I am writing this letter in response to Terri Winder’s article of February 27, 2008. Like Terri, I have been dismayed by the growing number of books similar to the one she described, especially in the young adult market. As in other aspects of modern media, books have become infiltrated with many disreputable aspects of modern culture. We would not guide young people to a pornographic web site, or place them in front of a lewd movie; and yet, society seems to feel comfortable exposing our young people to this type of material when it comes in the form of a book, due to the mystique that books are a higher art form and reading more honorable than other media consumption.
I was disappointed to hear of a teacher justifying the use of such material for kids who are reluctant readers. In my opinion, the virtue of reading does not supersede the offense of exposing young people to explicit material. I make that statement as an affirmed “bookworm” and an avid supporter of teaching kids to love books.
Of course, the answer is not to ban books, but it is prudent to allow people to make an informed decision about the media they consume. The rating systems for film, video games, and television allow these forms of media to offer that type of choice. I have often wished books would do the same. But until publishers take such a course of action, we as consumers can make a difference by speaking up whenever we discover a book we consider inappropriate. We can write reviews at Internet bookstores, utilize word of mouth, and speak to local librarians about solutions for informing readers of a book’s explicit content.
I commend Terri and parents like her who are involved in their children’s lives and monitor their media consumption. This is a valuable tool that parents have in teaching values to children. If we are aware of the popular books on the market today, we can guide our young people in making wise choices that reflect the values we want them to learn.
Shauna Black, Blanding