Parents, High School Is Too Old To Be Policing Your Child’s Reading List
Yesterday, we attempted to peek inside the minds of morons who ban books. As idiotic as it might be to ban kid’s books, it doesn’t really surprise me. There are people who never move past the instinct to protect their children from even the most imaginary slights, including but not limited to the sexy occult magic of a Maurice Sendak book.
But a bunch of Dallas parents (Texas, it’s getting hard to continue to defend and like you with each passing day) are all in a snit over some books that their children were slated to read, and actually succeeded in getting the books pulled. The
best worst part of all of this is that one of the books was authored by a woman who was actually supposed to be a keynote speaker at one of the district’s high schools. At a literary festival.
Her name is Jeanette Walls, and she wrote The Glass Castle, one of my favorite books, which is why this story caught my eye to begin with. It’s her memoir, and it chronicles Walls’ childhood and adolescence as it was spent in abject poverty. The “questionable parts” include descriptions of abuse and domestic violence, which these high schoolers will presumably never be confronted with in their lives ever.
Walls is classy as ever but purportedly “heartbroken” over the yank and the fact that she presumably won’t be speaking at the festival. According to The Daily Dot, she says that:
“What I worry is that in order to protect [students], we may be taking away the tools they need to protect themselves later on,” Walls said.”
She definitely as a point. I wish I had read The Glass Castle as a teenager. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it might have changed my life back then.
Also on the parental shit list was a Sherman Alexie book, The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-time Indian, Toni Morrison‘s Song of Solomon, David K. Shipler‘s The Working Poor: Invisible in America, a John Green book, and Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, also known as the most boring book on my entire freshman reading list in high school.
These are Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning authors, not smut peddlers. These books also injected some much needed diversity into the high school reading list, which is chock full o’ white dudes. I’m not saying that “classics” written by white guys aren’t worth learning about. What I’m saying is that if I had a time machine, I’d probably use it to go back in time to punch Hemingway in the face.
Once your kids hit high school, it’s time to accept that they don’t need protection from good literature. Soon a good amount of these kids will go to college, and then what will they do? Your children will be too busy snorting condoms and sexting their idiot peers to notice if Sherman Alexie drops an f-bomb, and reading Toni Morrison never hurt anyone. Except The Man.