When I posted a brief review of a children’s book and mentioned that parents should beware because of some of the language, I didn’t expect I’d have to explain myself.
The book in question is sold to children between the ages of 7-12. That is a wide range, but classification of readership depends on the child’s reading abilities. Every child develops at their own rate.
I don’t believe in censorship.
I do believe in parental responsibilities.
Deciding when I child should be exposed to language the use of which might just get them a trip to the principal’s office is a decision for each child’s parents or guardians. It’s a parent’s job to determine when their child is mature enough for certain language. At the very least a parent needs to inform/educate a child that some places are more appropriate for that sort of language than others. This is not censorship so much as it is self-restraint.
As a reviewer, my job is to supply the parent with what he or she needs to make an informed decision. It’s not up to publishers, critics, or even teachers. It’s a choice each parent makes, and I’m sure it’s not an easy one.
A few curse words are fine when used in a correct responsible manner. I’ve never believed it should be peppered throughout a book–even an adult book–unless it’s an inherent part of the character in question.
By the same token, I am reminded of something Sid Caesar once said. “If you use that sort of language just to say hello, what do you say when you’re mad?”