To Kill a Mocking Bird - ok for just-turned 7 y/o? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 05-21-2010, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter requested to read To Kill a Mockingbird today and while I'm generally fairly open about what she reads this one has me kind of hesitant. There is definitely adult content in it. She found it on my bookshelf and read the beginning and got interested. She's a voracious reader and always has three or four books going. I also believe she skips around parts that start to bother her and so kind of takes care of herself in that way.

Any thoughts?
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#2 of 17 Old 05-21-2010, 05:14 PM
 
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http://www.commonsensemedia.org/book...ll-mockingbird

this might help you decide

 hh2.gif  ~~~~~~~~~~hh2.gif
 

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#3 of 17 Old 05-21-2010, 05:45 PM
 
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My DD read it at 9. Her theatre group was going to be doing the play and so she was interested in what it was about. I said I needed to think about it but she snuck a copy and started reading it behind my back. She did come forward about halfway in and fessed to reading despite my hesitations. She didn't feel right being sneaky but she very much wanted to read the book and hoped we could discuss it together afterwards. I decided to allow it.

The rape accusation went right over her head. What she understood was that an innocent black man was accused of hitting a white girl. In fact, I don't believe they even use the word "rape." I believe they say "he took advantage of me" and bring up "a violation." Since the story worked without her understanding that aspect of the accusation or how much more dire it made the situation, I didn't feel any need to point out the truth of the matter. She was most upset about this innocent man being falsely imprisoned, about a young girl being attacked by a drunk, grown man on her way home from a school event, about poor Boo locked up in the house, ect. After reading the book, she did decide not to audition for the play and steered clear from any realistic fiction for a long while.

Personally, I was going to veto her reading the book before she went behind my back. In the end, it didn't hurt her I suppose but 9 is a little young to be disillusioned with humanity. I guess it really depends on how much you think she'll truely absord and what you think she'll do with that information.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#4 of 17 Old 05-21-2010, 10:12 PM
 
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I wouldn't. The book would be fantastic for, say, a young teenager, but there are some very dark themes and situations in it that might be deeply disturbing to younger children.

Then again, I saw "Star Wars" at seven and had nightmares for weeks, so I may not be representative!

Mom to DS 5, my sweet wordy-bird! reading.gif

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#5 of 17 Old 05-21-2010, 10:19 PM
 
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I personally would not be ok with the content.
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#6 of 17 Old 05-21-2010, 10:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post
The rape accusation went right over her head. What she understood was that an innocent black man was accused of hitting a white girl. In fact, I don't believe they even use the word "rape." I believe they say "he took advantage of me" and bring up "a violation." Since the story worked without her understanding that aspect of the accusation or how much more dire it made the situation, I didn't feel any need to point out the truth of the matter.
I just finished reading this book this week. I just wanted to comment on the above. I am not sure if there are different versions but in the version I read (which is the same one linked above) they not only use the word rape but also Scout very specifically asks "What is rape?" to both Calpurnia and Atticus. Atticus describes it as carnally taking a woman by force I believe. They also describe exactly what was alleged to have happened during the court scene.

I loved the book. I will encourage my children to read it at some point. All that being said I think it could potentially upset a child that is too young to have already been exposed to the concepts in a different age appropriate way.

Alison
Mama to Toad (08/06), Frog (01/09)... and new baby Newt born on his due date, Sep. 8, 2010
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#7 of 17 Old 05-21-2010, 10:59 PM
 
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My son read it at ~11. And he found it tough emotionally. I wouldn't be keen on it for a younger child.
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#8 of 17 Old 05-21-2010, 11:04 PM
 
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My dd read it at 11 and found the themes around rape and racism tough. She really enjoyed the book and we had wonderful discussions about it. However, I don't think it would have been wise any younger for her.
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#9 of 17 Old 05-21-2010, 11:42 PM
 
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I read it at 8 translated into Bulgarian and I really liked it. It was definitely not as traumatic as Unlce Tom's Cabin which I read at 7 while crying my eyes out. My parents had a huge library and they encouraged me to read whatever I found interesting. So I was reading big literary works by the age of 10 (Tolstoy, Turgeniev, Tchekov)...
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#10 of 17 Old 05-22-2010, 02:43 AM
 
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I wouldn't let MY 7 yo read it, but I don't think she'd want to, either. We were reading the American Girl book about Addie (escaped slave), and it was way too much for her to handle.

Most of it may just sail over her head, so make sure she gets back to it when she's a teen!

Mommy to kids

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#11 of 17 Old 05-22-2010, 11:16 AM
 
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they not only use the word rape but also Scout very specifically asks "What is rape?" to both Calpurnia and Atticus. Atticus describes it as carnally taking a woman by force I believe.
Good info. It's been several years and I get the play mixed up with the book. The play doesn't use the word. However, DD still didn't get that rape was connected to sex when she read the book. Not that I'd still reccomend it for a 7-year-old.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#12 of 17 Old 05-22-2010, 12:39 PM
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Yeah, I'd just be worried about a kid who maybe isn't clear on sex in the first place getting too much info about the alleged rape. I think it's great for just a few years older. It would depend on each kid, I suppose.
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#13 of 17 Old 05-22-2010, 03:26 PM
 
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On one hand I don't believe in censorship and I let my kids make their own choices about what to read. One the other hand, I let them know what books are about before they read them so they can make an informed choice. My 12 year old mentioned she wanted to read The Lovely Bones. I told her exactly what it is about and how reading it effected me. She decided not to read it.

Neither of my children would have enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird when they were 7.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#14 of 17 Old 05-22-2010, 07:49 PM
 
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My DD will not be ready for this one for a while, I think. I think I first read it at about 10, though, and was not bothered.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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#15 of 17 Old 05-24-2010, 02:22 PM
 
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I would not let my daughter who just turned 7 read it, given that rape is one of the elements of the story. She reads much harder books than To Kill A Mockingbird, but she has no ability to deal with frightening content at all.
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#16 of 17 Old 05-24-2010, 10:27 PM
 
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Just chiming in -- the court room scene description of the rape is graphic and vulgar. The father of the victim says he walks in to find Boo "rutting" on his daughter. It's just not for very young kids.

Kids. I got two of 'em.
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#17 of 17 Old 05-24-2010, 10:29 PM
 
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This is another book that has some very worthwhile content (levels of moral thinking, for example) that will go right over a child's head. Then, when they are old enough to really comprehend it, they'll think, "I already read that book--it's for kids!" I think this book is brilliant for middle schoolers and not before.

There's so much wonderful literature for children, I really avoid adult and teen literature at this age. My four-year-old is really enjoying The Secret Garden right now, and my seven-year-old is re-reading The Mysterious Benedict Society trilogy.

A previous poster mentioned censorship, but this has nothing to do with censorship, and everything to do with protecting children and providing them with appropriate literature.
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