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.