Books and pie are among my favorite things in this world, so I was thrilled to attend a Kid Lit Pie Night last night, organized by members of the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Such a great group of people: librarians, book sellers, writers, illustrators. It was great to talk with people equally enthusiastic about writing and reading. Truth be told, I was feeling a little cranky about the whole publishing biz on my way over, feeling down on myself for still not having a book under contract, but the evening quickly lifted me up from my pity party. Writing a book is a challenge , as is getting it published. Writers need to stick together!
Meanwhile, there’s a great blog post over at the Enchanted Inkpot about how to determine (and who should determine) what is and isn’t appropriate for children and YA readers. A timely topic, with Banned Books Week coming up, and Laurie Halse Anderson is having her own run in with censorship (which happens frequently for her, I gather). As a writer who tends toward depicting violent or sexual situations (as the story requires!) I have pretty strong feelings on this subject. Here are three thoughts, in summary:
* It depends on the reader, at any age. I’m cool with a parent knowing what would be too much for their kid. I am NOT cool with a parent (or anyone, for that matter) deciding unilaterally what is too much for ANY KID.
* If a teenager reads about a sexual situation, it doesn’t mean they will suddenly become sexually active. Teens can learn about sex from books, and learn more about their own emotional responses to the subject. Reading about sex has to be the safest sex there is.
* Watching scary movies is fun! It’s fun to be scared by something – especially something completely beyond the realm of our reality – and feel that adrenaline rush in the comfort and safety of a movie theatre with friends and popcorn and junior mints. Or from a book. It’s not deranged or harmful. Sure, kids might have nightmares if they read something too scary. But haven’t we all?