Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What's An "Appropriate" Book Anyway?

Occasionally, my books are called "inappropriate." When they are, I never have a great response. (If you've got one for me, let me know.) About all I can do on the rare occasion that I do get a comment like this is to say, "Well, not all books are appropriate for all people. And that's okay with me." No exactly brilliant, but it always seems to mollify the offended citizen before me.

Although, honestly, my books are so tame that I don't even bother to put up a fight. If books came with a rating like movies do, my Joe Sherlock mysteries would get a G Rating, for "Mild Gross Humor." (Wouldn't that be awesome! Great marketing idea!) One day, I wish I could just say, "Lighten up, chief. It's all in good fun." But I always chicken out.

Speaking of inappropriate books, I've begun reading an interesting book called Welcome to the Lizard Motel by Barbara Feinberg. It's a first-person, non-fiction book that tells the story of a woman and her strange tale of how she goes about learning exactly why her 12-year-old son truly hates the books he's assigned to read in school. She's shocked once she starts reading the books herself and considers the content inappropriate and grossly unappealing to young boys. I'm just getting started; I'm just on page 25. But it's been an interesting read so far. I'll keep you posted.

How strange, then, that yesterday I stumble across this article on The Washington Post's website about the difficulty parents, teachers and librarians have in deciding which books are appropriate for young readers. As you might expect, there are as many opinions as there are children.

I'd like to say more here about this subject, but I'm certain it would be highly inappropriate.

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