I am dreading my kids getting to that age - I think they should stick to paddington for a LONG time!
I think they all mature differently, my parents did shelter what I was allowed to read (that didn't stop me borrowing a Judy Blume book from a friend when I was in Yr7 and sitting reading it with my door shut and my back to the door so noone could catch me) so I did discover a whole range of books my friends didn't which were brilliant. Ones about a young girl growing up in Africa, ones about a young swimmer competing internationally and then I moved on to autobiographies when I was about 14/15ish, many of them along the lines of The Diary of Anne Frank, real stories of a child's experience of escaping war, that kind of thing. Very shocking but in a different way. I read a lot of what were puffin plus books then but goodness knows what would count as puffin plus now.
I think you have to trust her judgement in some ways with what she thinks is appropriate. Keep the lines of communication open, try to get her to discuss what is happening in the book with you if she wants to and make sure she knows fiction is just that, fiction. Also make her aware that if she starts reading something and decides it isn't right for her then it is perfectly acceptable to stop as soon as it gets gory/scary/too explicit if she wants to and also that she shouldn't feel she has to read something just because her friends are. As I say a lot of the books I read many of my friends didn't. they skipped straight to adult books but I think they missed out on quite a lot. At 11 I still liked Dick King Smith books, Charlotte Sometimes was another favourite. Actually I have my book review book from Year 7 upstairs. I keep meaning to look through it and see what I WAS reading.
You sound like a responsible parent so I don't think she is going to be swayed into a strange lifestyle just from reading books. Just keep a vague eye on it. I worry about my girls growing up too quickly in terms of 'life' exposure but I realise that that is the way life is now so I need to keep up!
To me, the concern wouldn't be the sex per se, nor perhaps even any violence, but the misogyny that is often part of this genre. After all, she is more likely to take on these attitudes through books that are part of her own, modern culture than through some kind of desire to emulate the women around Heathcliff.
Having said this, these books can be a very good opener for the kind of conversations you should be having anyway about how women are perceived and how women are treated and what a good relationship looks like. The only reason I was happy for dd to read the Twilight book at 11 was that our talks made it clear that she could spot their dodginess perfectly clearly.
I would certainly not encourage your dd to read them without discussion.
(Though I wouldn't say that the fact that somebody watches High School Musical does not mean they are not also ready to think about sex. Most people read and watch things on different levels. I read Just William the other night. You don't know what goes on inside somebody's head. My mother had no idea of my sexual development when I was 11- I wasn't going to talk to her about these thoughts).
I too have an almost- 9 year old who can pretty much read at secondary school level. We have had the sex talk already, and thankfully she is not interested at all in the 'romance' side of these books yet..although she likes vampires. Mind you that did lead to her picking up a book about vampires called' Department 19' which is a bit more 'boyish' for want of a better word, and it was so full of blood and gore I nearly retched reading it myself. She thought it was a hoot.. I never read Judy Blume.too American (with a capital A) my mother would have said at the time..we don't do 'feelings'... (Yes I did grow up in my own version of 'Oranges are Not The Only Fruit') It's a strange thing that I find the violence easier to handle than the sex..
She s watching high school musical for the umpteenth time at the mo, so defo not ready for lust and longing yet. Plenty of time for all that. Hmm will have to rethink Judy Blume then, don't remember them being quite so explicit!! old age Percy books have just arrived though se will be busy for the next couple of weeks!
It's funny actually - she's read Room twice, about 6 months apart (she reads books in 1-2 sittings so does lots of re-reading) and it was clear that she'd 'got' much more of the implied stuff 2nd time round. She still didn't understand all of it but she asked me more searching questions about the kidnapper after her 2nd go, as things began to occur to her.
The Twilight and all that stuff is full of lust & longing as far as I can see, which is likely to intrigue her esp as she's going through early stages of puberty. Having said that I think the Judy Blume stuff would gross her out! Nothing left to the imagination there and I certainly don't think she's ready for that yet! Maybe in a couple of years...
Oh god! Ditto. My dd wants to read the twilight series (10 yrs old) and I have let her read the first one but no others. (Are they rude?) But then she has read The Hunger Games which is pretty raucous violence-wise.
I have just showed her the young adult section in the library which I am slightly regretting as she keeps coming away with books I am not sure about.
Having said that we talked to her about why (we thought) the twilight books were too much, talked about sex and how it is more of a grown up thing etc (actually I kind of let DH do that bit, much to his horror ) so I think she knows why we are being a bit strict.
Last nights ordered a load of Percy Jackson books, Louis Sachar books and some other more suitable but still fun books so hopefully that will keep her occupied for a bit.
It is hard though isn't it!!! I bet you read all the Judy Blume books, I did when I was 11!!! Sounds like you don't have much to worry about, you sound very open and relaxed and actually reading about stuff like that is maybe good preparation in some ways?!?M <clutching slightly at straws?>
Gosh. HOw difficult. I have an 8 year old DD with advanced reading skills and she's already showign interest in dubious books...it's worrying BUT...at 11 I was reading James Herbert and Stephen King.
I LOVED them and was more than able to process the content...some went over my head I'm sure.
I am so against controlling kids reading matter that I would let her...bt I advise a talk with her about sex too...so that she understands it's not something she should get involved in for another...oh...twenty years!
Dd1 has brought home a couple of books from the library that look to be rubbishy copies of Twilight-type books; suitable for teens maybe. I've had a flick through and there's one ref to the boy and girl having a snog on the bed, him with a hard-on then they are caught out.
I'm really rubbish at knowing what's suitable or not as my mum wasnt around when I was 11 and my dad didn't notice what I was reading. Therefore I was reading the Godfather at 12!! But I was also very wild and acted very inappropriately for much of my teens.
We're very open with dd1 and we're not embarrassed about talking about sex etc or answering any questions she has. But what are other 11 year olds reading? She's a good reader btw and has read adult texts like Room and Wuthering Heights. I think the much darker stuff goes over her head mostly.