Open Mouth, Insert Foot?

On Monday mornings I volunteer in the library at Middle Sister and Little Brother’s school. It’s a lot of fun. The best part is when I get to read stories, but that doesn’t always happen.

Today there were a lot of books to be returned to the shelves so I was pretty busy with that. We have two basic sections: “Primary Fiction and Nonfiction” and “Everybody Else.” That’s where we sometimes get into problems. Third-graders are really too big for the Primary section, but they can’t read everything in the other section yet. And it’s not always a vocabulary issue. Sometimes it’s a content issue.

While shelving the books, I needed to do a little shifting with the older kids’ paperback books. There were some shelves that were packed so tight that kids couldn’t get books out, never mind put books back in. So I was lurking around that area when the third grade came in to choose their books.

“Can I read this?” one girl asked me. I nearly dropped the whole pile of books I was holding when I turned around to see her with a copy of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

“No, I’ve read that one. That book is not for third-graders,” I told her as I held out my hand for her to give the book to me.

Her friend, who was exploring the books on a lower shelf, piped up: “I saw the movie of that one!”

I just stared at her and said, “That movie wasn’t for third-graders either.”

Ooops. Probably shouldn’t have gone there. But honestly, that movie is not for third-graders. I won’t let my seventh-grader see it, and she’s not reading the book yet either. In my opinion, that book is for high-schoolers and older. Common Sense Media agrees with my assessment on the book and only recommends the movie for ages 11+.

So I hope that the librarian and the aide don’t have to deal with a parent complaining that I shouldn’t have said what I did about the movie. But I’m going to stick by it. People need to be careful and aware of what their children read and see.

I’ll be reading a lot more teen-oriented books in the next weeks, because Middle Sister is reading more (hooray!) but not always stuff I’m acquainted with. We need to be able to talk about these books.

Leave a Reply