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They want to put an age band on children's books! Right there, on the cover! No! We can't let this happen! Let's have some consumer Mumsnet power please

150 replies

ahundredtimes · 07/06/2008 15:33

I think it's such a BAD idea.

In fact I think it's such a BAD idea I can't believe it ever got out of the board room.

Do you?

If you do then you can write here and tell them so.

[sits down, holds placard, adjusts wooly hat]

OP posts:
WideWebWitch · 07/06/2008 17:42

what a bloody stupid idea, complete toss, dreamt up, no doubt, by some marketing youngster.

Blandmum · 07/06/2008 17:43

My local waterstones already has 4-8, 8-12 and teenage sections

ahundredtimes · 07/06/2008 17:45

Excellent. Email WWW.

Also books are so marketed already aren't they? It takes a person of strong stuff or no real idea of social norms - ie my ds, could be either of those, waiting to see - to happily sit at school and read his way through the all the pink and purple Jacqueline Wilson books.

I don't think they need to start grading book according to supposed suitability too.

OP posts:
ahundredtimes · 07/06/2008 17:46

Yes MB, we have those too. I think most do don't they? See, plenty of 'help' for people who have no idea what to buy little Daniel for his eighth birthday.

And that is quite enough, we don't need it on the books too.

OP posts:
janeite · 07/06/2008 17:47

I hate the age-banding idea (although strangely enough was never bothered by the ages on the Puffin books) but I quite like the coloured dots for content idea. I've spoken on here before with people who were worried about young dds reading some of Jaqueline Wilson's stuff and dd (11) got a book from the junior section of the library last week that contained a reference to taking a woman up to a hotel room for sex - I often read children's books (pretend it's for work!) and was glad I had read this one first. In the end it was rubbish anyway and dd didn't bother reading it - dots would have helped us to perhaps choose to avoid it.

UnquietDad · 07/06/2008 17:47

Imagine if they did it with adult books.

19-22 for backpack-lit.

22-30 for little-black-dress-obsessed career-girl with gasy friend in London looking for perfect man stuff, or laddish flatshare "don't understand women" novels.

30-45 for "married couple in crisis" novels.


MargaretMountford · 07/06/2008 17:47

and people could ask a bookseller's advice if in doubt, that's what they're there for

UnquietDad · 07/06/2008 17:47

gay friend. obv.

WideWebWitch · 07/06/2008 17:48

45+ for middle aged knackered women who have terrible memories and will only read a couple of pages at a time then fall asleep

Califrau · 07/06/2008 17:49

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ahundredtimes · 07/06/2008 17:49

And really, if we want to our children to be readers, if we want them to enjoy reading, to see it as something for life - then it shouldn't be about stages or levels or suitability.

It should be about reading The Beano, then Murder Most Horrid and then Five Go To Kirren Top and then Horowitz's book of Horror stories.

I'm sure I don't read within my age range actually.

OP posts:
WideWebWitch · 07/06/2008 17:49

I've emailed. I don't think there's anything wrong with putting books into rough age sections in bookshops but putting it on books is silly. For all the reasons stated on the age band site.

Kindersurprise · 07/06/2008 17:53

Oh, good point Califrau. The teenagers here often read a book that is more suitable for younger readers as the language is simpler. They would definately be put off by an age banding.

RustyBear · 07/06/2008 17:54

Ok, quicker than I thought, but I can only find one - The Twins at St Clare's Granada books, 1967 edition) is a red dragon. Later editions are just called dragon books, with no different colours. It doesn't give an age range for the colours, but there is a list at the back of Green Red & Blue Dragons.

In Blue dragons there are only five books, all by Enid Blyton - Red, Blue,Yellow and Green Storybooks, and Eight O'clock Tales.

The Red Dragons listed are also mostly Blyton - the 'Five Find-Outers' series, St Clare's & Malory Towers, but there are also The Coral Island by RM Ballantyne and Knights of the Cardboard Castle by Elizabeth Beresford.

Green Dragons are much more varied & have subsections - Pony Books & Adventure Books - authors include Mary O'Hara the Pullein-Thompsons, PC Wren Anthony Buckeridge & Edgar Rice Burroughs. There is also an early Dr Who book (the Crusaders, in case UQD is interested)a Noel Streatfield & an Arthur C Clarke, amongst others.

They were on sale for 3/- or 2/10d if you bought two or more. (Presumably you would have to send a Postal Order)

"Why not determine to buy a Dragon Book a week? In such a short time you would have a collection to be proud of, gay in colour, bringing brightness to your room!"

BabaYaga · 07/06/2008 18:00

I have some with dragons on from the eighties:
yellow: 6 - 8
orange: 7 - 9
red: 8 years up
White: teens

I think these might be different as they are not particularly gay in colour!

bunny3 · 07/06/2008 18:15

I've emailed. It has taken a long time for ds to gain confidence in reading. I'm sure age-banding would have made it worse.

nannynick · 07/06/2008 18:17

Have signed up.

If publishers insist on having an age guide, why can't they put it on the copyright page. Then anyone who can't cope with buying a book without an age guide, can look on the copyright page for the publishers view as to suitable age.

Do publishers really think this will sell more books (surely that is their aim)? While it may help grandparents select books for their grand children, it won't help get children reading, as an older child won't want to be seen reading a book with a low age band on it.

edam · 07/06/2008 18:27

Oooh, am feeling all happy at the memories of red dragons on the spines of my Enid Blyton school stories...

jamila169 · 07/06/2008 18:29

I can see some jobsworth librarians using it as a censorship device as well- that was mentioned in the guardian blog article , i know my teachers were horrified that at the age of 8,i'd read Dracula and was reading James Bond books, I still devoured the st clares and mallory towers stuff and the famous five, but I was supposed to be reading the graded readers part of janet and john, which i'd finished by the age of 6.5 .
My DS1 (9)is trying Terry Pratchett and the Harry Potter books, what band would they put them in? he also sneakily gets a fix of Nick Sharratt and Tony Ross by reading to the others

RustyBear · 07/06/2008 19:02

In what way would you expect librarians to use it to censor books jamila? I was a children's librarian for years - not a 'jobsworth' one, I hope, though tbh I don't remember ever meeting one of those) and I certainly wouldn't try to stop a child reading a book because I thought the reading age was too high.

Flamesparrow · 07/06/2008 19:07

Emailed too

cocolepew · 07/06/2008 19:12

Bloody stupid idea.

I have some placards left over from when I was on strike in October. We can tippex out the slogan for our own.


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jamila169 · 07/06/2008 19:16

I can see a one or two of our local ones having kittens if a child brought a book that was 'too old' for them to the desk- under 14's aren't allowed to take books out of the adult section in our local one!

Califrau · 07/06/2008 19:40

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bozza · 07/06/2008 20:10

I do agree this is silly. The last book I read was Wind in the Willows which surely would fall outside my 35-40 age band? Prior to that it was a Jodi Piccoult and now I am on the Amber Spyglass - so obviously well down on my chronological age atm.

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