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Second Generation Librarian.

I’ve been getting requests for Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga since it came out. I was really surprised at the series’ popularity with everyone under the sun – First it was the teens … then adults … then … kids. Some parents were quite proud that their children were reading such long books; their kids were avid readers and chose to challenge themselves by reading longer and more difficult works of literature. Or conversely, children who were previously reluctant readers were influenced enough by the subject matter , or peer-pressure, to try to read the four bulky volumes. While I question the logic that length = quality of content, this pride is by no means a crime! Kids wanting to read is a great thing! And then, as it happens with these things, I inevitably got the question as to whether or not the Twilight saga was “appropriate” for children.

“Appropriate.” Such a dangerous word when it comes to children and literature. Is it too violent? Too sexual? Too profane? All of these are parental concerns, naturally, but taken too far can be … limiting to a child. Exposure to different viewpoints via literature is a powerful experience, and something I personally wouldn’t deny a child without good reason. On the other hand, reading material meant for more mature audiences (even the difference between children and teenagers) is a delicate balance when you’re young, but ultimately, I find it hard to prescribe censorship of any literature. A book might be perfectly acceptable in my opinion, but I’m a 20-something, idealistic, extremely liberal woman with no religious affiliation or children of my own. So, what’s acceptable for me, might not be so for the parent at the other end of the sociopolitical spectrum. Overall, it’s my opinion that parents need to read what their children read – especially in the case of these so-called “controversial” texts – so they can be aware of issues that may come up and address them if necessary.

So is Twilight “appropriate?” Having previously vowed a life of Twilight-celibacy, I wasn’t in a good position to answer such a question. Well, abstinence-only sex-ed doesn’t work, and neither does a life un-touched by Twilight, especially when you work with kids in a library. So, I read it. I read the whole thing. Why? So I could write a BOOK REPORT on it. It’s forthcoming, probably in several instalments… 🙂 What I plan to do is give summaries of each book (with as much brevity as can be expected) and then let the criticizing (for better or worse) begin. Stay tuned!

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