My virtual friends over at Two Writing Teachers shared this link and the "news" that Banned Books Week starts of September 30th! This information was very timely as it "popped" into my reader the morning after Open House Night at my school where I talked to several parents about "what" their children were reading.
One parent complained that his 3rd grader would only read comic books and another questioned the "value" of reading Captain Underpants. Still another parent lamented that her child just did not like to read anything she brought home! I shared with them that while I could appreciated their angst (one of my children spent a year of her life writing journal entries about The Babysitter Club books and the other spent years REreading Sports Illustrated for Kids), their energies were misguided.
We ALL make our way through our readerly lives ingesting some controversial and some less than scholarly works. I read my mother's old Anatomy text on sick days and stacks of comics are part of my own reading history. I remember a bus ride scanning Catcher in the Rye looking for the parts that had at one time been banned! I also remember 7th graders in my CCD class using sticky notes to share passages in their Bibles that they perceived to be filled with "subjects" they perceived to be outside the realm of our usual discussions.
Truth be told, I sometimes try to redirect children to stories that might be better reading material for them in terms of text complexity or topics; however, I still smile when a struggling reader marches down the hall with her 700 page Harry Potter and when my students share they spent their allowance on Spiderman comics. Let's face it, on the beach this summer, I did not read War and Peace!