Good books deemed inappropriate

(40 Posts)
Growlithe Wed 30-Jan-13 10:23:22

Hi,

I read with DD's Y4 class. Over the course of the last few weeks more and more of the children, girls and boys, are bringing David Walliams books in from home. They are devouring these books, and it's very encouraging to see them enjoy reading so much, especially as some of them had been reluctant readers.

I started a thread about him recently in Chat, as DD was enjoying his books so much, but wasn't aware of his talent in other areas. A few MNetters even commented about how the books were helping their DCs with reading difficulties.

I am dismayed to hear this week, that his books are now banned in the school for containing inappropriate language. Pupils can no longer bring them from home.

Yes, there are some words I would rather my DD did not use herself, but we've spoken about these, and I was appy for her to read them in the book and understand their context, knowing that she will be exposed to them sooner or later anyway.

But to ban brilliant books, that are doing wonders in encouraging children to read? I think the school is being very short sighted, but don't know if I am in a position to complain.

Does anyone know if there are actually any set guidelines on this sort of thing?

Elibean Sat 02-Feb-13 14:57:21

dd is Y4, and just finished Gangsta Granny - which she enjoyed. Her school certainly hasn't banned it, though possibly wouldn't have it on its own shelves - brought in from home was fine!

I haven't read all of it, but the parts she's read out loud to me were fine for her age.

jalapeno Sat 02-Feb-13 09:55:44

I read Billionaire Boy and didn't rate it but if the kids like it I'm all for them reading it!

amck5700 Fri 01-Feb-13 15:01:01

My son once came home with a book that looked like a Harry Potter book but was actually a spoof - all about girls being taken into the woods and various other adult type stuff - Headmistress was shock and blush when I took it back to them. grin

So maybe there needs to be a bit of censorship but I don't think David Walliams falls on the banned side of the line.

Growlithe Fri 01-Feb-13 10:49:35

I think I'm going to read the lot myself, cover to cover, find out all the issues. I've only had them read to me by DD, and by her classmates in school.

For example, DD hasn't read 'The Boy in the Dress' yet, but is desperate to, so I didn't know about the reference to porn magazines. I think I would still let her read it though. She is 9 and as someone upthread said, it's hardly Fifty Shades.

Once I've read them I be better armed to ask the school why it's taken this stance, especially given the fact that one of the books is recommended reading in a national children's reading competition - thanks Raisin.

Butkin Fri 01-Feb-13 10:34:52

DD took some money to the school Book Fair yesterday - where reduced books are sold with some profits going to the school. She bought Ratburger back and had rushed through the first couple of chapters before tea.

RaisinBoys Fri 01-Feb-13 04:02:56

DS read them all - loved them. I'm not at all worried about the language - it is in context and is not gratuitous in my opinion.

Banning books seems a little reactionary.

Incidentally Billionaire Boy is on the recommended reading list for the national 'Read for my School' competition

treas Thu 31-Jan-13 23:59:07

Actually find the David Walliams books somewhat plot light.

prettydaisies Thu 31-Jan-13 07:48:22

Perhaps it's a subversive way to get children to read - think Spycatcher or Sons and Lovers or other banned books!

I bought these for DS, he is only 5 so I assumed it would be a few years. I didn't know this and glad I do now

Dd1 (nearly 8) has read them all, they were the first books to really inspire her to read, the first ones we caught her reading under the tablecloth at supper!

Having said that I can understand the school's perspective. It is different when it is read at home and a parent can explain the term, context, and inappropriate language. And judge for themselves if their child is mature enough to understand words but not use them. She is currently reading Hucklebury Finn(book club group), but due to some of the language we have carefully discussed the context, the sociopolitical situation in the USA then etc. And that certain words should never be said. I wouldn't be happy with her reading it unsupervised in class, chatting with friends about what it might mean. (I realise that they are not totally unsupervised, but it won't be on a 1 to 1 basis)

PeasandCucumbers Wed 30-Jan-13 23:25:31

My DC are a bit younger (Y3 & Y2) and we have read Mr Stink as a bedtime family story but have yet to read any of his others. I wouldn't mind either of them reading the word git but would definitely not want them reading a book at school or bringing a book home from school where a girl was called a slag (as opposed to that term being used in the slagging off context which I wouldn't mind). As I said I haven't read any of the others but any obvious reference of porn mags is even more inappropriate. I wonder what age DW intended his books to be read by

I also read with a year 4 class and again many of the kids (boys and girls) are reading the DW books and loving them. Seems shortsighted.

Euphemia Wed 30-Jan-13 22:24:29

And bloody hells, jalapeno!

Euphemia Wed 30-Jan-13 22:24:00

I read Gangsta Grannie during a sleepless night last week and cried my wee eyes out. No way I'm reading that to a class! grin

jalapeno Wed 30-Jan-13 22:01:35

What a shame, I can't believe they banned it. Harry Potter is peppered with gits!

changejustforyou Wed 30-Jan-13 21:57:59

o great, dd has had some of them from school. I'll start reading them now smile

TalkingToTheWoodlice Wed 30-Jan-13 21:10:03

I bought "The Boy in the Dress" for my 7yo DD. I'm glad that I read it myself first. It was great and I know that she would be capable of and enjoy reading now but it had concepts (in particular porn mags) that I don't think she needs to know about yet. I've kept it till she's older, probably 10+.

StuffezLaBouche Wed 30-Jan-13 20:57:07

Im reading His Dark Materials to my y6s at the mo and they piss themselves at the odd 'bloody' or 'hell' though i must admit im not looking forward to the kissing/strange "body sensations" stuff at the end of the trilogy!

Excellent! Maybe that is the school's Plan all along grin Some kind of Literacy Experiment for this term.....

Growlithe Wed 30-Jan-13 18:47:42

It's creating a little black market in DDs class. They are working out who has which of the books so they can pass them around. grin

MyNameIsLola Wed 30-Jan-13 14:51:30

My Y4 DS has read all of the David Wallians books and loved them and I enjoyed them too. There is nothing in them that he hasn't come across before nor anything that I was uncomfortable about him reading.

Kids will inevitably come across bad language (probably way before age 8) and it's a parents job to help them understand it isn't okay to use it but will be said in certain contexts sometimes.

The school and the parent who complained (most likely scenario) and being far too precious. It's far worse to quash a child's enjoyment of reading than it is to let them hear a swear word.

Growlithe Wed 30-Jan-13 14:46:31

My DD did Laura - in fact she couldn't wait to. grin As I said upthread she did know of the word after seeing it on some graffiti and asking what it meant.

Thank's for explaining the context OP. I'm not sure that my DS, sitting up in bed with a book, would bring the word to my attention so that we could discuss it, though. In fact I'm sure he wouldn't because he didn't wink

Growlithe Wed 30-Jan-13 14:33:48

I've just checked - 'Slag' is used in Billionaire Boy by bullies of an indeterminate gender to a girl who is sticking up for the boy they are bullying. She goes on to fight them off with martial arts.

I was called a 'slag' in school (admittedly secondary school) by boys and girls of good background 30 years before these books were written. You can't keep these words from them, but you can introduce them in a way that it's you that gets to discuss them and their meaning with your child, rather than hearing them for the first time in the playground.

Or read them when they fancy it and go back to them later, neolara.

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