I'll start this off by admitting that this is silly, in some ways. I know that people let their kids watch and read wildly inappropriate things, and in the grand scheme of things, this isn't so bad.
But I'm going to ask about it anyway.
DD just turned 6. We have read the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd HP books with her. She is DEFINITELY not ready to see any of the movies. (We have not even gotten through Toy Story yet--she can't deal with the torture of the toys scene.)
I just discovered that she has been reading the 4th book. I hadn't hidden it or anything, but I was not planning on reading it with her--I was just going to steer her towards another series.
Commonsensemedia.org, which I usually trust, says age 10 for this book. I know that often kids will just filter out what they don't understand, and I hope that's what's happening. DD will not talk about things that upset her, although we work hard to encourage her to do so.
What do you all think? Leave her alone and let her read? Or make the book disappear? I know I read some really inappropriate things as a kid. Some of them weren't a problem, but some of them disturbed me quite a bit. Is there any predictor of how this will be for DD?
I can only share how my kids handled Harry Potter. My eldest read the first two books at 5. She started the 3rd and put it down because it was "too full of despair." She didn't return to the series until 4th grade (which was 8-years-old for her.) At that point, she read all that were published and continued to read the rest as they came out. My youngest read the first 2 with daddy at like 6 or 7. He watched all the movies as they came out. He has always handled fantasy stuff well. He's my kid that would freak out over the news instead of fiction. At 12, he JUST picked up the books again and is halfway through 5.... quite delighting in all the "extras" that weren't included in the movies.
If your DD picked up the book on her own and is reading... I'd trust that she'll put it down if it gets too much. Remember that even kids with high comprehension are limited by their own lack of experiences. They are going to understand whats going on at the level they can understand it. I remember freaking out when my 8-year-old picked up "To Kill a Mockingbird" but it wasn't until she re-read the book many years later that she understood what the accusation actually was.
I would let her read the books and discuss with her as needed (if she needs to talk to you about it or there's something from one of the books you want to discuss with her). My now-12 year old read the series when he was seven and handled it well.
With the fourth book, you may want to "spoil" the part at the end where Cedric dies by warning her that someone is killed in the book and that it's a sad part.
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds 10yo dd 8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds
whatsnextmom, I remember reading a few books wayyyy too young, and doing that same thing--getting through the whole thing without really understanding everything. You're right that DD will probably do the same. I think she will enjoy going back to them one day, and actually "getting" it.
phathui5, that's a great idea. I will definitely tell her about Cedric. She is sensitive to death in books; she cried for a long time when the dog died in the Little House series. I'll make sure she knows what's coming.
I removed books 5 and up from the house. If they are here, she will find them and read them. I think it's best that they are not available to her yet. I suppose I'm letting her read 4 (she read quite a bit of it this afternoon), but I'm drawing the line there--she will have to read the rest when she's older.
Any idea about what to tempt her with when she finishes this one? What is there after HP?? :)
DD self regulates very well, and at times, is a little too over protective of her psyche. DS isn't quite so cautious, and he's prone to nightmares from images he sees. We also spoiled the ending of #4, and drew the line there. We did not make the book disappear, but instead we spoke to him directly about how things develop in #5 and why we felt it was inappropriate for his to read it, and that we'd revisit it in a year.
Some books read since:
Peter and the Starcatchers
Detective series with a boy and girl, boy Hawkeye, who was a sketch artist
Little House, except for first, aren't bad, and other authors have written about ancestors
When older -- later Secrets of Droon; Bionicles (C.A. Hopka first; and Farshety's early ones, then quality goes down); A to Z Mysteries ; Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew; Crime Through Time ; Deltora Quest; Bailey School Kids
Even older -- So You Want to be a Wizard books
Check other reading list threads, too!
My daughter read the whole series the summer after she turned 7. She started at the end of first grade and fell in love. I was a bit concerned about her ability to handle them because she's got a lively imagination and is prone to nightmares as well. I was surprised by her ability to handle them. No, she didn't get everything, but she got a lot of it. She's re-read them at least once since then.
