We can all agree that Judy Blume is the basically the wisest scribe in all of contemporary literature, but if some of you still are still in disagreement, this latest interview in which she explains why banning kids from reading certain books makes zero sense should sway you.
Blume recently witnessed the first-ever film adaptation of one of her novels, and though her interview with CBC touched a little bit on why she hasn’t had more of her books turned into movies when it seems like forty-seven new Twilight movies were released over the last 18 months, things don’t start to get really interesting until she talks about book censorship. The short version? Preventing kids from reading is pretty much the stupidest thing adults can do because, get this, kids learn stuff from books. Sometimes, they learn stuff that even conscientious parents are wary of teaching them, like masturbation.
Relating a recent conversation she had with her friend about why that friend didn’t want her son to read a book like The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie, Blume laid out a concise case for letting kids test their own limits when it comes to reading:
And, actually, Joan says she didn’t really want to challenge the book and have it removed [from the school’s summer reading list], she just didn’t want her child to read it...and her reasoning was, and she has every right to say what she wants to say, … “I wanted to tell my son about masturbation myself.”
And my question to her is: Fine, when? When are you going to tell him? What are you waiting for? Parents will say, “I’m waiting for the right time,” and their children will get to be 12 and 13, and they [the parents] will never bring it up. It’s a tough subject to bring up and it’s one maybe that’s best handled by handing your child a book.
See, censorious parents? Books can actually help you avoid having incredibly awkward sex talks with your resentful middle-schooler. Just hand that kid Deenie and wait for the questions to come to you — it’s far less difficult than discovering porn on your kid’s computer and then saying, “Uh, derp derp — I found all this gross porn on the computer. You know, every time you masturbate, you kill a baby hedgehog, you hedgehog murderer.”
Image via Getty, Evan Agostini