what age did you let DD start reading Jacqueline Wilson ?

(39 Posts)
omydarlin Tue 06-Sep-11 19:28:49

I am torn really - my DD has really come on leaps on bounds with her reading ( at the start of y1 she had trouble reading key words like, they, went etc) she has just started Y3 but towards the end of Y2 started reading independently by choice she loves reading so much now. Because her Nan quite innocently got her the Jacqueline Wilson magazine she became interested in her books - she knows her idol - her 17 year old cousin used to read them when she was younger - I must admit I even convinced myself I'd bought her some JW books at DD age!! I did not realise how advanced some of the content is - talking about sex (not literally but in passing) etc until she just read a chapter to me.

Part of me wants to run and get her some nice innocent Enid Blyton or CS Lewis or Rainbow Fairies or something - she is a young and innocent 7yr old - July born.

But the other part of me remembers how enchanted I was with books at her age and how I learn't so much about the world reading books I probably shouldn't of Judy Blume anyone lol). I should be honest with her when she asks about these issues shouldn't I ?- surely it can't do her too much harm I mean JW is quite sensible in her approaches to sensitive subjects.

So if you have a DD what age did you let her start reading JW books and what age would consider an appropriate age to let them read?

She is currently Candyfloss - a hand me down from her cousin.

exexpat Tue 06-Sep-11 19:35:56

JW writes for a huge age range - some of her books are fine for 5/6/7 year olds, some are definitely more teenage - I am afraid you need to vet them one by one. Read the backs, flick through the pages, check amazon reviews etc.

DD is 8 and went through a big JW phase last year, but I kept her away from the ones with more teenage content.

omydarlin Tue 06-Sep-11 19:57:19

I think that's the mistake I made - not realising the range she writes for although thinking back I had managed to hide "girls in love" when she got given it.

sloping off to Amazon now to check reviews for Candyfloss - hadn't thought about that - may have to stop the magazine buying - its ruddy expensive anyway.

DeWe Thu 08-Sep-11 19:43:07

Dd2 has been reasing them for the last year. She's just gone into year 3. HAve also removed the girls in love series, unfortunately half way through reading...

newtermnewname Fri 09-Sep-11 12:45:58

DD read Candyfloss and Cookie when she was 6, nearly 7, found them fine, no difficult questions asked!

She is giving them a rest for a while at the mo as she is ploughing through Harry Potter but has said that she wants to read The Longest Whale Song after HP no.7. MIL BTW thinks that delicate little girls shouldn't be reading books about, shock horror, real life and issues that affect people, but she is stuck in the 1950's and thinks they should be knitting and sewing instead.

cory Sat 10-Sep-11 12:06:14

newterm, I have found that grandparents get increasingly protective with age

my mother is definitely of the opinion that her grandchildren - or at least my youngest brother's children- should stick to the sweet and fluffy: I have no recollection of her raising the slightest eyebrow at my reading Treasure Island or Captain Marryatt at the same age. Some of those old classics are far gorier than anything JK Rowling has ever imagined.

I think it is an increasing sense of vulnerability as they feel themselves becoming more vulnerable. It has been interesting to see the progression of this from eldest to youngest grandchild- definitely more to do with something in herself.

newtermnewname Sat 10-Sep-11 16:56:31

Interesting, Cory. MIL is hard to sum up in a few words, but think nervous, bigoted and feeble. She is quite a controlling person in subtle ways - DH doesn't admit to noticing - but me and SIL do. I think she would feel far more comfortable if DD wasn't such a competent reader and was still into Fairy books etc - because that is what SHE would have read at her age IYKWIM.

BastardDog Sat 10-Sep-11 17:06:04

My dd has been JW mad since she was 6. I vetted the books and she has really enjoyed reading them over the years. Dd is 10 now and I've decided to cut the apron strings and let her read whichever ones she wants. She's currently reading Hetty Feather and my 11yo son is engrossed in dds Cookies cast off.

beautifulbooks Mon 26-Sep-11 20:53:32

Message deleted

PomBearAtTheGatesOfDawn Tue 27-Sep-11 12:33:37

I read JW and DD got two last year for Christmas. I read them both, and let her read Hetty Feather but not the other one (I think it was Jodie something or other). She turned 9 in August.
I was torn because it's taken me all her life to get DHs family to buy her books and his nieces daughter (older than DD) loves JW apparently, I am inclined to be judgey and think the ony books she possesses are the ones I've bought her over the years which are all suspiciously pristine and never move so that was what they bought.
I quite like them, but of course I'm a grown up, and I often feel that JW writes what she thinks parents think children will want to read, and she is very "right on" and "socially suitable" just now, but her books are so bloody depressing - even the so called happy endings are miserable a lot of the time. They're just not what I want DD to read yet so I either outright say No or tell her an outline of the plot and so far she hasn't wanted to read them.

The books are written in 4 age categories www.jacquelinewilson.co.uk/the-books/ (on the left). It's irritating that these aren't actually indicated in the books though.

heymammy Thu 06-Oct-11 13:05:14

DD1 was close to 7 when she started reading proper JW books not the very young ones, tbh I have never 'vetted' them or 'let her' read them, she reads what she fancies and talks about all sorts of stuff as a result.