Overall, I've been impressed by her ability to handle tough content. She's read books that I would consider difficult (Becoming Naomi Leon) and really gotten a lot of out of them. If your daughter is sneaking it, she might be ready.
We didn't do the movies at all until she turned 8. Even then, it was touch and go. The Dementors really freaked her out. My kids are much more able to handle books than movies.
Haha, my eldest started the 1st when she was 5 and my little vegetarian was SO distraught by the description of hog boiling that she would never pick up another Little House book after... and she's 16 now!
I'm sorry that happened. I think she toned down that sort of thing in the later books. There was also a reference to two deer which had been killed, but I think that was also in the first one.
In the ones by other authors, about the ancestors, one of the Caroline years books references a deer which was killed, and another talks about shooting pigeons. I think that was it as far as the hunting. The Scottish series, the Martha years?, didn't have anything like that that I recall.
Hopefully this info can help other parents decide if these books are going to upset their children.
Jesus-loving Doula/Birth Photographer Mama to Tor 4/2007, Zion 11/2009, Enoch 11/2011, and Zephyr due 12/13/2013
I think that's the basic point many of us have been making: Some kids can self-monitor, and so you can largely leave them be, expecting them to drop a book that they find is beyond what they can handle. Others cannot, and it doesn't become evident until later that a book carried too weighty a theme for that child.
The key is to know your child, and decide whether or not they are ready to fully judge for themselves what's appropriate and what's not. For those not yet ready, then guide and discuss as necessary.
I have one of each type of kid. We've taken vary different approaches with each as a result.
I may not articulate this well, but I am less worried about innocence/upsetting content then them simply not getting from a book what they could.
My kids didn't have the emotional maturity & life experience to get the most out of Harry Potter books until about the ages they were written for, which is to say age 10+. That's apart from their intellectual level.
The first HP book is okay for most ages, it's charming & not too complicated. My 8yo has read it. But he wouldn't follow the plotlines in later books at all, for another 3-5 yrs.
I read The Painted Bird when I was 7. Bestiality, incest, genocide. It didn't upset me but I would have actually gotten a huge more out of it if I had waited until age 12+. I would have understood the context so much better about racism, how the horrors of war & ignorance drive even good people to do bad things, etc.
But do you never re-read books? My kids (and I) re-read books all the time. My eldest dd read the Harry Potter books as they were released, starting with the first three at age 5, and has re-read them every 2-5 years ever since. Same deal with Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" books (though she was 11 or so when she first encountered those) and the Narnia books. I've read my way through Narnia at least once every decade of my life. A lot of really great literature works on multiple levels, meaning you can get different but equally valuable things out of it at different levels of maturity and understanding.
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up
Add my family to a list rereaders.
Great example: DD read the Sister's Grimm series when she was 6. It was great. We were looking for something fairy, something series, and something a bit more than the Rainbow Fairy Crack Cocaine she'd been reading.
IT was so evident that she identified with the younger sister, and yet it was obvious to me that the reader was supposed to identify with the older sister. She was closer in age to the younger sister, and she just made more sense.
DD got something completely different out of the books than what was intended as a result.
She recently reread them and made a comment about the older sister. Now, 4 years later, her perspective has changed to the point where it was a different series of books to her this time around.
We started the Harry Potter series with DS when he was 6. We got him the first book & movie for his birthday, and he loooooved them. I had heard from friends that they get darker as time goes on, so we started a tradition where we give him the next HP book/movie every year on his birthday. So when he turned 8 last year, he got the 3rd book/movie. It's a really fun tradition -- he knows it's coming, so in the weeks leading up to his birthday he always rereads the previous book so he'll be up to speed on everything once we start the next one.
Now, at the rate we're going, he'd be 12 by the time he finally got to read/watch the final HP, so we'll obviously let him advance a little faster at some point, but for now this one-per-year thing is working really well for us. DD (who just turned 5) is already talking about how next year she gets to read/watch the first Harry Potter. It's funny, because we've never really mentioned our tradition to her, so DS must have told her about it, which I think is sweet.
Other series he has really loved are Peter and the Starcatchers, Little House, and the first few books of The Chronicles of Narnia.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks. (The movie with Angela Lanburys is good, too!)
