Actually, that isn’t the question.
The question is do I put the book I just read on the shelf for students to read?
This summer I read two wonderful books that I would love to pass on to students I think might like them. One was The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. The other Crank. Both told great stories that I was drawn into and loved.
Both had scenes in them completely inappropriate for immature readers. If I taught high school, I would put them on the shelf immediately. I teach middle school, however. Sure I have kids would read and enjoy them, even learn from them, but I also have students who wouldn’t really get them, and parents who would be offended that I gave their baby a book this graphic. (Although it needs to be said, the sex and drug use described in the books is not gratuitous and is necessary to understand the characters.)
So what do I do with these books? Do I put them on the shelves and say tough luck to the parents who don’t want their kids exposed to them (I’m a parent and would be outraged if a teacher ignored my concerns)? Do I pass them on to another teacher whose students might be more ready for them? Do I keep them in a special bin in the back and only pass them out to the students who I know are ready for them and whose parents won’t mind?
Any ideas? Please?
(Adding How I Made it to Eighteen to the list.)