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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:
girlandboy · 09/06/2008 13:44

I work in a library and all the junior books are age banded. I think there are fors and againsts.
My ds is not a strong reader and I know he is put off reading the book if he thinks it is a "baby book" with a lower age band on it.
However, I am put in the position at work, where young children are wanting older age ranged books out, and I have to warn their parents (if they are with them) that although their child is capable of reading the book, the content may not be suitable (eg. rude or a bit sexy!) I have spoken to many parents with aged 8-9 children who are wanting aged 13-15+ books about this. When the parents have a quick flick through, the book invariably gets put back on the shelf.

However, this is in a library where ALL books are categorised.

Lauriefairycake · 09/06/2008 13:51

I have no problem with them being age-banded, maybe it will stop my foster child's parents buying her books about sex aimed at teenagers

she turned 10 last week

Maybe it won't stop them though as that's not the only thing they buy that I have to take off her when she comes home

RosaLuxembourg · 09/06/2008 14:06

Laurie - judging by the number of children under 12 I know who are allowed to watch 15 rated films, I wouldn't get my hopes up.
Personally, as regards censorship, I try not to censor what my children read, but I do like to be aware of it so I can discuss any issues that arise.

MargaretMountford · 09/06/2008 14:07

that sounds great Rosa..will look out for it

MargaretMountford · 09/06/2008 14:09

I trawled my parents bookshelves as a child and read everything I could lay my hands on, some probably not suitable - I remember loving Up the Junction by Nell Dunn though I had no idea what abortion was or what had happened when a girl gave birth to a dead baby

Marina · 09/06/2008 18:25

MM, I read The L Shaped Room in a similar state of naive incomprehension
Age-banding is not the answer, but I still think "content not recommended for under X years" has some advantages.
Ds has been whizzing through books so fast recently I bought him something that I subsequently realised was NOT ideal for an 8 year old boy, however clever and reflective he might be. If it had been a work of classic fiction of the type that so many of us on this thread have been known to discuss - I'd have realised. This was modern sub-Louis Sachar/Melvin Burgess trash, tbh.

Marina · 09/06/2008 18:27

Not to mention all the dirty bits of the R Graves translation of Suetonius, some very ripe William Plomer poetry, a searing book about the Warsaw Ghetto, Chariots of the Gods and some soft porn dressed up as sci-fi

KaSo · 09/06/2008 18:29

What crap! If it's anything like the bandings on films and video games it'll be a disaster.

MyEye · 09/06/2008 18:45

I'd absolutely like content to be agebanded, in a discreet way so as not to embarrass able/slow/nostalgic readers. If it's a big glittery sticker, I'd say no way, but if it's in small print somewhere as the Puffin guidelines were -- bring it on. Can't understand the fuss.

I remember reading Judy Blume's Tiger Eyes (given to me by a childless American godmother) long before I had a clue what brassieres and making out were. It was all massively scary and almost horrid.

FluffyMummy123 · 09/06/2008 18:46

Message withdrawn

FrannyandZooey · 09/06/2008 18:47

100 this was on Newsround today
oh yes

Marina · 09/06/2008 18:48

Good franny, what did they say? I am sure they found some appropriately scathing children to interview...

FrannyandZooey · 09/06/2008 18:50

I was watching it in the gym with no sound and bad subtitles
but all the children were scoffing and criticising it
they said children who wanted to read books younger than their age could get teased
and it would prevent children trying out great books in other age categories

ChicaLovesBranstonPickle · 09/06/2008 19:11

Agree that it's a ridiculous idea.

MrsGuyOfGisbourne · 09/06/2008 19:27

Rosa - thanks - will go on Amazon NOW & buy it- it was always my fave - I read them all a million times - she was my heroine. have no DDs, and DS not interested...
Have not read the whole thread but this idea seems completely pointless. If you g into any bookshop they are roughly categorised anyway, and would HATE my DS1 who is 10 and reads everything to be too embarrassed to re-visit his Moomintroll books wheich are his 'comfort read' from time to time.

Nighbynight · 09/06/2008 21:51

Abbey - why are you so keen to accuse me of laziness?

I buy books in 3 languages, for children from 4 - 11. I buy in supermarkets, car boot sales and second hand shops. I buy on rushed day trips to France or the UK, and in 10 minute stops while I change trains.

Amazingly, many of the books I buy are not on Amazon! And even if they were, as a lone parent of 4 with a full time job, I dont have the time to faff around on Amazon, or canvass at the school gates for recommendations (another wonderful suggestion on this thread).

This system of age banding has been available for years in France and Germany - it works just fine, gives help to those who need it and completely is not an issue at all.

RosaLuxembourg · 09/06/2008 21:51

Exactly MrsGuy - DD1 might be reading Anne of Ingleside tonight, but tomorrow if she is tired she might well pick up Ramona the Pest or The Naughtiest Girl in the School and I wouldn't want her to feel bad about that.

fullmoonfiend · 11/06/2008 19:52

oh, meant to add days ago, have signed up ...

(currently reading book aimed at 8-11 year-olds, allegedly )

RosaLuxembourg · 11/06/2008 21:50

What is it FMF.
I am planning to read Kitty at St Clare's as soon as DD1 goes to sleep.

fullmoonfiend · 12/06/2008 20:01

Goodnight Mr Tom

RosaLuxembourg · 12/06/2008 21:14

I LOVE that FMF. Read it to DD2 last year.

fullmoonfiend · 13/06/2008 13:28

me too. But when I first read it I sobbed so loudly I actually woke DH up (he who sleeps through earthquakes, thunderstorms and children crying n cot next to us )


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nappyaddict · 15/06/2008 13:22

actually i do wish children's clothes didn't have the age on and only the size in cm. as a child i was tiny and was embarrassed that at age 12 i had to wear age 9 clothes. i used to make my mum cut all the labels out. apparently when i was about 5 i wouldn't wear anything if mum had forgotten to cut it out and the label said age 2-3 or whatever.

fair enough to have on the shelf in the shop from age 8 or whatever but not actually on the book.

cory · 19/06/2008 16:52

I think there is enough trouble with reluctant readers anyway; having the books they can read labelled as baby books will make sure that they don't pick up a book at all if they can help it.

Besides, who decides what is appropriate for a 10yo? What I think is appropriate won't be what you think is. I can understand some sort of warning if the material is grossly violent/pornographic etc; it's when you start rating books according to difficulty that I get annoyed.

In films you have PG which basically means this doesn't contain anything offensive; doesn't say that this film will necessarily be enjoyed by small children. The scheme proposed for books seems totally different. And it doesn't always work well in libraries; dd has spent a lot of reading time at school re-reading the same babyish (to her) books because the school library's age-banding was done by year group, on the assumption that all Year 5's are on the same reading level.

Besides, it is so much easier to put a book down than to escape from the film situation where images are thrown at you. I don't think there is such a strong censorship need with books as with films. If I found my 11yo dd with D.H.Lawrence I might just leave her to it. She'll find out for herself how boring he is.

I had free access to my parents' library and I am grateful for that.

nappyaddict · 19/06/2008 20:44

i do think a reading "level" would be more appropiate than a reading "age".

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