, and unfortunately they aren't necessarily so. (Enid Blyton she isn't !)

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 02-Feb-13 17:34:22

It's the first in a trilogy about a group of teenage girls. There're aimed at teenagers. I read them in my early teens and don't think they are suitable for a 7 year old.

There are plenty of other books by Wilson which are far more suitable,I remember loving one about twin sisters.

YANBU OP.

exoticfruits Sat 02-Feb-13 17:35:40

There is nothing that makes a book more desirable than your mother not liking it!

OkayHazel Sat 02-Feb-13 17:35:51

You might be upset, but actually the Girls series by Wilson are incredibly realistic, and the slapping and 'silly cow' stuff, whilst foreign to your DD, is reality for many 7 year olds. Sad but true.

She's obviously intelligent enough to process complex ideas. Give her more credit. Reading about bad behaviour is just as, if not more, educational.

YANBU. It's great OP that your DD has a reading age above her actual age. But the school imo should give her some guidance to choose a book suitable for your chronological age.

My 14 yo DD won't read Jacqueline Wilson as she says all her books are too depressing.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 02-Feb-13 17:41:32

I think YABU to be upset really, it is probably aimed at slightly older children, but it's not like she was given 'Forever' by Judy Blume or something that is wildly inappropriate for her age.

My 7 year old has read it and has suffered no ill effects that I can see.

Myabe you should take more interest in what she reads? She didn't read it all at school did she? The teacher has 30 kids to supervise and can't check every book that they choose. You have (I imagine) fewer than 30 children, you check what your DD is reading.

bruffin Sat 02-Feb-13 17:44:05

Bad girls age advice is 9-12

My 10yr old DD is the lunchtime librarian at her school and doesn't check what books other DC pick she only wanted the job for the cool badge

RubyGates Sat 02-Feb-13 17:55:09

I'm a children's librarian. I don't censor what children read. If I'm concerned about a choice I might mention it to a parent if I know them to be a balanced a sensible individual, but otherwise free-reading is how many children get a glimpse of the real world that is denied to them by over-protective parents.

hugoagogo Sat 02-Feb-13 18:01:28

Bad girls is in the junior section of our library, dd (10) has read it and thinks it's ok for a 7 year old, but I would always make parents aware that Wilson's books introduce these kind of topics.

FlickSticks Sat 02-Feb-13 18:11:18

I didn't have a great start in life (cue violins) and was allowed to watch and read whatever I liked... It did affect me, I thought the naughty characters were cool, funny & exiting. I am terrified of my DD having the same experiences as me and therefore am keen to keep her reading, TV watching etc at what I consider an age appropriate level, i.e. not full of negative aggressive behaviour. I realise she will come up against this in real life, but IMO why does she then have to read about it and watch it too? She understands that bullying, slapping, abusive language and stealing is wrong, she doesn't need to be entertained with stories of it.

lljkk Sat 02-Feb-13 18:18:02

Bad Girls is for about age 10+. I would raise a small complaint about more suitable choices in future, thanks.

It is a good way to introduce some of those concepts to your Dd and discuss them with you when you still have so much influence over what opinions she forms about them.

FlickSticks Sat 02-Feb-13 18:19:52

It would be ok if she was older, I just think 7 is way too young, she has the rest of her life for negative crap

MadInfoScientist Sat 02-Feb-13 18:57:51

I am a primary school librarian, PhD student, and another who doesn't believe in censorship. I know the students and the books well enough to have a word with a child who may be too sensitive for certain books, but we don't stock anything that is unsuitable for the entire range of primary school...and that includes a full shelf of Jacqueline Wilson My view is: if you are raising your children properly, then a book won't 'undo' their moral fibre. letting kids read books that deal with sensitive material can be a perfect, teachable moment for parents...it can be a way to talk about unsavoury things that actually happen in the world. I was never forbidden by my parents to read anything, and I probably read my share of 'unsuitable' material at a young age. I turned out fine and I have the same attitude toward my DCs who are 6 and 5.

exoticfruits Sat 02-Feb-13 19:15:04

I agree MadInfoScientist. You can't put an age on it. Some 9 year olds will be be reading Dickens and some will be on Enid Blyton.

