Is Growing Up by Russell Baker, appropriate for a 12-year old? The back cover references the author's sexual discovery as part of the storyline.I don't want my 12-year old daughter reading about...

Is Growing Up by Russell Baker, appropriate for a 12-year old? The back cover references the author's sexual discovery as part of the storyline.

I don't want my 12-year old daughter reading about sex. I am still furious that last year her teacher had her read  "CandyFreak" which referenced, among other things, being "bitch-slapped"; pot parties: having candy arranged in a "pornographic tableau" and the parental cringe-inducing phrase "my mouth had multiple orgasms."

Now she has assigned "Growing Up". I don't trust her but don't want to read it myself.

 

Any input would be welcomed.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

"Growing up" is a novel published in 1982 that won the Pulitzer Prize for literature the following year, so it is a widely acclaimed book.  It deals mostly with growing up in the 1930s in a dysfunctional family, facing the hard times that were the Great Depression.  My impression when I read it (in the 10th grade in 1984) was that sexual awakening was not the central theme of the book.  That was a long time ago too, so all I can say with certainty is that I remember other themes.

That being said, you have concerns about what your child is reading in school, and what you or I find "appropriate" may be vastly different.  It is a fairly subjective term, after all.  So I encourage you to find out the process by which books are approved in your school district, and to call your Superintendent, or Curriculum Director, or School Board member to see if these concerns may have already been addressed, or if the book has been properly screened by them.

In a public school setting it is sometimes difficult to shield our kids from ideas we may find inappropriate or distasteful.  In the classroom, you may be able to request an alternative assignment if, in the end, you find the book crosses your line of appropriateness.  If there is an issue of trust, you may be able to place your daughter in another teacher's class.

I say all of these things as a public school teacher, who respects parents and what they have to say.  I also find that most teachers do the same.  Good luck, both with your daughter and with her education.

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