Choose your words...
HIYA Reading Ninja's - today I'm doing something a little different... I'm posing a question to all of you to see where we all came from. I recently found this same question posed on an author FB page and it got me thinking - So now I'm posing it to you.
"When you were a kid, did your parents monitor what you read? Were you limited in the books you had access to? A couple of parents in my local school district are upset about some of the books their kids have been reading, so it made me curious: what were YOUR parents like?"
Now the author who posed this question on FB was not allowed to read Goosebumps as a child or Judy Blume as a preteen.
For me Judy Blume was a regular reread, I'd go back to her books at least once a year so I can't imagine entering teenagehood without her. And this got me thinking about where I came from reading-wise and was anything off-limits in my reading life? The answer quite honestly is NO!
I came from a devoted reading family. My parents always had a book open by each of their lounge chairs - Hell my dad almost never watched TV but read for hours each night. When he built our house the family room was massive, ran the entire width of the house and had an entire wall of floor to cathedral ceiling of bookshelves. One of my fondest childhood memories is the excited anticipation of 'library bus day'. I grew up in a very small town out in the country, we had a tiny supermarket, a post office, a pub and a couple of fish n chip shops - No library of our own and the nearest book store was probably a few hours drive away in the city... And so there was Library Bus. Once a week, for a few hours on a Wednesday, a council bus refitted entirely inside with bookshelves, rolled into town with its limited supply of books. Oh, what a great day that was. It parked in the post office car park, which coincidentally was also where the school bus dropped us off (I went to school in the next town over - about a 15min drive away). Off one bus I'd tumble and head straight for another, I'd dump my school bag on the ground outside and go in search of something new to read. I was limited only by what was currently on the shelves.
As I grew into teenagehood, the library bus was discontinued but an actual physical library opened in the town I went to school in. So I'd often skip the school bus, hit up the library and then catch a later town bus home. Again I was only limited by current stock. Weekends, the whole family would decent on the library en masse - mum and dad heading their own ways disappearing into the stacks in search of new reads, while us kids each went in search of our own. Mum and dad never policed what we borrowed - hell the only problem was when the librarian would try to make me choose only the permitted borrow limit of 4 books out of the 9 I had stacked up.
In my teen years, I'd read my own books borrowed from both the town library and the school library - plus I'd read whatever mum and dad had on the shelves that tweaked my interest. I was probably 14 when I first read The Exorcist and Amityville Horror, and that was the age I also discovered Jakkie Collins.
Nothing was ever out of bounds, the only limits to what I could read was based on what the library had, book borrowing limits and the worst restriction of all - Scholastic Book Order day... That horrific day that I looked forward to all year with such excitement, knowing all along that I'd only be allowed to purchase 1 book due to financial constraints. It always killed my soul a little to leave so many books lying on the display table, just begging to come home with me and be cherished, read, and added to my ever-growing collection. It was like a 'Sophie's Choice' aimed at a young reading ninja. Thank God for the day when I was 14 & 9mths old and I was legally allowed (and immediately did) get my first after school job in a shopping centre nearby around the same time as a small book store opened... I'll proudly admit most of my pay went straight to Collins Booksellers.
So now that you know where I've come from and the reading freedom I had - who wants to share their history? What restrictions is any were placed on your reading? Did you as a parent have any say in your children's reading? There are no right or wrong answers here - whether you grew up only reading the bible, banned Captn Underpants, memorised Dr Seuss (my daughters 24 and I can still quote entire Dr Seuss books by heart) or spent the first hours of your children's life reading Bryce Courtney allowed to them in their humidicrib (may or may not have happened....lol).