A recent blog post about "pinkwashing" reading material to make it "less scary" and more "valuable" while reading out loud has been making the rounds on Facebook. It spurred a lot of talk with my mum friends about knowing when your child is old enough to read a certain series or watch a particular movie.
As a writer, the idea of censoring my children's reading material makes me cringe. While I freely admit I once glossed over the bad wolf eating grandma when Joseph was a toddler, when reading books to my children I've never pretended Wilbur wouldn't die if Charlotte didn't come up with her brilliant scheme, that Voldemort had tried to kill Harry, or that the children of Lemony Snicket fame were orphans living through a series of very unfortunate events indeed.
As a mother, I can't imagine censoring my children's reading material. I remember hiding romance novels under my mattress while my mother turned a blind eye but never stopped me from devouring Jude Deveraux, Danielle Steel, and Nora Roberts – even though I was only twelve. The one time she snagged a book from me was when she caught me reading The Thorn Birds at 11, saying I was much to young to appreciate the overall themes of the story and I could revisit it when I was older.
Which I did.
The concern over whether the subject matter is too frightening or if the books contain messages or themes that are too mature is valid, however, my hope is that it will open my children and I to conversations.
What do you think?