Keeping books off the media center's shelvesThe media specialist at my middle school would not purchase this book and shelf it in the media center. Despite a shortage of good adolescent literature...

Keeping books off the media center's shelves

The media specialist at my middle school would not purchase this book and shelf it in the media center. Despite a shortage of good adolescent literature science fiction for more advanced readers, she found the language to be too ojectionable. Has anyone else found the book too "mature" for middle schoolers? I found the language to be rather elementary to be off-putting to students 12 and up.

Asked on by anthonda49

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clairewait's profile pic

clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Too many people in the Bible-belt think that schools are churches.  It's really quite frightening.  They honestly resent the separation of church and state.  And they have no grasp of the immorality of censorship.

Here's a story for you:

I co-taught an American literature and American history class in Indiana in 2000.  We were doing an end of the year Time magazine project in the computer lab, and one of the students asked me if Time was liberal or conservative.  I said it was fairly moderate, that's why it's widely distributed.  The history teacher in the lab said that I was wrong, "It is liberal."

"Why?" I asked.

She said, "Because it has Viagra ads."

If that's the mentality, what's going to be left on the shelves of our school libraries?  The Bible and Pilgrim's Progress, and that's it?

Don't forget "Gulliver's Travels," and "The Chronicles of Narnia."

I actually try to teach Ender's Game in as many high school classes as possible, despite the fact that it is definitely written at a 6th or 7th grade reading level.  Ender's Game, to this day, is by far my students' favorite required reading.  I have seen non-readers become readers again as a result of this book, often enough that it is worth pushing to keep it in the curriculum (despite its arguable simplicity for high school) and keep it on shelves.

I had a 9th grade parent tell me she did not want her daughter participating in the novel study, also due to the language in the book.  I said to the woman on the phone (after a decision was made to send her daughter to the office with an End of Course exam workbook for 4 weeks) that I not only believed she was wrong, but that if she truly believed the language in the book was too offensive, she should spend but 10 minutes in the hallway of the school between classes.  She failed to see the parallel.  She was also in full favor of the study of Huckleberry Finn as the next book selection.

It is a very bizarre double-standard that comes most often from those who are less well-read.  And, a shame, indeed.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Interestingly, there is a cultural element to this novel, as in English English, "bugger" is an expletive, so I could understand it if it was an English library! However, personally, I did not find the vocabulary of this great book insulting in any way at all. I do absolutely love it and think that the few potentially objectionable words that it does contain do not outweigh its great merit.

ask996's profile pic

ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

I have read this novel multiple times, and I only remember one or two expletives. Both of which middle school students more than likely hear in the hallways or on the bus. The quality of this book (I do not care much for science fiction--I've never even seen Star Wars, and yet I love this book.) far overshadows the few curse words.

anthonda49's profile pic

anthonda49 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

I'm rather surprised that a Media Center Specialist would object to Ender's Game, especially with some of the books that are part of most middle school cannons. I teach high school, but some of my lower level high school students really enjoyed the book, and it certainly doesn't have the objectionable language that Of Mice and Men has.  Does your Media Specialist have the final say on what goes in the Media Center, or is there someone else to whom you could appeal?

unless there is a very vocal parent or administrator, the media specialist has the final say. Teachers are rarely listened to without the backing of one of the above.

scarletpimpernel's profile pic

scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I'm rather surprised that a Media Center Specialist would object to Ender's Game, especially with some of the books that are part of most middle school cannons. I teach high school, but some of my lower level high school students really enjoyed the book, and it certainly doesn't have the objectionable language that Of Mice and Men has.  Does your Media Specialist have the final say on what goes in the Media Center, or is there someone else to whom you could appeal?

mstultz72's profile pic

mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Too many people in the Bible-belt think that schools are churches.  It's really quite frightening.  They honestly resent the separation of church and state.  And they have no grasp of the immorality of censorship.

Here's a story for you:

I co-taught an American literature and American history class in Indiana in 2000.  We were doing an end of the year Time magazine project in the computer lab, and one of the students asked me if Time was liberal or conservative.  I said it was fairly moderate, that's why it's widely distributed.  The history teacher in the lab said that I was wrong, "It is liberal."

"Why?" I asked.

She said, "Because it has Viagra ads."

If that's the mentality, what's going to be left on the shelves of our school libraries?  The Bible and Pilgrim's Progress, and that's it?

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I taught in a rural Florida middle school for nine years. If a book had any objectionable words--such as "damn," for example--the book was considered unacceptable. I once had a viewing of the wonderful fairy tale film, The Princess Bride, stopped by orders of the principal because of a single useage of "son of a bit**." Such close-minded thinking by administrators is still alive, sadly. Book burnings used to be a regular occurrence in some areas of North Central Florida (in Lake City, for example) up until just the past 10-12 years.

Wiggin42's profile pic

Wiggin42 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Valedictorian

Posted on

My school had the whole collection of Ender's Game books so no, I don't think its inappropriate in language for middle school kids, let alone high school students. The writing is actually rather simplistic. But its one of those books whose meaning you only begin to understand as you get older. 

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