First, let me say that I'm not a political type of person. When my friends start debating about health care plans, or government issues, I'm the one who stays quiet. Usually, I don't have much of an opinion because I purposefully ignore the news so I DON'T have to hear all the negativity about how craptastic our nation has become.
I know, I know, some of you are shaking your head and saying it's an ignorant way to live. I agree. But I like my style of ignorant bliss. I sleep better at night. Besides, if the news is important enough, I'll hear about it on Twitter.
If it's book news (which is the kind I DO care about) I will most definitely see it on Twitter. Just like this article:
WARNING LABELS FOR LIBRARY BOOKS
This one hits close to home. I live in Florida. I know Lake County. I write YA. This bit of news penetrated my bubble, and my ears and eyes perked up with interest.
A 13-year-old's mother fought to have books like The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson put on a special shelf because it contained "vulgar content." The mother succeeded, and now she's casting a bigger net. She wants all the public libraries of Lake county to put warning labels on books that contain any sort of sexual, drug, or "vulgar" content.
In MY mind I'm thinking, "Um, we already have a label, it's called THE YA SECTION."
But apparently, that's not enough. Let's smack a bright flashing neon sticker on books that have any kind of mature content inside.
This reminds me of when I was a young teen and I started seeing warning labels on tapes (Gasp! Yup, I'm that old.) and CDs. This was created to protect kids from explicit lyrics. Ha. Those are the albums kids bent over backwards to get their hands on.
In a way, this woman bugs me, but I can also see her point. She wants to protect her daughter and other children from stumbling across unexpected subjects in their reading selections.
I get that.
In reality, kids are kids. These days, teens ARE dealing with sex. drugs, vulgar language, and many other mature issues as early as middle school. (Sadly, I've even heard it's in some elementary schools.) Do we genuinely believe warning them a book contains this kind of stuff will stop them from reading it?
Are we going to put a warning label on the hot delinquent that all the girls in school swoon over? Or how about the classmate that offers their friends pot? How about the friend that has an eating disorder or is getting abused by someone? Let's put warning labels on all the kids who aren't living an impeccable and perfectly righteous life.
If they curse, smack a sticker on them. If they've already lost their virginity but haven't yet graduated, crazy glue that warning label to their forehead. Let's make sure the "good" kids don't go anywhere near the "bad kids."
Because, you know, we need to protect the "good ones."
(Insert eye-roll here.)
Here's an idea: TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN. Acknowledge these issues are real. That's why most authors write about them. These ARE the issues kids and teens are facing every day. If parents won't discuss them, their children are going to find friends, or books, who will help them understand what's going on and how to cope.
And guess which books they'll seek out? Yup, the ones with the big flashy warning label.
So go ahead, mark them. Put them on the highest, most visible shelf with a built-in flashing light. Make them stand out in the sea of library books, like a lighthouse guiding kids towards what they're searching for. Because they'll know, inside, is a story of something or someone they can relate to.
Feel free to speak your mind in the comments. I see both sides of the argument. You'll find no judgment from me, only a love of books.
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