Maybe Boxcar Children
Different types of books appeal to different kids. My son didn't like Boxcar Children or Borrowers.
He just recommended Gordon Korman books. He wrote the Abracadabra, I think, for young reader's. On The Run series and Everest series would be better when she's older.
Mad Science series was also good.
Neither my son nor I cared for the last Harry Potter, and weren't all that crazy about the sixth, either. Did you all like them all equally?
My daughter read the series at age 7-8 (second grade), but it was interesting...as the content got heavier, she asked us to read more and more of the books with her (although she was able to read them, she wanted us to do it). We also did a lot of spoilers, which she requested. That said, she loved the series. I'm sure she'll revisit them in the future.
Sisters Grimm is great (although the last two books are very dark), our daughter is now 9 and is loving the Percy Jackson series too. We also enjoyed the Molly Moon books - we read them to her when she was 5 or 6. She also just finished the Pseudomyous (sp?) Bosch books, which are wacky and weird and a little bit scary.
I needed to limit when DD read HP book 5 and beyond. She did well up through 4 (in 2nd grade), but once she started reading #5, she started having nightmares, so I told her she need to take a break from reading HP (and I think we waited about a year for her to resume the series).
DD is a big time reader, and a big time re-reader! She had loved/ renewed her love for the Warrior Series by Erin Hunter, and just re-read a few (they were AR books!, and she wanted to just get her required points done, and so did I - I intensely DISLIKE the whole AR concept/school requirement for those who love to read and read/comprehend well), and discovered there were a few new ones she hadn't read.
It stands for Accelerated Reader, and it's a requirement/percent of total grade for some elementary and middle school students in my area. Here are a few links to give you some information.
I love all the discussion here! :)
I definitely read tons of books that I wasn't ready for as a kid, and ended up re-reading them as I got older and more mature. I'm pretty sure DD will do that too, because she re-read the first HP at least twice before she seemed ready to move on. I suspect that is also her strategy for boosting comprehension--once she was comfortable with that one, she was able to read the other ones independently.
I must say, I am proud of how well she is understanding book 4. We had a long talk tonight about how Ron was upset with Harry, and how they weren't speaking to each other for a while. She is definitely getting the surface story, at least.
I really like the idea of giving one book per year, although my DD wouldn't be able to handle that wait. Hence the removal of books 5-7. She will ransack the house if she thinks they are here.
When she finishes #4, I'm going to try to get her on the Molly Moon series. I think she has a little bit of what my fellow teachers and I call the Hunger Games syndrome--once you've read a super intense/scary/overly mature book, you can't go back to The Boxcar Children. Now it's just a delicate balancing act until she's ready for The Yearling. :)
I think the can of worms is open, so keeping her from moving forward now would be a power struggle you may not want to have. I know that as an AR myself, and coming of age online, I had a mix of experiences with being exposed to things before I was ready and semi-succesful self-regulating. I was very good (and still am!) at regulating horror, gore, violence, etc., because it REALLY affected me emotionally and gave me nightmares (still does!)
However, I wasn't as good about self-regulating on other mature themes. For example, my friend's dad was a human sexuality professor, and we read all kinds of things from that bookshelf (ages 11-16) until moving on to laughing at her older brother's porn stash. I'm no sexual deviant though... so I guess that turned out OK in the end!
Writing about life-long learning and discovery at: www.neoapprentice.com
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I haven't read all the responses yet, but this kind of thing is so child dependent, in my opinion. You just have to know your own child (which I'm sure you do!). No matter what age other parents or scientists think one thing or another is ok, it ultimately boils don to the individual child and the family's values. My 7 yo son cries during those awfully sad ASPCA commercials and we have to turn them off. He also cries during the "Mom locked up and cuddling baby" scene in Dumbo and will remain sad for sometimes days. But on the other hand he watches goosbumps and even watched Army of Darkness and Killer Klowns with me and slept like a baby that night and never has had a nightmare. Kid just does not get scared, and never reenacts violence. But sad stuff? He can't handle it. So I try to shelter him from anything that is even remotely sad or depressing. We had a baby bunny die the other day and it was horrible :( the other two boys could care less though. Funny how they are all so different!
