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What is your opinion on "fluff" books? - Page 6

post #101 of 136
I'm not sure that I agree with the idea that fluff is "brain candy". For me, the difference between fluff and non-fluff is the richness of the text. So I would say that "fluff" is more like kid food-- kraft mac'n'cheese doesn't have any subtle flavors or textures, and kids who eat only very bland mushy food may have a hard time enjoying more complex food. Similarly, I think that kids who only read books with simple plots, flat characters, and short chapters may have a hard time enjoying a more complicated book, even if it's well within their abilities.

For this reason, I aim to have some richer books around, along with the simpler series like Magic Tree House.

Has anyone else read Some of my Best Friends are Books ? It's geared specifically toward gifted readers, but I think the vast majority of it translates to any kid. The author has some interesting advice about how and when to introduce different kids of books. I haven't interpreted her advice as suggesting censorship, just offering suggestions.

ZM
post #102 of 136
I agree with the people who said they don't classify books as "fluff" and "non-fluff." Of course, I definitely think there are differences in quality of writing, and some stories are way more interesting to me than others.

As others have said, I think it's important to provide access to a variety of different kinds of books, so our children get an idea of all that's really out there.

I see my job as providing a wide range of materials and experiences, and their job as freely choosing from the smorgasbord. I also don't classify TV shows as "educational" and "non-educational," because I think we learn from whatever we do, so everything we take in is "educational" in some way.
post #103 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisarussell View Post
we read a little fluff around here. My older kids have developed a real distaste for it, though. We always talk about what they're reading and they get very annoyed when the characters have no depth or when their thinking and logic are flawed and when the author leaves something unresolved. It isn't bad to read garbage, it's just bad when you never read good stuff either.
Exactly - it would be very unusual for a person, including the child variety of person, to not want more at some point. It doesn't take much for them to see and understand and appreciate the wide range of possibilities, especially as they get older, regardless of what they happen to be enjoying at any given point. I really think that the more respect their minds are shown by their parents, the more they're encouraged to grow confidence in their ability to explore all this. I hate the idea of anyone's reading choice being censored because of someone else's idea about it being not sophisticated or well written enough. Who knows what it is that draws one person to something another considers fluff? I see it as just one more part of personal space that should have a boundary around it. - Lillian
post #104 of 136
I read fluff. My favorite is Amish romance novels (like from the Christian bookstore). I love 'em.
post #105 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by deeporgarten View Post
for some reason it bugs me when adults, librarians and teachers particularly, say it's serving the "cause" of getting kids to read "no matter what."
The children's librarian at our library says that, in his experience, "fluff" reading is not a gateway to reading better material. He says that many kids read fluff and only fluff, and that in his experience, the opposite tends to be true: kids who already love to read enjoy fluff as part of their reading diet but not all of it. Our children's librarian said that, again, in his experience, most kids who read mainly fluff never branch out.

I am not opposed to fluff, because I do plenty of reading purely for entertainment, too. But that doesn't mean I have to read crap to my kids. For example, if my Ramona were to ask me to read Junie B. Jones books to her, which my first-grade-teacher MIL has tried to foist off on us, I would say, "Sorry, kid, you're out of luck until you can read chapter books on your own." I would explain why I wouldn't read it to her, and then I wouldn't read it to her. Occasionally my kids bring home brightly colored books devoid of any real ideas. I read them once. Usually, the kids lose interest because they realize they are poorly written, unexciting books, but if they do request them again, I often just say, "I didn't enjoy that book, let's read something we both like."

Anyway, I see a difference between Charlotte Mason's "twaddle" and my "crap," and "crap" is something I would refuse to read to my kids but probably wouldn't censor were they to read it on their own.

