How Stupid Do You Have To Be…

…to try to ban a book the DAY before Banned Books Week starts?


A district official in my very own old school district in California decided last Friday that Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series was not appropriate for junior high and ordered all copies of her books in any of the 12 junior highs in the district be sent to the district offices.  

You can read the whole story here.

Thank you ma’am.  I’m glad you’ve decided that not a single middle school student is capable of reading and processing “Twilight.”  Where on earth would these children be without you?  Who else could parent them in such a capable manner.  Oh.  Right.  They have actual parents that aren’t you.

Don’t think that Twilight should be in junior high libraries?  Look into it a little bit before you purchase the damn thing.  I’ve heard there’s this thing called the ‘internet’ where people talk about books, including often their content.

17 comments to How Stupid Do You Have To Be…

  • Wow. I’ve had several irate parents inform me, upon discovering that we’ve sold these books to their teenage daughters, that their children are not permitted to read such things because they are either 1) inappropriate, 2) too sexual, 3)demonic/satanic/harmful to Christianity or 4) all of the above. These are ridiculous claims, but at least it’s a parent’s prerogative to make such decisions.

    I did think Breaking Dawn was a bit too risque for the YA designation and probably wouldn’t want my 12-year-old daughter to read it, but again, that would be my right as a hypothetical parent. Schools and administrators have no business trying to keep material away from students—it’s like sex: if they really want to do it, they’re going to find a way.

  • Simply amazing! As a librarian, I am vehemently opposed to any censorship. And I find it interesting what the justifications are to ban books, especially for children. As a funny aside, my children went to Catholic schools and when in the 11th grade they had to read Pillars of the Earth. I had not read the book and picked it up a few years after the older two graduated. My son laughed and said why are you reading that pornographic book – teasing me. As I read it, which I loved by the way although a little long in the end, I could not imagine a bunch of Catholic school kids reading this book which has some fairly graphic sex scenes! Hysterical, but gutsy teacher. Maybe she had not read it either and thought it was about building cathedrals. :-)

  • I’m opposed to censorship, too. Books provide a wonderful opportunity for discussions and explorations. I can’t stand narrow minded people.

  • Lori Barnes

    My daughter just borrowed this book from a girl at school and wants me to buy her the others in this series. My daughter is 11 does this make me a bad parent? My daughter read the whole Limmeny Snicket series, harry potter and The Sisters Grimm. I have read none of these books to supervise her reading I just know she enjoys these books She’s also in the top of her class hasn’t missed a day of school in 5 years and the lowest grad on her reportcard last year was a 99 and only got 1 of those the reat were 100 and she’s in the AIG program for above the mark children Do I think i’m a bad mother for letting my child read this book? I think you know

  • Hm, I think that makes you a parent that trusts her daughter and whose daughter can probably come to her if she has questions.

    No way I’m calling you a bad parent with a daughter that loves to read that much!

  • “I’m new at this job” was her excuse for making such a bad call?! Really, pulling back the instruction was the right thing to do, but there should have been more of an explanation (“I realize it was censorship” … even an “I’m sorry, I made a mistake” would have been better!)

    I’m with Lori – my kids read to distraction, and anything goes as far as reading material. Sometimes I’m able to pull one of the “more mature” topics into conversation: I monitor (keep an eye on), but don’t censor anything they read.

  • fyrefly –
    I wouldn’t have had any problem with them just not ordering it in the first place, there is a limited library budget to spend. I think that most 8th graders could handle at least the 1st book (I know they get more ridiculous relationship-wise as it goes on). Besides, the 8th graders are likely to be reading things like Romeo and Juliet and Lord of the Flies the following year, which aren’t exactly exemplars of good human interaction.

  • fyrefly

    I’m opposed to banning books on general principles, but… there are edge cases, particularly when it comes to schools, and particularly when it comes to schools in places where there public libraries where motivated kids can get their hands on the books in question. There are lines that I think most people would recognize are inappropriate – does Twilight belong in a fourth-grade library? A second-grade classroom library?

    This school official is not drawing the line where everyone else would, but I don’t agree that thinking that a book is not age-appropriate for a certain group is necessarily the same thing as banning it outright. She’s not asking that it be taken from the high school libraries as well, right? It’s a parent’s job to monitor and decide what’s appropriate for their kids, but it’s a school library’s job to maintain a selection of age-appropriate books. No one cries “book banning!” when school libraries don’t include Harlequin romances.

    And personally, yes, I think junior high *is* too young for the Twilight series (largely because I worry that young girls without the experience to know better might take Edward and Bella’s relationship as models of acceptable behavior). There might be students there who could understand it on their own, or with parental guidance, but those students can also find it at the public library, the bookstore, or from friends.

  • fyrefly

    To clarify, I don’t necessarily agree with the decision to pull it from the junior high library; I just wanted to point out that there’s a lot of implicit (and arguably necessary) censorship that goes on in school library collection planning, and I think this one case is a legitimately grey area.

  • fyrefly

    Heh, that’s true. Meyers does spends a lot of New Moon comparing Bella & Edward to to Romeo & Juliet – could make an interesting term paper, doing a real comparison (are ninth graders writing term papers yet?)

    My problem is not even so much that it’s a terrible set of behaviors, it’s that this terrible set of behaviors (Edward being stalkery and emotionally abusive) are treated for the most part as charming and romantic and positive.

  • Lol. Maybe if there is enough controversy more kids will want to read it. I agree, that isn’t very smart to try to ban it now (or at all for that matter), especially since the movie is coming out this year too.

  • Like it stated in the article, many school districts base the choice on the accepted reading level of the book, not necessarily the content. I think it is really the only fair way to come up with a decision of what books to place in the library. What is the alternative? Leaving the choice to one individual to decide whether the content is appropriate? (and in a lot of schools districts that is the situation)

  • Most 12 year olds aren’t INTERESTED in Twilight because most of them aren’t interested in romance novels. The ones that are interested are usually mature enough to understand it. The later books might be a bit more confusing/intense for them, but, like any book that might concern a parent, this is all solved by the parent reading with the child.

    Maybe these books should be with permission only or on a high shelf, but book banning, of course, is pretty silly.

  • Can’t believe this!

  • My parents never really censored what I was reading as a kid probably because I was always mature for my age and reading books as quickly as I could get my hands on them. I guess I don’t believe in censoring. I don’t think many junior high students would be reading these books anyways. Most of the people I know who have read the twilight series are either in high school or older. I don’t think that the content is mature enough for junior high students but I believe it is more up to the parents whether or not they allow their kids to read these books.

  • Well, I guess they wanted a little publicity, huh?

  • I guess the little apple pictures was a little too sexual? hahahaha