It's been a little while since I read Harry Potter 4, but iirc up until the maze and ensuing ending it's a fairly benign romp with Harry trying to figure out how to handle the challenges, stressing out about asking the girl he likes to the Yule Ball, and stuff like that. If she doesn't get lost or burnt out on what is a fairly long story, you could probably just prep her for the end when she starts getting close by warning her that somebody dies and maybe that somebody who seems to be on Harry's side turns out not to be.
I read the Wizard of Oz series when I was 6 and I guess there's some creepy stuff in that with evil characters plotting to take over the kingdom, good characters being taken prisoner and under threat of death, characters being lost or scared or running low on food or under threat from monsters, etc. and I don't recall any of it upsetting me.
I have had lovely long conversations with her about the darkness of the last books. She knows a bit of what to expect and it's led to great discussions on writing and telling stories.
If I had just taken away the last books, she would have noticed so that wasn't really an option.
Hmmmm.... my girls aren't gifted or precocious readers and reading this level of books on their own yet, so that's an issue I can't comment on. But I read them the Harry Potter series, starting at 5 for dd1. She liked it...meh. Then about a year later, we started the series again and made our way eventually through the entire series, and we even watched the movies-- all of them. My girls are now 6.5 and 8, and we finished the series about 1.5 years ago. Maybe there is something different about having the series read to you and being able to talk about it along the way, compared to reading on your own. Or maybe I'm just a bad parent, seeing as I seem to be the only one who has not only allowed Harry Potter books, but the movies as well. (I was a precocious reader, and I do remember reading all kinds of inappropriate things!)
But as far as the "Hunger Games" comment and not being able to go back to the Boxcar Children, I don't agree with that. We have read Harry Potter, LOTR, the Hobbit, Percy Jackson, (and they've seen all the accompanying movies) and they happily devour Encyclopedia Brown, chapters of Little House, Henry and Mudge. For videos, they still love insipid stuff like Puppy Party. I don't know where the idea came from that you can't go back. Again, perhaps because my girls aren't actually reading the difficult stuff themselves? But if the stories are engaging enough (and many are), then I still don't see why it would be true. I mean, I've read some pretty difficult, complex, exciting, mature stories in my life, and when I bring home Henry and Mudge books and they aren't picking them up right away, you can bet that I read them! I've finished chapter books for myself that we started together and they didn't want to finish. I enjoy the stories. Maybe that makes me the exception, an oddity, but it also makes those assumptions wrong.
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
oh you can totally go back, honestly. I have a 9 yo kid reading LOTR level stuff but also, Asterix, Little House on the Prairie, the Doctor Who books, Sherlock Holmes and so on. Anything that stays still really. He certainly will balance out emotionally heavy stuff with goofy or light stuff. To be fair, he hasn't gone for stuff like Hunger Games/Twilight etc, but I don't think that boys tend to be drawn to those series'. I read all sorts of probably highly inappropriate stuff at a very young age and I also read younger kids stuff, comics etc.
I also think that my son would have been driven to theft or something if I'd tried to limit Harry Potter to one a year but if you can get away with it, yeah that sounds great :-)
I have other reservations about Harry Potter, about the kind of quite limited political/cultural world and the stereotypes of minorities and women that I feel are shown, but reading wise, no, I'm not worried. I think my 7 year old has read or listened to them all though I'd have to check with her. She's read a fair bit of her brother's bookshelf but is also happy with her little sister's early chapter books and a nice picture book too. I don't think its a huge issue, at least in my family.
(ooops sorry just noticed this was in the gifted forum, sorry, SweetSilver saw you and think I thought homeschooling! I don't identify mine as gifted or anything either, we're homeschoolers and it really doesn't arise either way. Apologies, didn't mean to crash)
No, I've only posted here one other time. Felt this subject and my response was still appropriate. I think yours was, too. There's been comments at other times about this being an issue more with firstborns, because younger siblings end up exposed to this stuff by default.
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.