She has come across one from the library recently (she is 8 now) that involved a teen making themselves sick...she told me she didn't like it and she herself suggested she should probably stop reading it, and did!

FancyForgetting Thu 06-Oct-11 13:23:39

DD started reading the 'younger' ones when she was 6, and met JW at a book signing just before she was 7. JW was absolutely lovely, even though the signing had over-run by a couple of hours and actually asked how old DD was (she was,and still is, v petite, so prob looked about 4!).

That was nearly 10 years ago, so there were fewer of her books around, and therefore easier to be clear on content.

DD was also partial to a bit of Blyton, Narnia etc - I don't think they are necessarily mutually exclusive!

Which one was that heymammy? The only one that has caused disquiet here is Dustbin Baby, which unsurprisingly is on the 12+ list and wasn't suitable for my (then) 8 year olds. Hetty Feather caused tears last week as well. I had never thought to censor children's books before JW came into our lives.

FancyForgetting Thu 06-Oct-11 13:58:33

Re 'censoring' - my mother restricting our viewing very severely, while being proud of my literacy. I found some of the children's classics traumatising - I struggle to think of a hero/heroine who wasn't orphaned/abused/paralysed in some terrible accident - some all at the same time smile

Oh the irony of her forbidding me to see that notoriously immoral film 'Grease' while I was reading 'Lace' and 'The Thorn Birds' along with all my friends at convent school shock

At least we are being selective on the grounds of what we see for ourselves, and what our individual children can cope with, rather than on received 'wisdom'.

FancyForgetting Thu 06-Oct-11 14:00:39

Sorry - should read 'restricted' not restricting - why do I always end up with egg on my face when I'm being caustic blush

Irony indeed smile My son just read Pollyanna and I asked him if it was a happy book, as I thought it was, and apparently Pollyanna ends up in a wheelchair!

FancyForgetting Thu 06-Oct-11 14:52:46

Ah yes - the omnipresent wheelchair: What Katy Did, The Secret Garden and Heidi also featured some poor child confined to one as a plot device - and that's off the top of my head! And don't get me started on young deaths from TB - Little Women and Anne of Avonlea spring immediately
to mind!

What age for the Anne books for? I really want my children to read them, and also love them so don't want to give too early. I can't remember what age I was.

*age I was when I first read them.

FancyForgetting Thu 06-Oct-11 15:03:29

I think the Anne books are the least traumatic of all this genre so, depending on the child, I would have thought around 10. She is an orphan, but that's just the device to get her to Avonlea - no wallowing in misery.

The language is pretty dated, but not too turgid and the scrapes she gets herself into are quite amusing,

I am biased as she is that rare childhood heroine - a fellow redhead, so I sympathised with her freckle trauma smile

Thank you. The original Just William series was hit here so the dated language is fine. I wonder if I re-read them now if I would relate to Marilla or Anne? I'll dig them out this weekend.

FancyForgetting Thu 06-Oct-11 15:27:33

Just William are fab as were Jennings and Darbyshire - if you remember them?

Scary thought re Marilla! I think that the fact you could 'grow up' with Anne as she became a teacher, married etc was part of the charm for me.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 06-Oct-11 15:29:17

Anne of Green gables is relatively untraumatic, but lovely Matthew dies at the end. My DD loves me to read classic books to her (while she devours age-apt JW) - there's very few of them I could get through without totally tearing up at points. Some of the later books in the Anne series are I think best kept till a bit later (we finished them up last year, DD is 12 now) - Anne loses a baby in one, various other deaths, then there's the rather odd plotline with her friend Leslie... and the last book, Rilla of Ingleside is set during WWI, I was actually very interested in some of the history but I wouldn't have wanted to read it to DD much younger.

FancyForgetting Thu 06-Oct-11 15:41:53

You're right Grimma, that's what I meant by 'growing up' with Anne. Was reading the later ones for the first time as a sixth-former blush

I'd never heard of the Jennings books. Golly gosh, I have a whole new series to order grin

Reading Anne to DC would be a nice thing to do actually. I very rarely read anything to them now as they are always so busy racing through books themselves.

heymammy Thu 06-Oct-11 18:07:11

katharine Girls in Love was the book that dd1 didn't like. It is def for older readers and should probably have been in the teenage section at the library, in fact...I will let them know next time I'm over there.

I would LOVE dd1 to get interested in some of the classics but the narrative does drone on and on and on. She started the secret garden but it wasn't fast-paced enough <impatient>

Thanks. My DC seem to read anything and everything. Perhaps your DD would like Dickens, the abridged childified versions? I think they are quite pacy.

And yy to The Secret Garden being dull.

LillianGish Thu 06-Oct-11 18:23:57

Fossilised fishhooks! Never heard of Jennings shock Too ozard for words. Make sure you get them in the original - I think there may also be a modernised version.

muddyvampsters123 Thu 06-Oct-11 18:46:57

DD has been reading JW since she was 6/7. She also gets the JW mag monthly.
She has just started reading the new JW book Sapphire Battersea.

