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Appropriate reading content at school

(15 Posts)
Gready Thu 18-Dec-14 10:16:20

My 7 year old daughter has recently bought back from the school library two Jacqueline Wilson books - My Sister and Angel. I was shocked to find that the content included young girls 'snogging boys faces off', 'getting drunk on Mum's wine and then being sick in the gutter' and stuffing their bras, pretending that they have had a boob job and also in Angel it includes death and the dad potentially bloodying his fist on the Mum! I appreciate that we should introduce them into the ways of the world and try to be politically correct by telling our kids that not everyone has a stable and happy upbringing, but seriously do these types of books really provide good role models in today's age? I believe these books are actually taking us back 50 years, the girls are not equal to men, their aspirations to get drunk, fight over boys and get big boobs is certainly not something I would encourage my girls to follow. I am so surprised that one, the education system does not properly review the content. In fact these books are aimed at 10 years and over, when the school only goes up to 10 years old. And two, even more disappointing is that this well known author has actually got away with portraying young girls as superficial numb skulls, who have no ambition in life apart from getting drink and chasing boys. Even Enid Blyton's female characters have more valour, strength of character and pluckiness. So as a Mum who works hard to encourage my girls to do well in life and feel confident, I say let's bring back the Famous Five and the Magic Faraway Tree, and get rid of these 'politically correct' trashy books from our book shelves!

ajbbiz Thu 18-Dec-14 12:54:11

I totally agree with you. I think a book like this is not suitable for a 7 year old! I would be horrified if my child came home from school with it! I would stick with my morals and my child would not be reading such garbage!

MillyMollyMama Thu 18-Dec-14 17:58:28

So why did your DD choose the book then? She obviously does not share your values just yet. Did she read the book or did you censure her free choice? Funny how Mum's can do this. Must she be "protected" from Jacqueline Wilson? Most people like her books and don't necessarily think the characters are to be copied, but the characters and storylines can be discussed to form an opinion on whether these are acceptable behaviours, or not. Censuring the literature your DD chooses, based on your beliefs, is a bit draconian and denies discussion of the views you hold dear. You are just trying to impose them.

UniS Thu 18-Dec-14 18:01:53

Aimed at 10 plus will put them firmly in the scope of a capable 9 yr oldold. No , not something you want your 7 yr old reading, but not a book to ban from a primary school .
Just keep an eye on what your child is reading. They tend to give up on a book that is pitched too old for them. And that is fine, 8 yr old ds has stopped reading harry potter half way through book 4 as he didn't like the way it was going.
Some j Wilson's are Fine for a 7 yr old some are not. Some of Wilson's subject matter is gritty, so is everyday life for some kids. I don't think it hurts to have fiction set in a range of experiences avalible to school children.

Hakluyt Thu 18-Dec-14 18:05:49

I agree that some Jacqueline Wilsons are unsuitable for younger children. And yes, MillyMollyMandy, I would police a 7 year old's reading. I would also police the films they watch and the video games they play. Wouldn't you?

Hulababy Thu 18-Dec-14 18:12:51

I work in an infant school and we don't have things like Jacqueline Wilson on offer - its just generally not appropriate for infant school age. We try to ensure our reading books are age appropriate.

And yes, of course I would censor a child's reading, especially at age 7y. Just like I censor what a child can watch or listen to, or which games they can play. Just because a child is capable of reading the words, it doesn't mean the content is suitable for them.

Grittzio Thu 18-Dec-14 18:20:20

Totally agree with you, my DD (6) bought home Princess Diaries from the school library, whilst they may have been suitable, she grows up very quickly in the books to the point she is considering her 'first time' with a boy. Needless to say they were quickly withdrawn.

nonicknameseemsavailable Thu 18-Dec-14 20:45:42

gosh - I am glad we have so many books at home DD1 hasn't read yet that she tends to get a book out of the school library when she has to and just leave it in her bag until she is allowed to return it. I wouldn't be happy with her reading books I didn't feel were suitable and I do think it is my responsibility to censor what she reads, she is only in Yr2 and I will continue to monitor what she reads for some time yet. My children ARE sheltered I know that, they are lucky not to have to be very aware of things like domestic violence or alcohol abuse or sex yet but they are aware that some families aren't as fortunate etc however I don't see that they need to read about it at this age.

I would perhaps spend a bit of time with her finding out why she chose them, did she realise the content, did she choose them because she just thought they were a harmless book for a 7 year old (as I would expect) or because someone suggested them etc and just explain that some books really are too grown up even though they deceptively look suitable and that it is ok to stop a book part of the way through if this becomes apparent. Perhaps suggest some authors she could look for when she next goes to the school library such as Holly Webb or someone. (luckily for me DD1 loves various animal books and they seem to be harmless)

mrz Thu 18-Dec-14 21:26:31

I'm assuming it is a primary school and that your child has freely chosen these books? They may not be suitable for your child but other parents may be happy for their (older) children to read these

spanieleyes Fri 19-Dec-14 09:53:39

which is a side effect of the "free reader after Lime band" method some schools have. ALL our books, scheme ( which goes up to Level5) and library are banded for difficulty and content. We do have SOME Jacqueline Wilson books but these are banded for year 6 readers and even very able younger readers are not permitted to access them because the content matter may not be suitable.

Hakluyt Fri 19-Dec-14 10:04:11

Just popping in to recommend Hilary Mackay. A mllon times better writer than JW, still deals wth issues, but so much more subtly. And with lots of humour too. And some of here are fine for a 7 year old.

Karen McCombie is good too, if frothier.

noramum Fri 19-Dec-14 10:09:13

I do censor books and often suggests topics I think are suitable if I feel DD is reading the same style over and over again. I see it as my job as parent.

At Infant school the teacher would sit with the free readers and look at their choices from the library and would suggest changes if necessary. She would also speak to the parent if she would think a oak topic may cause issues. She would also suggest new topics or authors if she feels a child is stuck with the same old over and over again.

In Juniors Dd has books in her classroom to choose from, covering all kind of ranges and levels but age appropriate topics. If a child is far ahead then the teacher would go with and to choose a book.

Hakluyt Fri 19-Dec-14 15:57:10

"say let's bring back the Famous Five and the Magic Faraway Tree, and get rid of these 'politically correct' trashy books from our book shelves!"

Just noticed this. Words fail me!

mrz Fri 19-Dec-14 16:03:44

Weren't these library books rather than home reading books?

enderwoman Fri 19-Dec-14 16:16:55

The first time my dd chose JW was because of Nick Sharratt's illustrations on the cover.

I think that JW is fine for y5/6 but the ones that you described sound inappropriate for a y2.

Our school have free readers divided into ks1, upper ks2 and lower ks2 because of the content issue.

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