Of course, if my eight year old were to come strolling into the house with "Bastard Out of Carolina" or something, I'd censor.

dm
post #106 of 136
I allow small amounts of fluff reading. I do not keep fluff in teh home, the read alouds and assigned reading is based on good literature however I allow them to take any book out of the library they want as long as it is an age appropriate chapter book. FOr Ds that usually means goosebumps or other such books, dd likes to find books like pony pals. That is their 1 fluff book per week they may read. TO me as long as the vast majority of their reading is quality stuff then a fluff book now and then isn't going to harm them. TYpically those are the books they read at night when falling asleep and they need something brainless just to help relax. When teh vast majority of their reading "diet" is full of rich vocabulary and prose they will learn to distinguish between the fluff they chose and hte boks I do and start chosing ones with more substance on their own. IF I overly censor things they will not learn to tell the difference between them on their own, imo at least.
post #107 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
<snipped>

I am not opposed to fluff, because I do plenty of reading purely for entertainment, too. But that doesn't mean I have to read crap to my kids. For example, if my Ramona were to ask me to read Junie B. Jones books to her, which my first-grade-teacher MIL has tried to foist off on us, I would say, "Sorry, kid, you're out of luck until you can read chapter books on your own." I would explain why I wouldn't read it to her, and then I wouldn't read it to her. Occasionally my kids bring home brightly colored books devoid of any real ideas. I read them once. Usually, the kids lose interest because they realize they are poorly written, unexciting books, but if they do request them again, I often just say, "I didn't enjoy that book, let's read something we both like."
<snipped>
dm



LOL- my teaching in-laws have graced our shelves with Junie B Jones, too. And also a few Mary-Kate & Ashley books. Junie B Jones is the worst, though- It's like "How to be a brat."
post #108 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisarussell View Post
LOL- my teaching in-laws have graced our shelves with Junie B Jones, too. And also a few Mary-Kate & Ashley books. Junie B Jones is the worst, though- It's like "How to be a brat."
heck - sell um to me! my dd enjoys both of those!! seriously!!



here's my feelings....

fluff ain't enough - but it can be part of our stuff. poet - didn't know it.
post #109 of 136
Here are my thoughts:

There are well-written books and poorly-written books, there are books that provoke deep thought and books that promote passive participation,

but

There's no such thing as "fluff" in the sense of a book we read being unimportant or inconsequential.

Everything we read is important. It all enters our brains and shapes/challenges/affirms our thoughts and worldview. It all affects us, even if the effect is subtle. For children whose brains are rapidly forming, I think its affect is even more profound.

I believe books should raise us up beyond ourselves, not drag us down. And by raise us up, I don't mean that they ought to always be cheerful and optimistic -- I mean that books are a vehicle by which a child's mind can be stretched and strengthened and developed in fantastic ways. Books have an amazing power to give us a sense of things beyond our scope and greater than ourselves -- I want that experience for my children. So those are the kinds of books I buy.

IMO, life is too short for Spongebob, and they've never heard of him anyway.
post #110 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanbean View Post
Here are my thoughts:

There are well-written books and poorly-written books, there are books that provoke deep thought and books that promote passive participation,

but

There's no such thing as "fluff" in the sense of a book we read being unimportant or inconsequential.

Everything we read is important. It all enters our brains and shapes/challenges/affirms our thoughts and worldview. It all affects us, even if the effect is subtle. For children whose brains are rapidly forming, I think its affect is even more profound.

I believe books should raise us up beyond ourselves, not drag us down. And by raise us up, I don't mean that they ought to always be cheerful and optimistic -- I mean that books are a vehicle by which a child's mind can be stretched and strengthened and developed in fantastic ways. Books have an amazing power to give us a sense of things beyond our scope and greater than ourselves -- I want that experience for my children. So those are the kinds of books I buy.

IMO, life is too short for Spongebob, and they've never heard of him anyway.
Well said! ITA.
post #111 of 136
Ok, maybe Spongebob is fluffy, but surely Patrick is a Rhodes Scholar candidate?
post #112 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanbean View Post
IMO, life is too short for Spongebob, and they've never heard of him anyway.
Have you ever watched SpongeBob? As cartoons go, I think Spongebob is pretty well done-- there's social and political commentary for Pete's sake. I'll take SpongeBob over Dora (and quite a few other "educational" shows) any day.

ZM
post #113 of 136
Everything we read is important. It all enters our brains and shapes/challenges/affirms our thoughts and worldview. It all affects us, even if the effect is subtle. For children whose brains are rapidly forming, I think its affect is even more profound.

I believe books should raise us up beyond ourselves, not drag us down. And by raise us up, I don't mean that they ought to always be cheerful and optimistic -- I mean that books are a vehicle by which a child's mind can be stretched and strengthened and developed in fantastic ways. Books have an amazing power to give us a sense of things beyond our scope and greater than ourselves -- I want that experience for my children. So those are the kinds of books I buy.



