Banned Book Week (September 21-27) starts today, and we can take a little time to look beyond what we adults think about certain titles. We can read about what teens themselves think.
At the website of The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, there is a set of resources about the topic of banned books and a tab for “Teen Reviews.”
The reviews are straightforward and frank. The reviewer of Mackler’s The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things presents some easy-going insights into family dynamics. The reviewer of Sittenfeld’s Prep realizes that the protagonist’s view is an opinion. Two teens wrote a review of Von Ziegesar’s Gossip Girl and commented that because of content, teens of certain ages “shouldn’t” read the book — but they don’t suggest that anyone be prevented from reading it. The reviewer of Twilight comments on the real quality of the storytelling but describes it as a “fantasy . . .” and writes that he can “imagine playing the part of one of the characters.”
The teens appear to know full well that the books are fictions and that there are important story features to consider. And, there is no expressed intent to copy any behaviors from the books in their real lives.