We have finally put up bookshelves and are unpacking my books - only 18m after moving house. Quite apart from the sheer joy of seeing my old friends after so long, I'm wondering what to do about allowing the children access to these books. It's not a matter of preciousness, or whether they cna be trusted with them, but of how to handle the LOs relative immaturity and the content of the books.
So what would/do you do:
Allow free access to all the books?
Allow free access but put the more unsuitable books on the top shelves, and hope that the maturity to deal with them will come as the LOs grow?
Have them check with me before they are allowed to read a book?
Silence of the Lambs (that's one of dh's, but I won't read it!), Wilbur Smith, Harold Robbins, Leon Uris - nothing spectacularly appalling! Also memoirs and factual books on subjects like the Holocaust, and various other historical events.
ATM I'd also consider writers like Alan Garner and Roald Dahl to be unsuitable as well.
Personally I lean towards option 2 - top-shelving.
Most dcs wouldn't even go near books like that until they are old enough to understand them, they'd look boring; how old are your dcs btw? I'm assuming you are talking about the adult Roald Dahl stuff? Tbh - unless something says SEX, DRUGS or GORY VIOLENT MASSACRE across the spine, they'd probably not even pick it up!
My parents hid nothing - AFAIK. I remember reading Lord of the Rings at 8, and having nightmares. Fortunately I had the sense to put it away for a few years. I also remember coming across Harold Robbins and Leon Uris at a young age - don't recall exactly when, but I was still in primary school - and finding them both terribly disturbing. As for RD, I don't really differentiate between adult and child stuff - he is really black and dips deep into the violence and nastiness that we have inside us even as children. Ds1 got very upset by an audiobook of The BFG, which is mild for RD stuff.
Aren't books self censoring - in the sense that if there is anything unsuitable in a book, it is generally not very engaging fo ra child to read in any case (language, subject matter etc?). Also - books are good at nuance and context. It's not a just a gory image that will imprint on the mind. So, if your child is mature enough to get through the book, they are probably mature enough to be able to deal with the 'bad' bits, and may learn something from the book as a whole.
Depends on age of child. DD has access to all of her own books, and to various reference books/atlases. However mine and DH's books are on the upper shelves of the book case. DD can't actually reach these and she aloso knows they aren't hers, so not really suitable for her, and she must ask before getting one if she really does want to look.
I agree with Kif - I was a very early avid reader and read a whole heap of books that some would deem unsuitable for my age group including The Adventurers, but I didn't seem to suffer unduly, I think it's personal choice and for me, if my dcs are reading then that is enough for me!
I read LOTR at an early age and it didn't bother me at all but I was 11 not 8!
My little bro watched Disney's Pinocchio at 7 however and had nightmares for months about the fox!
I think I agree with kiff in that books are self-censoring. If they`Re That imature, then they aren`T going to be able to make it through an adult book, and if their vocab is so good that they can manage it, then I don`t think it needs to be censored. I think I`d be embarrassed that my kids knew I read some things (like my mum when I read her mills & boon), but I don`t think thats any reason to censure. I always had free access to any of my parents books and I think this was a good thing looking back. Yes, there were some raunchy and scary books, but basically it was reading; learning about the world, expanding vocab.
Free access, but with any valuable ones (signed copies, valuable first editions) on high shelves out of harm's way.
I'd only hide them if they were very unsuitable (hard-core porn etc ). My parents used to hide books, but I knew where all the hiding places were and it made those books seem very attractive and 'naughty'. I doubt I'd have given them a passing glance if they'd been out on the open shelves.