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Is To Kill A Mockingbird okay to give to my ten year old?

(80 Posts)
mynotsoperfectlife Sun 28-May-17 22:06:24

He's an excellent reader and very bright. It's not a difficult book to read in my memory - any thoughts?

Roomba Sun 28-May-17 22:36:44

I wouldn't give it to a ten year old to read! DS1 is a pretty advanced reader at 11, but a book about a rape trial, containing lots of racist epithets isn't what I'd want him reading. I think ten is far too young to understand most of the themes of the novel anyway.

Mama1980 Sun 28-May-17 22:46:03

My son is 9 and can read as well as I can but no way would I give him that to read I'm afraid. The rape and the racist themes are not something I'd want him reading, interesting as social commentary but not stuff I'd want him reading yet.
Plus a lot is quite nuanced I'm not sure he'd follow and pick up on everything anyway.

Whiskwarrior Sun 28-May-17 22:48:11

Some of the themes in it are quite mature. It's GCSE level. Nothing to do with reading ability. More to do with emotional maturity and dealing with certain issues.

Rape. Racism. Domestic abuse. Tom Robinson is shot and killed.

Not for kids.

mynotsoperfectlife Sun 28-May-17 22:51:26

Yes, that's why I'm asking here, although there isn't actually a rape IIRC.

mynotsoperfectlife Sun 28-May-17 22:51:28

Yes, that's why I'm asking here, although there isn't actually a rape IIRC.

scottishdiem Sun 28-May-17 22:52:49

I read it in school a couple of years older than that and it was good to be guided through it by my English teacher. If you can, perhaps read it together but I wouldnt let him read it on his own. There is a lot of context that needs unpacked. At age 10 I had picked up on themes like rape and racisim due to a voracious appetite for sci-fi books that were well outside my parents knowledge. But they had a very different context to TKAMB.

Wolfiefan Sun 28-May-17 22:52:55

No I really wouldn't. It's very much an adult book.

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Sun 28-May-17 22:55:01

I read it young because it was on my bookshelf in my bedroom at my nan's house. Most of it went over my head and when I read it again at secondary school I was quite shocked at what I read.

Whiskwarrior Sun 28-May-17 22:55:20

There isn't actually a rape, no, but that's what Tom Robinson is on trial for. It's alluded to. That's bad enough.

It's really unsuitable.

Scribblegirl Sun 28-May-17 23:03:23

I don't think I'd baulk at the race stuff for a 10 year old but (and I'm one of the much-pilloried guardianistas round these parts), the that mention of the rape during the trial would be at best going over a 10-yos head, and at worst would be an introduction into the idea of non-consent.

I probably wouldn't, although I will caveat that I think it's one of the greatest books of the last century and I don't have a 10 year old.

pollyhemlock Mon 29-May-17 08:41:53

My two older DDs, both very keen readers, read it around 12/13, as I did ( a v. long time ago!). I think if it were written now it might be as a YA novel. 10 is too young, I think. He will get more out of it in a couple of years.

mynotsoperfectlife Mon 29-May-17 09:07:00

Thanks. Looking for new reading material that isn't just regurgitated bollox smile

That1950sMum Mon 29-May-17 09:11:57

How about When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit if you want something that raises adult themes?

The David Almond books are excellent for more able readers because they are quite enigmatic. They require a bit of thought on the part of the reader!

BertrandRussell Mon 29-May-17 09:17:02

I don't get this giving adult books to children thing. Why?????

BettyRooster Mon 29-May-17 09:19:21

I read it the summer I turned ten. I was bored and my mom handed it to me and said read this. I said I didn't want to read a book about killing birds. She told me to just read it.

It didn't go over my head and I wasn't at all traumatized. In fact, it became one of those books I read again and again. I just really liked the characters, particularly Scout and Dill, and the sense of time and place.

WiltingTulip Mon 29-May-17 09:32:48

Agree with when hitler stole pink rabbit and I had another book called the endless steppe about a young girl being sent to the camps in Siberia. My ds loved all of Derek Landy. He began with the skullduggery series, then the malificent series and will start the new series demon road after I read it (the salesman said it was for an older child so I'll see).

Allington Mon 29-May-17 09:44:08

I would, and see if he finds it interesting.

I read a huge range of things - my parents had the attitude that if I wasn't old enough to understand it I would just get bored and find something else to read. I never found myself traumatised, but on re-reading when older I often found a lot went over my head. But generally I'd try a chapter or two and find it boring if it was too old for me.

When I was about 14 I found a copy of Lolita at the second hand book stall, and as I'd heard about it tried to buy it. The man made me come back with my Mum to give permission grin I found it quite boring (and still did when I re-read as an adult)...

Argeles Mon 29-May-17 11:15:46

I would definitely let him read it.

I think it'd be a great way to start having conversations with him about racism, sex and consent and prejudice.

Go for it!

mynotsoperfectlife Mon 29-May-17 11:58:33

Thanks. He's read Skellig but wasn't so keen - I like it smile and Michael Morpurgo.

Bert I guess because TKAM falls into both categories in many ways. Certainly it's taught in schools so can technically be classed as a children's book, albeit for older children than DS.

Other suggestions gratefully received!

BertrandRussell Mon 29-May-17 12:28:48

"Certainly it's taught in schools so can technically be classed as a children's book,"

So any GCSE text is "a children's book"? hmm

Whiskwarrior Mon 29-May-17 12:33:54

It's not a children'a book. It's an adult book, taught at GCSE level. Is Of Mice and Men a children's book? The Colour Purple? The Handmaid's Tale (taught at A Level, in schools)?

Where do you draw the line?

RebornSlippy Mon 29-May-17 12:34:07

I'd have thought this book would be better suited post-puberty for some ingrained, unexplored rationale I've just come up with!

I was about 14 when I read it. It wasn't traumatising at all. However, to really appreciate the book, it would be better to have a true understanding of the themes. Rape, racism etc, which I wouldn't have gotten at 10 years old.

Of course, 'kids today' and all that. Maybe he has a better grip on these things than I did in the late 80s/early 90s.

But no, personally, I'd leave it. Plenty more age appropriate reads out there.

TwentyCups Mon 29-May-17 12:36:13

I read it around that age, re read it as an adult. I read lots of adult books as a child, I don't see the harm in it.

mynotsoperfectlife Mon 29-May-17 12:58:29

I would class it as a YA book, Bert

But I don't think that children shouldn't read adults book or the other way round, necessarily.

Do you have to turn everything into an argument? smile A simple "yes because" or "no because" would suffice.

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