I'm not sure what books you're referring too that don't stretch the child's mind - so I'll mention the few I've seen as "fluff" here from other posters. disney books? those are classic fairytale literature with mostly mild variances from the original text. If my 6 year old or 3 year old want to read a disney book at bedtime, I don't think I'm missing the mark in stretching their imagination. Also, Junie B Jones. My daughter likes these short chapter books, and she enjoys them all as bedtime stories. My dd finds the books amusing and does not see them as a training ground for "how to be a brat". Plus, if Junie B Jones is a brat, what is Pippi Longstocking? I mean seriously.....or Ramona for that matter - they both do circles around Junie B.

We have a rich amount of literature that we read, but I see no reason to limit my kids to a genre of specific books. I personally can't stand fiction books and prefer biographies and such, but I wouldn't trade the 20 minutes I get with my daughter cuddling her & reading some silly fiction book together. When we go to the library, I let her have full reign in the kids section and I follow her lead and choices. Sometimes she picks books that aren't engaging for her at all, and sometimes she picks books that she LOVES and I don't really like (i.e. walter the farting dog). But i'm okay with that, as I trust she will grow up to be an amazing and well rounded person and NOT a person who never had strong world views because she watched spongebob as a kid. Balance is key imo. ykwim?

Someone referred to an obese person eating an eclair being the same as feeding our brain fluff books. I don't really get that. An eclair won't make you obese, unless you eat them ALL OF THE TIME.

again, it's all about balance. anyway, bailing out of this thread now.
post #114 of 136
Quote:
Plus, if Junie B. Jones is a brat, what's Pippi Longstocking?
Pippi's in no way a brat. She's just a quirky storyteller. Junie B. is just 'I don't know how, I don't wanna, and you can't make me' for the sake of being bratty and annoying. The sad thing is, that author is capable of better writing. Her YA novel, The Graduation of Jake Moon (or soething like that) was gorgeous. Made me cry.
post #115 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by elizawill View Post
Plus, if Junie B Jones is a brat, what is Pippi Longstocking? I mean seriously.....or Ramona for that matter - they both do circles around Junie B.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petronella View Post
Pippi's in no way a brat. She's just a quirky storyteller. Junie B. is just 'I don't know how, I don't wanna, and you can't make me' for the sake of being bratty and annoying. The sad thing is, that author is capable of better writing. Her YA novel, The Graduation of Jake Moon (or soething like that) was gorgeous. Made me cry.
I agree, there is such a huge difference. Junie B. does things like manipulate her friends into giving her their stuff, by promising to be "best friends" or some such thing. I read 4 of them once, it was awful. Ramona is impulsive, but you always know that her heart is in the right place. She learns from her mistakes, not that they are my favorites. Pippi is another level entirely. She makes up crazy stories, but she finds creative ways to foil bullies, is incredibly kind to her friends, sticks up for the underdog... totally different.
post #116 of 136
welp. i disagree. imo - lucille is a brat from junie b. she's self centered and manipulative. junie b. is a quirky 5 year old who has no censorship and blurts out what she thinks. is junie b jones good literature?? no. does she model ideal character traits for my children? no. but the point of the book isn't to be anything but entertainment to a kid. is it? yep. i don't really enjoy the books, but my dd does & thinks they're funny. in fact, we just got back from the library moments ago. she got 11 books, and one was junie b, while the other 10 consisted of wonderful christmas stories that i consider worthy reading. i don't censor her books, and obviously i don't need too. she makes overall good choices - and that was my point....certainly not to debate the character of junie b jones. i could care less about junie b, and my post wasn't to convince anyone that those books had any significant value.
post #117 of 136
Ouch, I burnt my finger!

Hey mama, I like to discuss characters from books and debate stuff. I hope you aren't taking it personally...it's hard to tell on the ol' internets.
post #118 of 136
Speaking of Pippi (who is a clueless brat, but with no mother, and an absent father, and after having spent her formative years being raised by sailors; who can blame her?) I think Tommy & Annika could have helped her out a bit rather than just staring in amazement at her faux pas, at least their mother could have helped. If my neighbor's yard was that messy I would have stopped over to see what I could help with.

