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Monday, March 11, 2013

A Warning for Parents


Warning for Parents on Library Programs

Do not assume that just because your local library is hosting a program for your child that it will be appropriate for him/her.  Be diligent in knowing exactly what will be covered and if applicable, what they receive.  Better yet, attend the program with your child. Let me share what my friend and I recently experienced:

This semester my 11-year-old son has been focusing on his writing skills, so when I learned about a program that a nearby library was hosting, "Discover Your Passion: A Writing Workshop for Teens" for Grades 6-12, I reserved a seat for my son to attend.  I also shared the opportunity with other fellow homeschoolers.  The description of the workshop was as follows:
"You love to write and hope to be published one day -- but where do you begin? Believe it or not, even your most ordinary experiences can be turned into a story.  The author will discuss ways to delve deep into your imagination and how to jump-start your stories, plus share her own journey toward publication."
Sounds great, right?  My hope was that this author would be able to offer my son some inspiration for his writing.

That evening my friend and our children went to the event.  There were about 16 students in attendance and about 3 to 4 parents.

The presenter began by speaking a little bit about herself including that, "even with a 1.0 grade point average" (which she was not proud of), she was able to become a psychiatric nurse.  During her presentation she encouraged the students to write about anything, and gave some examples about various subjects to write about including that "annoying brother" they may have, or that person "they hated." She also used the word "sucks" several times during her presentation. Each of these things (and several others) made my friend and I look at each other and frown.

She did share some things which I felt were of value such as, "Rewrite sentences the way you would've written them." or "Rewrite the ending of a story."

Overall, I was not overly happy with the presentation, but I just made a mental note that this was not the type of program (with this particular author) I would recommend to others.

BUT THEN IT GOT WORSE....

At the end of the presentation door prizes were handed out.  My friend's son won one of the author's books.  He is 12-years-old.  You can imagine how excited he was to have won something.  I asked him if I could look at the book.  I read the first paragraph of the insert which read as follows:
"One hour into her first day of tenth grade, Martha Kowalski knows she's really in trouble. The school bully, Chardonnay, has already threatened her life -- and at home, things are even worse.  Martha's mom, fresh out of rehab, is shacking up with a total jerk in a run-down two-family house in the ghetto."
That was as far as I needed to go.  I shut the book and shook my head as I handed the book to my friend.  I think I said, "This is not going to be a book you're going to want your son to read."

When my friend went home she told her son that she did not want him reading the book until she looked through it first. That was a very smart thing to do.  The following week I went to my friend's house and she showed me a page in the book that had jumped out at her.  Here's what it stated:
"Next time I see U get redy to die b _ _ _ _!!!"
I continued to look through the book and couldn't believe what I was seeing.  This book included all types of profanity, explicit sex, alcohol and drug usage, and violence.  The characters in the story are teenagers.  


This was the door "prize" given to a 12-year-old.  

I was appalled that that the library had allowed this "author" to share her "work" with our children.  

As a side note, according to Amazon.com this book is recommended for children over the age of 14.  My friend's child was never asked his age.

I share all of this only to warn you as parents not to assume that just because a library is "endorsing" a program it means that the program is suitable for your children.  Don't just drop your kids off, like many of the parents of the students that attended this program did.  Stay and listen.  Be involved.  Had my friend not been there and her son not shared that he had won this book, my friend would have been oblivious to the filth her son was reading.  Thankfully, my friend and I are both very much involved in our children's lives. It's sad that you can't even trust the information they receive from a place that you would hope would be extra careful with what they offer children.

For those of you who want to know the title of the book so as not to have your children read it, it is Before, After, and Somebody in Between by Jeannine Garsee.

I, along with my friend, will be speaking with those who were involved in setting up this particular program.  Because we have not yet done so, I did not want to mention the library by name.  Everyone makes mistakes, but it's important that they be made aware so that in the future, they will be more diligent in their research about who they allow to make presentations to our children and the content of any books that will be given to them.

Please take a moment and "pin" this post so that others are also informed.  Thank you!



©2011-2013 A Slice of Homeschool Pie. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://www.asliceofhomeschoolpie.com

12 comments:

  1. What a shame that one who has a story to tell and chooses to use such words and then market it to kids that should not be reading material such as this. Bottom line is we must be involved in our kids' activities.

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  2. ASliceofHomeschoolPieMarch 11, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    Agreed.

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  3. Thanks for the info. I sent my two oldest (13 and 12) to that program last week. I waited out in the library for them because I have a 6 year old and 8 year old who I did not think would sit quietly for that long. I guess I was wrong in trusting the library to have appropriate programs for our children. I will definitely check things out better next time. I had a funny feeling about it from the reactions of my kids and their responses to the questions I asked afterwards.

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  4. ASliceofHomeschoolPieMarch 11, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    It's too bad we didn't get to meet. Your kids didn't win any door prizes, did they?

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  5. You know what's interesting....my son has the same name as the boy who won the book. So afterwards, my son said I think I might have won a door prize but another boy with the same name stood up before I did and they didn't read the last name so I didn't know if it was me or him. If the other boy had not been there my son could have easily ended up with that book and may have even read it before I had a chance to look at it. He reads a lot and very quickly and most of the time I have trouble keeping up with him. I might have just assumed since it was a door prize for grade 6-12 that it would be ok. This was so eye opening and I'm so thankful for you sharing this information. Lesson learned!

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  6. ASliceofHomeschoolPieMarch 12, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Kim, I learned to perform a research in advance about any presenters of any programs I may be considering for my children's attendance.

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  7. My goodness - that is quite the story. And really librarians should be checking who is coming to their library, the type of books and the age level. But I wouldn't want to read that book.


    Following you from Hip Homeschool Hop.


    My new picture book, written for Christian homeschoolers and Sunday Schools - is for ages 2-8.


    I plan to read where they allow the word "God" to be used.


    Blessings,
    Janis

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  8. ASliceofHomeschoolPieMarch 19, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    Hi Janis. So you wrote a picture book? Were you the illustrator as well?

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  9. Yes I did the watercolour illustrations too. I also have craft activities at the back and a free 24 page curriculum available.

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  10. ASliceofHomeschoolPieMarch 19, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    Feel free to share the title here if it can be purchased through Amazon or a website. :-)

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  11. Thanks Alice. It is Tadeo Turtle - a little turtle who longs to be different but learns through an exciting adventure to accept how God has created him. On my website www.janiscox.com and at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and bookstores.

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  12. ASliceofHomeschoolPieMarch 20, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    I'll make sure to check it out. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you'll come back and visit. :-) ~Clara

    ReplyDelete

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