March 28, 2012

Hush, Hush for 6th Graders?

There I was, innocently standing there with my teacher, talking about lesson plans (what else?). Then I saw this sixth grader (which I know he is) carrying this book, Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.

Now normally, I would brush it off and keep it moving. But this has really stuck with me in my mind. I just had to know: How did this kid get his hands on this book? I'm not saying there should be any censorship of books in a library.

I'm just wondering if the little guy knows what he's getting into. Not only is this book not in the juvenile fiction section, it's a paranormal romance which is just a whole different thing altogether. 

I know if he was my student, then I would definitely ask him about what he thinks the book is about. Just because I know if he was my son, then I wouldn't let him read that book.

I know, totally old fashioned of me. I just think that as sixth graders, they aren't even preteens yet. Should they be introduced adult books and topics (not just sex) so young? This book is all about these adult questions and answers, and I wonder if he knows this.

I have to wonder if his parents even had "The Talk" with him and yet he's reading this book about . . . Well, it's not all about sex, but it definitely has some steamy situations in it that I personally wouldn't recommend to a 10 year old.

I mean, I'm not making the case that he should return the book or anything. The book he chooses is totally up to him. He has every right to pick up the book. I just think there should be some adult guidance in his choice.

As a teacher, we are suppose to help students (or more like force them) to make appropriate choices.

So, I'll leave it up to you guys: Do you think Hush, Hush is an appropriate choice for a 10 year old boy? And if you were the teacher in his classroom, what would you do about it, if anything at all?


  1. He's awful young to be in sixth grade... I'm saying that as a mom whose sixth grader is one of the youngest in the class (I think there are 2 kids younger).

    That aside, my son has read some stuff this year that has surprised me. YA lit has changed, quite a bit. Think about the Hunger Games, which I only read because my son told me I HAD to -- after he'd read it, of course.

    My son has been guided in his reading by the school librarians, and so far, their recommendations have been spot-on. I'd have sworn my kid was too young for Katniss, but nope. This kid who used to cry when kids were killed in a book didn't even flinch at the arena.

    Asking the kid why he picked up the book is valid -- so long as you can keep the judgement out of it. Maybe the school librarian suggested it, or his teacher.

    If you think Hush, Hush (which I always thought was YA) is too adult, it sounds like you're in a position to ask the librarian if s/he thinks it's too adult for the school library. The answer might surprise you.

  2. I'm torn on this one. As a child, I LOVED to read and often read things far above my grade/age level and would hate to see censorship of any type. On the other hand, I stumbled upon Clan of the Cave Bear well before I was ready to handle the content and totally freaked out at it (obviously, I didn't finish it) and it kind of scarred me for life, so.... it's a toss up.

    I shared your post today on my blog:

  3. Hey Susan and Jessica! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    @Susan-Whoops! I meant to put 12 years old. Good eye. Thanks for pointing it out to me, I'll fix it asap!

    Anyway, I'm sure there are kids out there who can handle Hush, Hush including your son. And I'm glad that there are librarians out there guiding student with a voracious appetite for books.

    However, my main point is: There should be some communication with the parents and their child about what is appropiate to read and what isn't.

    Of course as a teacher, I worry but I wouldn't judge them. That child has every right to pick up the book. I would still ask though just to make sure they know what they are getting into. Just in case. I picked up a book thinking it was a historical fiction book and it turned out to be a historical romance.

    So overall: No censorship for the kid, but there should definitely be some communication about the book in question.

    @Jessica-That's exactly what I want to avoid for my students. Reading something way too soon can be a life altering experience. I just like to be on the safe side of things as far as book wise, especially for their age range.

    At the same time, they have the right to choose any book they want. I just think guidance is in order.

    Anyway, thanks for posting my blog on your website! :)

  4. I absolutely guide my kids in a lot of things they do, so I also do that in their reading. I have a 12 year step-son and I recommend books to him all the time (he likes to read). I certainly have shied away from recommending some young adult books that I thought had mature content. I don't read everything he does though - and I'm pretty sure at this age he's exposed to the same mature content I don't want him to read yet - but it doesn't come from me.