DD is 9..8 yrs and i am trying to get her to read a wider variety of books.wink

I must admit i have kept the older JW books until she is 10 + . After this age I will let her read what she likes within reason .

Thanks for the tip on getting older version - the updated Just William was totally ozard grin

jongleuse Fri 07-Oct-11 23:30:28

Interesting looking at the website KatherineClifton, they mostly seem to be aimed at 9-11 but the marketing seems to be targeting younger girls, i.e. the magazine etc.

Fennel Mon 10-Oct-11 16:10:35

My dds have read JW from about 6 or 7, but I agree there's a big difference from the younger books and the teen ones, and it would be helpful if you could see that clearly on the cover. I don't censor them for my dds but they have tended to avoid the teen topics til recently (aged 10 and 11 now). Some of them are much better than others (I have discovered recently from a phase of having JW audio CDs in the car). Sleepovers was crap. Girls in Tears etc seems silly. Others I really like.

If they find Secret Garden a bit slow you could try a Little Princess, that has been very popular with my dds, I loved it too as a child.

and yy to Jennings and Darbishire, though you don't see them around these days. Nor do you find Biggles very often, another of my old favourites (and massively un pc all round).

nostalgicmum Sat 12-Jan-13 22:31:09

I don't care for Jacqueline Wilson's work. I was surprised to read that she is a Dame and is/was? the Children's Laureate. However, I confess to having read very little of her books. My daughters have read several, ostensibly those aimed at the younger reader, I believe (and hope). I did not appreciate my eight year old asking me what a 'hooker' is, amongst other things. Tracey Beaker and its offshoots seem to be on the television morning, noon and night in my house. (Yes, I know, I'm the mummy and I can turn it off - if I can brace myself against the outcry). I can't stand the sight and sound of the characters' voices droning on and I feel that these programmes have a detrimental effect on my kids. Also, in one JW on tv last night, one of the characters mentioned, 'mum kept most of his milk teeth'. In the Suitcase Kid, Father Christmas's existence is blatantly called into question. These aspects are unnecessary and an author who really cared about kids would not include them, but I get the feeling Jacqueline Wilson enjoys writing that sort of thing.

A few years ago I was instructed to hear a group of girls read this latter book over a several weeks in school. I think the children were in the early weeks of Year 4. I found the book depressing and rude and was so pleased when after about a third to a half of the book the girls, en masse, asked if we could please stop reading it as they found it rude and unpleasant. And no, I don't think I brainwashed them. The teachers all seemed it think the book was good, though, and beneficial to children whose parents have separated. (My daughter read this as a class book when her dad and I had just separated and she said it made her feel quite depressed, and even more worried about the future).

I have read sections of JW's work which were inoffensive and readable. My elder daugher assured me, too, that Hetty Feather was inoffensive. However, I have read bits that just make feel feel - well - yucky. And no, there is no cathartic feeling. And some of the characters say things that are adult which are just not realistic. She had a child say that she wished a teacher or someone-or-other had worn a sports bra whilst dancing at a party. Well, I do not think any young child would think that, and there was no useful purpose served by the comment that I could see. She just has some nasty characters. In fairness, having slated her, I should go and read her whole body of work in order to be properly objective.

phillipsmark Mon 14-Jan-13 13:35:28

The books are written in different age categories. Depending on your child age category you can let him/her read them. You can check their website here.

ummlilia Tue 15-Jan-13 09:16:58

My quite grown -up 8 year old hates these books because 'they're too much like real life'.. ( not our lives I hasten to add..{blush} * She finds them depressing , and so do I..

Dancergirl Mon 21-Jan-13 08:03:03

Dd3 is nearly 6 and has read some JW, mainly 'borrowed' from her sisters' bedrooms!

Hate to break this to you OP, but if you have a keen reader, you won't be able to monitor what they read for much longer. They'll get their hands on all sorts of books from school, the library, borrowed from friends etc. I can't keep up now with what dd2 reads, she gets through them v quickly.

It's good to read a wide range and if your dd wants to read JW that's fine IMO, the younger ones are fine for her age.

Startail Mon 21-Jan-13 08:59:42

DD2 (11) devours JW, Cathy Cassidy and other similar stuff and likes them being like real life and has since she was about 8 or 9.
DD1 and I agree with ummlilia's DD that they are depressing.

Suit Case Kid should be compulsory reading for parents thinking of splitting up, but I'm less sure about DCs.

DD1 (and me) like HP, Percy Jackson, Alex Rider and the like.

DD1 likes the hunger games, which I can't bring myself to read (the basic premise gives me the shivers). She also devours fantasy,dragons, vampires and the like. She started Lord of the rings and bought the DVD grin

Neither will read the classics, DD2 just looks at you in that way only preteens can.

DD1 is dyslexic and they are just too wordy. I'm mildly dyslexic too and moved from The twins at st. Claires to adult thrillers s and lace and never read any either.

Two things the DDs do agree on. They like Twilight and most Michel Morpergo's are too sad.

In any case you Dancergirls right you won't keep up with DDs aquiring of books. DD1 had read all the sixth form only section by 14 (she's a librarian)

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