I get it. I understand that it’s a dangerous world out there and some parents want to protect their kids from it as long as possible. I get that they want to share lists of books that don’t have sex, bad words, violence, or dangerous ideas. This brave new world we live in is scary.
But it also gives us such amazing weapons and tools.
The internet is both. So. Parents are using the internet to share lists of “clean books.”
And I have no problem with that.
The opposite of clean is dirty.
And in defining their preferences as clean, they are labeling the rest of us dirty.
Personally, I would find it amusing and subversive to have a badge on my websites that says, “I write dirty books.” Seriously, aren’t we all getting a fabulous image of biddies picking a little and a lot while insisting, “She advocates dirty books!”
Clearly, if you think books are either “clean” or “dirty,” we are not on the same page, anyway. So why should I care?
Partly, I care because I care about words.
Clean: free from dirt, marks, or stains; morally uncontaminated; pure; innocent
And yet, is that truly the concept you want to teach your kids—that books that aren’t appropriate for their age are dirty?
Or, isn’t it truer that what you want them to understand is that these books are “dangerous?”
At this age or state in their emotional development, you consider these books inappropriate (and why age-appropriate isn’t the term you use, I’m not sure), because these books have dangerous ideas or will put dangerous images in their minds?
If that’s so, then I applaud you. I may not agree with your assessment, but thank goodness you are making sure your kids read. Thank goodness you are involved. Thank goodness, because so many kids do not have this kind of parental guidance and support.
And someday they will be eighteen or twenty-one or out of your house, and making their own choices, and you will have done all you can and it’s then up to them.
I do not scorn or mock your choice.
I do scorn and mock your choice of words.
So this is my suggestion.
Change your terms.
Make lists of “safe” books and share them.
Safe: protected from or not exposed to danger or risk; not likely to be harmed or lost; uninjured; with no harm done
Keeping your kids safe is your job.
Labeling the rest of us as dirty, stained, morally contaminated?
That’s just plain rude.