Maybe I’m an overprotective parent and should just crawl back under my rock and let this go, but the mama bear in me wants to fight tooth and nail to protect my daughter.
J will be twelve-years-old tomorrow and started sixth grade this year (they started school yesterday . . . YAY!). Last night, she brought home a letter from her Reading teacher that welcomed students and parents and included a list of some of the novels they will be reading as part of the curriculum this year. And the problem begins.
While I’m not a fan of banning books or restricting others from reading whatever they want, I’m rather picky in what I allow my children to read. I tend to screen novels before I allow my children to read them . . . sometimes in my screening, I decide a novel isn’t appropriate for them to read (depending on their age and maturity level). Maybe I’m the only parent out there who does this, but it’s just how I am. I know my children. I know their fears, concerns, phobias, etc. and have a pretty good idea about what they can handle and what they can’t.
So, the list (which included only a few of the novels the class will read) included The Hunger Games. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this book! Katniss is a strong character and the world Collins created is both fascinating and frightening. However, I don’t feel it’s appropriate for my twelve-year-old who was freaked out after reading Paris Pan Takes The Dare (which I also LOVE and so did she even though it freaked her out a bit). My oldest son (now 18) read The Hunger Games, and I’d have no problem with J reading it if she were fourteen (or maybe even next year depending on how she mentally matures this year). But at her present mental maturity, I don’t think she’s ready for the violence and intensity of the novel.
There are so many middle grade novels out there to choose from, and I don’t understand why a sixth grade teacher would want to include a young adult novel in the curriculum for such a young age group. Wouldn’t middle grade novels be more appropriate?
Am I way off base? Am I too overprotective? I’ve composed and saved a draft of an email to the teacher outlining my concerns, but wanted to send out feelers to you all before I sent it. Have you read The Hunger Games? If so, do you think it’s appropriate for sixth graders?
Do any of you have kids around twelve-years-old? Would you (or have you) let them read The Hunger Games? If so, how did they handle it?
I briefly outlined the plot for J by telling her it’s a novel about a future world where the people are divided into districts and a boy and girl from each district are chosen, taken away from their families, and forced to kill each other for TV entertainment until only one of them is left. Yeah . . . she doesn’t want to read it.
I looked up the other books included in the brief list on Amazon, but haven’t read any of them (though I plan to):
Schooled (MG), Esperanza Rising (MG), Maniac Magee (MG), Stargirl (another YA), and Tracker (MG).
Have any of you read them? If so, should I be concerned about any of them (the YA in particular)?
Write Read on.