On My Soapbox
Posted by MB on December 03, 1997 at 14:45:15:
In response to A good inroduction to JA, maybe?, written by Linda on December 02, 1997 at 10:02:25
] ] ] Yesterday, as I was looking for a normal book in my school's English library, a condensed version of P&P caught me eye, I started reading a bit but gave it up, would you read a book that's supposed to be P&P if it was:
] ] I've never been an advocate of book burning, but in this case I'd make an exception :)
] But, it may spark the interest of an 8-year old who may go on to read the real thing when old enough to handle the language. It could also be used as a read-aloud to pre-schoolers.
As a children's librarian, I must admit that it pains me to hear things like this. There are so many great books for kids and young adults that they should be reading at that age and level. At least where I work, many of the parents are so competitive that they "force" their kids into reading above their comprehension level just so they can take pride in the fact that little Morgan is reading Crime and Punishment at summer camp. Kids who should be reading picture books (most of which are on a second to third grade level) are pushed from primers right into chapter books (novels), and miss wonderfully-written, award-winning stories geared toward their age and comprehension level. Older kids who should be reading longer chapter books/children's novels (which are often better-written than award-winning adult novels) are pushed into the young adult section where they frequently end up reading series trash rather than classics and worthy contemporary novels. An example : a regular patron, who is 7 years old, loved the recent movie version of Little Women and wanted to read the book. Wisely, she told her mother that she wanted the "real" book. When her mother asked my advice, I said that her daughter is a strong reader but that the novel is quite dense and long and I know that other kids her age have expressed difficulty with it. I also explained that so-called "children's literature" written in the 1800's is quite different from the novels written today. But I told her to take the book, and to maybe even try reading it aloud to her daughter, since I would never discourage a child from reading something in which he/she has expressed an interest. The daughter came back a week later, very frustrated, to return the (un-read) book. I tried to explain to her that maybe she just wasn't ready for it yet, and that she should try it again in about two or three years. But she was so frustrated and disappointed that I'm afraid that she won't, that other things will take it's place. And that's really too bad.
I first read P&P at the age of 11, and even though I was a fairly precocious reader, I certainly did not "get" everything at that time. Or, at least I got more out of it when I read it at 15, at 20, etc. And it was not an abridgement.
Sorry to rant like this (and I certainly don't mean it personally, Linda!), but this is a personal source of discouragement for me.
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