OkayHazel Sat 02-Feb-13 19:16:58

FlickSticks Obviously you know your child best. It's about knowing what she can handle. Evidently at 7 you think she can't. Many can.

Library have done nothing wrong.

Lafaminute Sat 02-Feb-13 19:23:06

DD has been reading JW since 7 yrs. In our library they are in the older kids section if appropriate but I have gotten dd some of the older ones on audio and listened to them with her. My local librarian reckons that a lot of the stuff READ goes over kids heads if it is not familiar. Certainly my dd has asked me about the stuff she doesn't understand (given she comes from a very sheltered life this is a lot of JW's subjest matter) and I figure it's a good way to introduce different "lifestyles" to her. In my opinion this works for us but plenty of her friends otherwise open-minded parents will not let their 9/10 year olds read JW at all! Each to their own, I check most of my dd's library books - even reading some of them but certainly reading blurbs and reviews - before she reads them.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sat 02-Feb-13 19:27:46

Bad Girls isn't part of the 'girls' trilogy, which is indeed aimed at an older readership. It's a standalone story which, as I remember from the dds reading it, doesn't have anything in it to worry about.

I think YABU, it's fine for a seven year old.

If most school libraries are like my DS's school (v small primary), then they will have a computer system of checking books in and out. It's quite a simple matter to allow books to certain year groups only, so it's probably worth mentioning your concerns to the head. I know we have several books (I help out in the library btw) by Jacqueline Wilson which are for the older readers.

CloudsAndTrees Sat 02-Feb-13 19:34:43

Jacqueline Wilson books are controversial, so you are not alone in feeling like this. I do understand where you are coming from, I have boys and I have been shocked and quite unhappy about the amount of violence there can be in books aimed at children.

Personally, I think that as your dd is talking to you about what she had read, then it's not really a bad thing, or something you should worry too much about. The stories are introduced in a 'safe' way, and it's better for your dd to be able to think about what happens in the big wide world now while she is still young enough to be under more influence from you than from anyone else. It won't do your dd any harm, because she has you to talk to about what she is reading.

pointythings Sat 02-Feb-13 19:35:00

I don't think the library have done anything wrong either - my DDs read this at round about that age, it certainly prompted some discussion, but I agree with the posters who say that JW has a strong moral voice in her writing.

DollOnAMusicBox1 Sat 02-Feb-13 19:38:01

I haven't read the book in years. Yes there is shoplifting but the girl that does it gets caught and suffers the consequences, such as being arrested, removed from her family home.

I don't really see the problem either.

porridgewithalmondmilk Sat 02-Feb-13 19:40:19

I have read all JW's books. I have my own issues with some of them but that's largely down to the fact she is repeating characters/stories endlessly. 'Bad Girls' is (imo) one of the better ones. None of the characters are perfect and no one is an out and out 'baddie' either.

I was bullied at school and it was nice to read of others going through the same thing!

Theas18 Sat 02-Feb-13 19:49:43

Umm yabu. Never censor reading - used to worry as you do with my pfb. It soon became clear that, if something was too old/ they couldn't really cope with the story/ it's was too adult, they'd stop and read something else.

The important thing seemed to be not to start " you've not read that , read some more" type nagging encouragement.

However I did pay attention to film/ game certificate - easy to get sucked into something you can't cope with and can't escape from there.

My 6 yr old has come home with a Skate School book which seems to be recommended for 10+. So far, there seems to be a fair amount of references to romance and crushes and being an "item" with someone - which, I am hoping, is waaay over her head. <crosses fingers>

But then I vividly remember trying to take "Hello God, Are You There, Its ME Margaret" out of the school library at about age 7 and the librarian called my Mother to ask if it was OK. Mum said yes, relying on most of it being mostly incomprehensible to me - which it was.

