My response to that nanny was "Tell her she has to hold your hand or ride in the stroller. She's a smart kid, she'll get it." Sheesh!
Books to deal with moving, toilet training, pacifiers. Culminating with such wonderful titles as "Hands Are Not For Hitting" and "Teeth Are Not For Biting". Really useful stuff--hell, I had a mom whose daughter LOVED "Teeth Are Not For Biting". Loved it because she LOVED biting other kids--had made up a song about how she loved to bite kids. Yup, really helpful.
But I am not in the world of toddler/preschooldom today. Instead, I am thinking about parents, teachers and other adults who try to keep books from their kids.
Harry Potter, because "witchcraft" conflicts with their religious viewpoint. Huckleberry Finn, because of the "n-word"--have you seen that idiot who created an edited version of Huck Finn that replaces that word with the word "slave"? Dude, those same kids see that word all over MTV and YouTube. Every rapper uses that word. It's fine for kids to see it in dreck like that, but not in a book that has something meaningful to say about hate? Poor Sam Clemens must be out there somewhere shaking his head and yearning to write about it.
What really brought this to mind right now was seeing Al Capone Does My Shirts on one of my return carts today.
It's a terrific story for elementary kids, about the son of a prison guard on Alcatraz Island in 1935. The whole family lives on the island, including the boy's sister Natalie, who has a condition that would now be diagnosed as autism.
I happened to see a review a mother had done of the book on Amazon.com She was horrified by the book because she has an autistic child herself, and is disgusted by the family's attitude towards Natalie. She said that the book:"permeates the message of segregation of people with disabilities in society. "
I feel for this mother. But what I told her in a comment is that this book is not set in 2010, it is set in 1935. That it's a wonderful chance to look at how attitudes have changed about autism since then. That the feelings of shame and discomfort Moose has about Natalie, the guilt he has because she is his sister whom he is supposed to love, the efforts he goes to in order to help her, are all worth discussing with our kids.
Are your religious values so weak that you don't dare to bring Harry Potter to your kids and discuss why you feel witchcraft is evil? Can't you read the book and realize that while you may find witchcraft offensive, that Harry's struggles with the choices between good and evil are something that we all struggle with, something that your religion is supposed to be all about?
Can't a group of school kids read Huckleberry Finn and think about how that "n" word was used commonly in 1850-something, but is totally unacceptable today and WHY that is? Can't they talk about how it is used in black culture, but why it is so repugnant for Caucasians to use it? Can't they look at how Clemens/Twain shows us Huck as someone who is utterly conflicted by what he KNOWS society tells him about black people versus how he feels about Jim?
Books aren't written just so we can nod our heads sagely and agree.Let me quote again something I've quoted before, from the play based on the Scopes Trial, "Inherit the Wind"
Drummond: Then why did God plaint us with the power to think?! Mr. Brady, why do you deny the one faculty of man [that] raises him above the other creatures of the earth: the power of his brain to reason? What other merit have we? The elephant is larger; the horse is swifter and stronger; the butterfly is far more beautiful; the mosquito is more prolific. Even the simple sponge is more durable. Or does a sponge think?
Brady: I don't know. I am a man, not a sponge.
Drummond: Well, do ya think a sponge thinks?
Brady: If the Lord wishes a sponge to think, it thinks!
Drummond: Do you think a man should have the same privilege as a sponge?
Brady: Of course!
Drummond: This man wishes to be accorded the same privilege as a sponge! He wishes to think!!
Let our children THINK.
Let them read...........
Let them read...........