With several items in hand, I headed back to the Young Adult section, where I couldn’t help but notice pre-teen and teen girls and guys in various stages of development and maturity, dutifully searching the shelves for assigned books. I sat down on a reading bench and began flipping through the pages of the book that had just been returned.
There’s something very moving about holding a book in your hand that a child has just finished reading. But the warmth in my heart soon turned into a sickening feeling in my gut when I began to read passages so cheap and trashy that I could scarcely believe my eyes. I only had to get to page four before the first of many uses of the term “motherf-----” showed up. Several scenes described, in graphic detail, sexual acts between teenagers.
In the interest of decency, there’s no way I can give you word-for-word examples. And I refuse to give the trashy book and its loser author free publicity in a column that often gets forwarded around the World Wide Web. I’d rather parents and other adults who care about our children and their education -- and whether or educational elites indoctrinate them in immorality -- actually go to their local library and research the reading lists themselves.
Lest you think the first book was put on the list in error, the next recommended teen item I thumbed through was equally as nauseating. A sexual act between fourth-graders was a “highlight,” as well as graphic details of sex between teens, including a homosexual encounter. And this is the garbage that today’s educators pass off as great literature for our children? The great classics, meanwhile, are all but missing. One list I reviewed for eight-graders contained about 20 authors -- none recognizable save the lone great Mark Twain. And they call this education?
The lesson here is simple. Moms and Dads, don’t just naively drive your kids to the library -- you must be careful to help them choose books that reflect your values. Even if your kids are in private school, you’re hardly safe -- many of the best schools blindly use ALA lists. Of course, if you home school your kids, you’re probably already aware of the moral problems of many ALA decisions, but even if you’re using a good curriculum guide, it’s always best to preview the books first.
The ALA is quick to call anyone who questions its decisions a “censor.” But remember, part of our responsibility and privilege as parents is to be the ones who determine what is and is not appropriate for our own children.