The “Gossip Girl” panel on Friday afternoon at the Beverly Hilton got a
little surly when television critics asked the executive producers to
justify the underaged drinking and (attempted) date-raping in its pilot.
I love that they got pissy. And how do they defend it?
After the morality question was asked in several different ways,
Schwartz said, “I don’t want to be hitting the same point, but I do
feel as if we’re not presenting this as a perfect world.” He added, “As
long as we continue to portray this world responsibly but
realistically, we think the show should have a teen-aged audience.”
As a librarian, I am very used to defending books in the face of critical parents. The answer is that this book (or show) may not be right for your family and may not reflect your family’s morals. And it is your right, as always, not to read/view it. But it is not your right to stop others from doing that.
That is even more true for a TV show based on a series of books for teens that has garnered a lot of real criticism for the world they portray. Hasn’t everyone been warned enough about this? And frankly, the plot lines don’t seem that very different from so many other teen series on TV in the last few decades. Beverly Hills 90210 anyone?
Heat Wave by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Betsy Lewin.
A heat wave hit Lumberville and day after day the town’s residents swelter, finding different ways to try to stay cool. Set in a small town in the early to mid 20th century, no one huddles by their air conditioner. Instead readers get to see more creative solutions like cooking in the basement, taking long cool baths, and not sleeping indoors. I enjoyed how many of the solutions build community closeness rather than in today where we all go into our homes and shut ourselves in.
This is a great summery book to share with kindergarteners and early elementary age children. The illustrations are friendly and funny with small touches like the policeman bathing with his hat still on. The text is wonderful, filled with everyone’s exact name, it is like visiting a small town in person.
So pour some cold lemonade, sit out on your porch, and share this. It will be just as nice in an air conditioned school or library where you can talk about the differences between the way we stay cool today and how they do in the book. In schools without air conditioned classrooms, this just may inspire some creative ways for the class to feel cooler.
Now that Harry Potter fans have their hot hands on the latest book and the excitement is still tangible in the air, what should they read next? NPR has a nice piece on exactly this where two children’s lit experts offer their lists of likely hits with the Potter crowd. It does my heart good to see so many great fantasy series listed. I was going to list my favorites included on the lists, but my list got far too long. Let’s just say that any reader whether they are a Harry Potter fan or not can’t go wrong with the books here.
Oh yes, I did spend a blissful weekend devouring the new Harry Potter. I am not commenting here because people have to really read it for themselves and I don’t want any spoilers. Feel free to add comments about your own favorite after-Harry reads, but I won’t publish any comments with spoilers.