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To not want my 9y old reading about incurable cancer and AIDS in her school reading book?

(77 Posts)
Bohica Mon 26-Sep-11 21:09:02

Fully prepared to be told IABU, I'm probably a bit sensitive as DH had cancer, although DD doesn't know this as she was only 5 at the time.

DD said she didn't want to read her home school book as it was sad and the little boy in it has cancer. I told her if a book didn't grab her attention within the first couple of chapters then she could find something else to read and I have now read her home school book this evening.

It's written from the view of a 12y old boy who wants to talk to the Queen so she can help cure his 8y old brothers cancer, he meets a sole mate who's brother is dying (and does die during the book) of AIDS.

It's sad and DD1 (eldest of 3 girls) is a sensitive sole and I don't think this is suitable reading for a 9y old, the blurb has a recommendation from a 13y old as a good read.

I wrote a note asking to change the book and DD was told no, not until she had read it so I'm now thinking of writting a longer note as I'm not impressed that.

A: a 9y old is given a topic of AIDS and cancer as a home school read.

B: DD was told she had to read the book before she could change it.

AIBU or a bit PFB?

pudding25 Mon 26-Sep-11 21:12:27

I teach 9 yr olds. I wouldn't have them reading this. if their parents want them to read it, that is one thing but I wouldn't have it in the classroom to send home. I would ask to speak to the teacher and ask her why she feels it is suitable as you don't.

porcamiseria Mon 26-Sep-11 21:12:29

hmm, I do feel that kids need to learn this stuff BUT I dont blame you for feeling like you do either! I dont think you should push it though

cookcleanerchaufferetc Mon 26-Sep-11 21:12:54

YANBU .... I would be frigging angry too. Go into school and tell them that your DD will not in any circumstances be reading the book in or out of school. 9 is too young for this type of book.

Hassled Mon 26-Sep-11 21:13:18

No, not PFB at all. Quite aside from the subject matter, a) it's aimed at 13+ and your DD is 9 and b) it is INSANE to force a child to read a book they're not getting on with. It makes reading a chore rather than a pleasure, and then they lose all enthusiasm for reading and that's just tragic. Once you've lost them on reading, it's very hard to get back on track.

Can you pop in and see the teacher - she might have been having an off day/been distracted etc? Sometimes face to face is more effective. If you're at work then yes, write another note. If all else fails, I would talk to the Year Head/Head. Some schools have a Reading Policy - you could ask to see it.

worraliberty Mon 26-Sep-11 21:14:21

Well I don't think you're being PFB but I do think perhaps your view is clouded due to your DH perhaps?

I think 9yrs is kind of old enough to start to learn about subjects that end up touching nearly all of us at some time, as long as it's written about in a sensitive age appropriate way.

Sometimes I think we set kids up for a fall due to the way we want to protect them from the sad things in the world.

jetgirl Mon 26-Sep-11 21:14:35

What's the book called and who's it by? My initial thoughts are it could be deemed appropriate, but as you say your 9yo is sensitive and might find it upseeting. You obviously know your child better than I! Is it a class read? In which case she would need to read it, but if it's a book your DD chose from a range of titles then I would not be impressed at the school telling my child to finish it first before changing it.

eandemum Mon 26-Sep-11 21:15:57

What's the book?

fedupofnamechanging Mon 26-Sep-11 21:17:21

I would not be happy being told that my child had to read a book that they hated before they could get a replacement. Attitudes like that turn a child off reading. Can't imagine what the teacher is thinking, in refusing to change it.

I would not want my 10 year old, or 11 year old reading this either. It sounds fucking miserable. I would ask the teacher if she is forced to read misery lit and why is a child's right to select their own reading material of less importance than an adult's?

ElfOnTheTopShelf Mon 26-Sep-11 21:18:08

Flipping heck. I was turning my nose up at DDs book today (she is five, and this was a story about a homeless man) but that was nothing on your DDs book!

SandStorm Mon 26-Sep-11 21:18:14

That's the sort of book that I would expect a letter home first to check with the parents that it's okay to be read. I don't think I'd want my dd to be reading that yet.

KittyFane Mon 26-Sep-11 21:20:38

Worra- would you tell an 8 year old that someone had died from cancer or would you be vague and say that they had become very ill and the doctors couldn't make them better... I will have to face this soon and don't know (DD not close to person in question but knows them as part of wider group) sorry to jump on thread BTW OP.

hevak Mon 26-Sep-11 21:21:06

Hmm, I think I know the book you are talking about, though I can't remember the title blush

I seem to remember the main character was sent to stay with relatives (I believe overseas?) while his brother was receiving medical treatment?

