Get your minds out of the gutter, it's not that c word. Cookie. It's censorship.
I've always been quiet on the censorship issue but today I figured I'd talk about it.
When I read a book I tell my students about it. Why because it's a great way to promote the writers I like and it introduces my students to books they might not have heard of.
However when I'm in front of the classroom, I'm not a writer, I'm not a fan of YA literature. I'm a teacher. It's how I pay my bills.
I teach above grade level 8th graders. Are they high schoolers? Nope. Are they adults? Absolutely not. Have they had all the life experainces I've had... dear God I hope not.
I also keep a list of books I've read on our class website. I make a note next to the books that I would consider to be mature. By mature I mean the target audience would be kids in high school or college.
Do I recommend EVERY book I read to them? Nope.
While I enjoyed The Duff-- I really did, but do I want my 8th grade girls reading it? Well if a girl found the book on her own, that's one thing. But it wasn't a book I stood in front of the class and raved about.
Did I rave about some of the other books I read? Yep.
Anna and the French Kiss- yes I did.
I am Number 4- Yep
Twenty Boy Summer- I said it's not for everyone reader-- you need to be a mature reader.
At this point of the year I know which kids can "handle" which books. The students who are mature and responsible tend to head towards the books I recommend.
Am I going to recommend these books to my on and below grade level 7th graders? Probably not. I did recommend Gone to them.
I should also say there's A BIG difference between TEACHING a book and reading it for fun, enjoyment or pleasure. When you teaching a book- your looking at several keep factors and most of the time the books have been deemed "classics" by English professors. They are normally rich in whatever topic you're trying to teach at the time. But reading to analyze text is different from reading for pleasure which is something I always stress.
I never stop a student from reading a book, as long as the student and his or her parents are aware of the material. A few years ago I had a student reading the books True Blood was based off of. I told her if she wanted to read it and her mother was aware of the content of the book and her mother was fine with it, that's cool with me. But I asked her not to do a book review and share it with the whole class. The student completely understood why and had no objection to it.
So is this censorship? Is this professional judgment? I'd like to hear your opinions on it.