Monthly Archives: September 2016

Abridged or censored?

 

Reading up on the current “newly published for young readers” list of “top picks” and where the story line may have been changed to make them “suitable” for the young adult school or home library, am wondering do these young readers return to a title and read the “adult” version when older?

When key elements of a story are altered to appeal as “safe picks” is the goal to have double sales? that is parents and children reading the same story- only separate versions? For some stories the appeal is obvious, for example: The Omnivore’s Dilemma: Young Readers’ Edition by Michael Pollan- and getting the whole family on board to discuss grocery shopping meal choices, cooking etc.  Also “I am Malala: Young Readers edition by Malala Yousafzai – two books that may indeed intrigue beyond the initial reading and with subject matter that will resurface again and again, but when the book is “fiction” and young readers feel they have “read it” will they be curious enough to reread the initial publication as adults?

Reading a variation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” in which a school had “cleaned up the text to remove the pivotal court room drama” had me dismiss that variation for a classroom- either discuss the controversy in all its reflection of history, prejudice, legal structure…, and allow students to reflect on whether times had in fact “changed” or don’t put the text on the shelves- and to this I add that for some schools even the made for Young Adult stories of Twilight and Hunger Games were too riske- so to return to my original question: are young adult “age appropriate abridged editions” building readers (?) or simply providing what some adults see as “Books on a shelf”.  To really watch a child reading – that is when the reader is wanting to follow the development of the characters’ in the story, is to see a young person engrossed in an activity.  And for either child or adult that is still a rare occurrence even for active readers- it is the luck of the right story at the right time, the one that retains a hold on the reader long after the first read- enough to call one back to reread it again, like a cosy pair of slippers, where this time the characters and plot are enjoyed for the very actions which upon first read had one holding one’s breath- second reads offer the delight of the familiar, that sense of re-experiencing a lovely space (book can be a total thriller- it is up to the reader what emotions invoke- I’ve been here and it is “good” feeling); will the abridged variations provide that desire to read again- to learn more?

 

Stop the Mom wars

when mom bullies reign-

it happened; the dreaded phone call from a mother on a child’s class list letting me know that: some parents had decided to:

boycott a child’s birthday party

boycott a camp or after school program

boycott the in school activity

boycott the weekend planned event

and these calls always appeared out of the “blue” that is randomly, surprisingly direct and, waiting to exhale I would silently count through the “explanation” before informing that parent that we wouldn’t be boycotting anything at this time…

Hey- your children and mine- all deserve to find in the school year a learning experience that encourages each one to try something a little challenging, to reach out and make a new friend, to discover the similarites and the excitement of recognizing each other for their differences, to respect the uniqueness of the individual, and to hold important the experiences of the group- 12 years plus is a long time to be in classrooms- making the experiences positive takes more than staff and teachers- it takes “community”- real effort on the part of everyone with a connection to the school.

But if you truly hear of a teacher who is cruel or a staff member turning a blind eye to bullying- parents unite- for our children deserve to be safe in whichever programs they attend! However no whispers – open and inclusive dialogue to bring about clear and positive changes.

With the proliferation of “magnet programs” at schools the liklihood of children being from the same district has changed- don’t be a foolish snob- allow your child to engage with classmates and if you are the parent with the vehicle plan play dates that are inclusive.  Do we want to change the world- no- we need to change the world by working together to demonstrate via action and deed that community involves one another.

September 11, 2016- help keep whichever neighbourhood you live in- open!