Chapter 39 of The House on Mango Street has one of the characters speaking in the aftermath of a sexual assault. It’s sad and a tiny bit disturbing but not graphic.
There’s been some interesting discussion going on with parents at my kids’ school about the appropriateness of the book. It’s something I’ve seen time and time again. There’s a contingent of people who want to shelter their kids from “inappropriate literature.”
I know it’s hard to broach these tough subjects with our children, but I think it’s so important to do so.
We do our kids a disservice by sheltering them too much. At this age, there isn’t a book that I wouldn’t allow my kids to read. I believe kids with access to information grow up to be better equipped to handle the challenges they’ll face in the real world. Likewise for trust and personal responsibility.
I want them to read challenging material so that I can discuss it with them. I don’t want them to feel like there are subjects they can’t broach with me because it’s part of the reality they are facing as they grow up. I want the lines of communication to be as open as possible.
I’m sure there are plenty of schools willing to censor things “for the sake of the children” and I’m grateful that my kids don’t go to one of them.
These are smart, strong kids and I believe that they are capable of tackling this kind of subject matter.