Astrid Lindgren also wrote my all-time favorite kids story; the underrated "Ronia, the Robbers' Daughter." That book came to life in my mind in a HUGE way, I sketched the landscape and magical creatures for months and read it several times, and I didn't even FIND it until I was... um... well I had 2 kids, So I was between 22 and... um 25 years old. Whenever that was.
post #119 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by swellmomma View Post
I allow small amounts of fluff reading. I do not keep fluff in teh home, the read alouds and assigned reading is based on good literature however I allow them to take any book out of the library they want as long as it is an age appropriate chapter book. FOr Ds that usually means goosebumps or other such books, dd likes to find books like pony pals. That is their 1 fluff book per week they may read. TO me as long as the vast majority of their reading is quality stuff then a fluff book now and then isn't going to harm them. TYpically those are the books they read at night when falling asleep and they need something brainless just to help relax. When teh vast majority of their reading "diet" is full of rich vocabulary and prose they will learn to distinguish between the fluff they chose and hte boks I do and start chosing ones with more substance on their own. IF I overly censor things they will not learn to tell the difference between them on their own, imo at least.
I agree with much of what you say ... I do allow more "fluff" than it seems you do, but I also completely agree with your beliefs that if you completely censor it, they'll have nothing by which to compare good literature.

For us, I have been making a very concentrated effort to bring in classical literature. I realized that I wasn't ever read fairy tales and Aesop's tales and myths and legends as a child even though my parents read to me all the time and I was an avid reader from the time I taught myself at four. My boys love listening to these stories, and ds#1 has slowly begun to be able to listen to the slightly more "scary" ones. (I do still censor some fairy tales as the originals of some are much too scary for him at six.) I have also found a new-love for classic stories. My only introduction to many fairy tales was through Disney and I couldn't stand them (still can't). But the real thing ... now that's another story. (Pun intended! ) My boys still ove checking out BatMan and SpiderMan at the library; and we let them (though we tell them we won't read actual comics ... so they get stories about these characters). But, one my middle son's favorite stories to date is Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.

Now for Pippi Longstocking ... I loved her as a child and look forward to reading her to my boys. For now, we love Astrid Lindgren's books about The Tomten as well as The Children of Noisy Village. (I also love that it's my way of introducing my boys to a bit of their Scandinavian heritage, as well as the fact that her first name is my middle name.)

So, staying in line with my post earlier in this thread, we don't really censor fluff; we do, however make sure they are receiving a healthy dose of "good" literature, which of course, is subject to he who is judging. :
post #120 of 136
Hey mama, I like to discuss characters from books and debate stuff. I hope you aren't taking it personally...it's hard to tell on the ol' internets.


No, it’s not personal, mama. As for characters in books and debates – I enjoy that too, as long as debates stay respectful – I love it! I compared Junie B, Pippi, and Ramona for no strong binding reason at all. My only point was to say that we can call Pippi a "story-teller" all day long….or a little girl who "stretches the truth"….but she's a self-confessed liar & openly admits she can’t help herself. lol. We LOVE Pippi and I enjoyed her books as a child, and it’s wonderful to share the stories with my dd. We've read them all. As kind-hearted as Pippi is, she still completely lacks social graces like Junie B…thus where my offensive comparison came in.

As for Ramona, the last book I read to my dd …Ramona was such a stinker. Her dad lost his job and money was very scarce. To make ends meet, her mother had to buy cow tongue for dinner (or something GROSS like that - I don't remember). It tasted great but when Ramona found out what it was – she was so ungrateful and threw a real fit at dinner. Plus she always fights with her sibling – that’s why I mentioned her I suppose. Yes, in the end, she always pulls through…but so does Junie B.

The Junie B. Jones books are definitely shallow, & I openly admit it can be classified as fluff. They aren't written to have depth, but they do engage my child's imagination that creates laughter, enjoyment, & conversation. It may not be quality reading, but it is always quality time for us. Junie B. can definitely act ugly, but her character is meant to be a “handful” – a child who’s misunderstood. Like in her slumber party book, she slept at her friend Lucille’s & the nana there is very glamorous & rich ….but at the end of the book she’s so happy and appreciative of her own grandmother and is grateful for her family and all they have. I don't see her as malicious or a child who's ungrateful and unloving. she's simply 5. ykwim? Anyway, I certainly wasn’t trying to make my comment shift gears for this thread – it was a very small part of my point
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