Tbh, I have less of an issue with her reading books for older kids than I do with her watching TV or films that are beyond her age range. In a way, the impact of her reading is limited by her imagination & own experiences whereas stuff she sees could be much more explicit.

EmpressMaud Sat 02-Feb-13 19:54:43

I think my eldest daughter read that, and similar JW books, at that age. But I put them away when my younger daughter started to read as she is more sensitive.

ToomuchWaternotWine Sat 02-Feb-13 19:55:31

Our local, small, (380ish pupils) village primary school does not have the staff available to cover library. So parent volunteers do it. I am one of them, and I have 3 classes (85 children) to escort from their class, get their books returned and new ones checked out, and escorted back safely, in just under 2 hours. I don't have the time to carefully analyse each and every one of their choices!!! If the parents didn't help out, the kids simply wouldn't get any library time, and I know for some kids this is the only time they get to a library at all, and get to choose a book for fun.

The library does have younger kids books in one area of lower "boxes" (appropriate for P1 and 2, age 5-6) and the rest on the shelves so if a younger one wanted to take out a more mature book, I would spot it and redirect them back to their section. If a 7 year old wanted a very complicated science text I would probably try to help them find something on the topic in a more appropriate text. but if a 7-8 year old wanted a JW book well, then it's their choice but I agree, the covers dont help. I wasnt, until this thread, aware the content was so controversial. Our system is so ancient I don't think it has a facility to restrict books to certain classes.

OP what are the circumstances of your school library? If they are anything like us, then I think yabu a bit. In some schools the library is very underused, or closed, at least your child is getting books.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Sat 02-Feb-13 20:21:00

I dont see a problem tbh. And yes I've read the book. This could be a good time to discuss things such as peer pressure, bullying etc with your DD. These things seem to affect children younger and younger these days.

That said, while I like Jaquline Wilson and really loved her books when I was a kid I do think a few of her books should possbily be read first by the parent before letting your DC read them due to the upsetting the content in some. The Illustrated Mum for example, had me in tears and I wasnt exactly little when I read it (about 13 infact).

mrsjay Sat 02-Feb-13 20:35:50

A lot of people seem to buy them for gifts and things too, and just sort of assume that because it's by JW it's a children's book and will be suitable, and unfortunately they aren't necessarily so.

^ ^ this, I didnt censor books when dd was younger she was really enjoyed reading but I do think certain books are not for all children , JW as said before does really tough subjects sometimes but they always come good in the end,

marriedinwhite Sat 02-Feb-13 20:42:16

Advanced readers need books for older children. All children need their parents to teach them right from wrong and provide boundaries and a moral framework. That means they can deal with stuff that is a little more sophisticated than we might like. DD read Atonement at 12; she thoroughly enjoyed it. She was also aware of what was wrong in it. She read the first two chapters of 50 shades of grey at 13 and told me it was utter crap because it was so badly written so not to bother with it.

I'm with you op.

I'm actually a jw fan, shes not patronising and a great writer. That said, she deals with some enormously tough subjects that I'm not ok with my seven yo dd reading. That is why I read all her books first and have asked her teacher not to let her take jw books home (she was fine with that btw)

Sedatives, I bought illustrated mum for dd1, read it first and was in floods, and I'm 32!

Dd1 can read it when shes older.

exoticfruits Sat 02-Feb-13 22:31:52

I would have founded you very frustrating when I was a DC SilentMammoth- I was a real book worm and my mother wouldn't have read fast enough for me, and would never have managed to read her own books! I read my way through the library.

exoticfruits Sat 02-Feb-13 22:32:10

Sorry - 'found'

DoJo Sun 03-Feb-13 09:11:14

Was your daughter upset about the content? It sounds as though it was thought provoking in as much as she came to you to ask questions about what she had read and I have to be honest, that sounds like the perfect reading scenario to me, but if you are concerned then maybe mention it to the school and ensure that you check what she's reading whenever she gets a new book.

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