Friday, September 11, 2009

Okay then...

So, I have been wondering how parents determine what is appropriate for thier children to read, if they do not read it themselves.

Last week while I was waiting for the girls to get out of dance and gymnastics class, I was reading a book and talking with several other mothers who were also waiting.  The conversation turned to good books for tween-aged children - say between the ages of 9-12.  We talked about oldies - Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children, Lois Lenski books and new ones - Goosebumps, Harry Potter, etc.  I brought up The Golden Compass series. 

...uhhhh, hello???

The room went dead silent...I kid you not.  From the looks on the faces of the women around me, you would have though I suggested The Anarchist Cookbook or Helter Skelter.  I literally had women pressing thier lips together and shaking thier heads in disapproval. 

I thought that only happened to Opie in epidodes of Andy Griffith. 

Now, I know there is controvery surrounding The Golden Compass books, but I have read them all - I think they are beautifully written - and in my opinion (as a former preacher's kid and a present born-again Methodist) I think the hype overshadows the beauty of these books.  They are a fantasy story - nothing more, nothing less.

I would have understood the outrage perhaps if these same women opposed Harry Potter and similar books - I know plenty of people who have this opinion and while I don't agree, I do understand thier position at least.

But, no....apparently, boy wizards and demonic beings who literally suck the life of people is okay but alternate universes where a god only exists in the form of a mortal angel is not.

I think it is sad really because I think the overall moral of The Golden Compass - that no one is all good or all bad and that we become who we are by the choices we make is a beautiful message. 

If more people believed that and lived thier lives accordingly, I think the world would be a better place.


  1. You know - this is interesting. My DH's parents were very conservative on what they let him and his siblings watched, and got all huffy once about a Bon Jovi video! Anyway, they let them read WHATEVER they wanted (within reason). They encouraged reading of all types! Even comic books! Now they all love to read, they all are very intelligent and I love to read too! So, I think we might take a similar approach. Speaking of which, I think my parents had the same philosophy!

  2. I agree! I want to be that parent who reads it first (or at the same time) so that we can discuss anything they want to discuss about it.


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