Monday, December 11, 2006

discovering my inner censor, or, disjointed ramblings at 6 a.m.

I was just browsing MotherReader's suggestions for funny books for different ages (and thanks for facing your fears and doing that meme, MR!) and it reminded me of a post I recently read on a mailing list for parents homeschooling autistic children. The post was about how difficult it is to find good chapter books for autistic kids, because so much of the humor in them is based on "misbehavior." Having just tried exposing my son to a bit of history via Martin's Big Words and having had him take away from it that he's glad he's a white person, I see the problem. Even neurotypical kids don't always get what we expect them to get from books. But the issue is magnified with an autistic child, because they often have trouble understanding different social rules for different contexts. I have always been leery of books about "naughty" children for my son, much though I might enjoy them myself.

The other day, my son found a copy of Michael Rosen's Sad Book, which I had been contemplating reviewing, and asked me to read it to him. This is a book I had already decided had some merit, after all, but I just. could. not. "I don't think you'd like it; it's a really, really sad book," I weakly explained. He started to read it to himself, while I managed not to snatch it away, and quickly gave it up, to my immense relief. This is a kid who got anxiety attacks from watching the bad dream episode of "Blue's Clues"... does he really have to know at this young age that sometimes children die?

I still couldn't make myself take it away from him. Somehow that would have set just too ugly a precedent. There are books I probably would take, though.

Book reviewing vs. mom reviewing. It's a whole new ballgame.