If it's the book I'm thinking of, then IIRC it is written very sensitively and I think it might be appropriate for some 9yo. However I certainly don't think it would be appropriate for most 9yo IYSWIM?

I think you need to speak to the teacher about this... perhaps mention that as your DH had cancer you are particularly concerned about the content of the book for this reason? Perhaps also ask some other parents of her classmates if they've come across the book and their thoughts on whether it is appropriate for their 9yo?

FantasticDay Mon 26-Sep-11 21:23:24

I don't think you are being unreasonable. We have discussed cancer theoretically with my 5 yo (what it is, why it's a bad idea to smoke etc.) and I wouldn't have a problem explaining about AIDS - but I have told the teachers when she has been upset by a reading book (about pictures coming to life!) and they changed it straight away. It's important to learn about these issues, but a sensible straightforward conversation is less likely to result in nightmares.

Riveninabingle Mon 26-Sep-11 21:23:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CristinadellaPizza Mon 26-Sep-11 21:23:48

If it's not a book they are reading as a class, then I don't see why she has to read it before being allowed to choose something else. Hardly the way to encourage a lifelong love a reading is it? I'd have given up on reading long ago if I was forced to finish every book I've ever started

Bohica Mon 26-Sep-11 21:28:44

It's called Two weeks with the queen written by Morris Gleitzman.

Quite a catchy non life threatening title imo.

I haven't met her teacher yet, she is new to the school and I work on school days.

But we do have parents evening on Wednesday night so I am going to get there straight from work.

Thanks for the replies, I am protective of her although I know she needs to learn life isn't a bed of rose just not yet

eandemum Mon 26-Sep-11 21:29:10

As a school librarian - if a child returned a book without reading it and told me reasons why they didn't like it, then there is no prob.
Also I don't ask each child about every book they are returning - not enough time!!

Why can't yr DD just say she has read the book - OK not good to lie but she won't get tested on it will she wink

BatsUpMeNightie Mon 26-Sep-11 21:29:12

I think children have quite long enough to find out the horrors of life - why force feed it to them at such a young age? I just don't get it. Ok - you don't need to dress things up as if it's all fairies and flowers but you can also be non-specific about stuff. They'll find out soon enough won't they?

startail Mon 26-Sep-11 21:30:15

I would have hated it at 9 and I'd probably hate it now. I like my books, plays, films to have happy endings. There are enough sad endings in RL.

Shakirasma Mon 26-Sep-11 21:31:15

Is it called 2 weeks with the Queen? If so the childrens bereavement network recommends it for key stage 2 readers, ages 7-11.

worraliberty Mon 26-Sep-11 21:33:46

Worra- would you tell an 8 year old that someone had died from cancer or would you be vague and say that they had become very ill and the doctors couldn't make them better... I will have to face this soon and don't know (DD not close to person in question but knows them as part of wider group) sorry to jump on thread BTW OP.

I honestly couldn't answer that without knowing the child..but sorry you're going to be faced with this situation sad

My youngest DS is 8 and I know if I told him someone had died, the first thing he'd ask me is 'what of'? To be honest, I don't think the explanation would make him any sadder than the fact someone had died IYSWIM?

But I can think of a few of his peers, who I would tell in a completely different way and not offer much info unless they really pressed me for it.

However, I will say this.

Imo, kids reading age appropriate books on sad subjects is not always a bad thing and can be of great help, if they have to have bad news broken to them...sometimes they help give them a greater understanding.

worraliberty Mon 26-Sep-11 21:35:52

Sorry...I meant to add that I don't think kids should be forced to read things like that at primary age though.

Bohica Mon 26-Sep-11 21:36:35

DD knows children die, a class friend died last year from a heart condition.

Again I had to be very carefull because DD3 has a minor heart condition (modorate VSD) and I explained that not everyone has to die if they become ill or have a medical condition. She is a worrier and although we have spoken about cancer it's not something I want her mind dwelling on.

<thread starts reading like a woo is me and my poor sensitive wee lamb sob story>

Vallhala Mon 26-Sep-11 21:39:16

I'm with you. Nothing wrong with DC knowing of these illnesses - mine found out the hard way when very small as I had cancer - but imho it's something which you as a parent need to find your own way of broaching, particularly if the illness in question is one which someone close is suffering or has suffered.

I'd be very bluntly and firmly telling the teacher that my child was NOT going to be reading this book, adding that she was aware of the content and had herself expressed extreme disquiet about reading it.

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