First, lemme share with you what I know so far.
I know parents who let their fourteen-year-old daughter read FSOG.
I know parents who let their young kids read violent manga because they think manga equals comic and that all picture books and comics are harmless.
I know parents who ban YA books that have pre-marital sex scene in it. They also black-list the authors who write those scenes (bye-bye John Green and pretty much all YA writers out there).
I know parents who won’t allow their children go near—let alone read—LGBT books.
I know a lot of parents who give total freedom to their teens to buy any books they want because they think reading books is better than let’s say, playing video games or browsing porn, without ever checking the genres of the books their kids bought. Reading is good, yeah, just make sure you know what they read.
I know parents who turn to bookcray like me for book recommendations and ask questions about the books their children want to read (yay for booknerds and yay for these parents).
How far do you think our involvement should be when we notice kids read books that are not intended for them?
My biggest dilemma so far is whether or not I should notify parents whose daughter has been reading FSOG.
While we're on the subject of book genre, I'd like to explain more about YA characteristics to some people. While YA books are relatively clean as opposed to New Adult, YA is a story about the life of teens. And with that, good realistic YA would deal with issues most teenagers face each day: curiosity, angst, depression, the urge to rebel against authority, physical changes, hormonal mood swings, crushes, and certain degree of sexual attraction and tension. Banning them won't make the issues go away.
We should read beyond the attributes of the characters. For me, the most important aspect in a story is the humanity behind it and the real emotions we as human being feel as they’re being portrayed by the characters in the books. LGBT or not, if the book tells a great story, it’s a great book. Period.
Not all parents are bookworms, and that's okay. We don't have to transform ourselves into a librarian to know what we're doing. We don't need to read the whole book before our kids to know what the story is all about. Synopsis and book reviews will help us with that.
As parents, we just need to be present, aware, and open-minded. And before we decide whether or not our kids are ready to read books with more mature content, maybe we can all sit down together with them and discuss this? See, having a dialogue means being present and open-minded, right?
Just saying :)