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rowenaz's avatar

Do you think A Series of Unfortunate Events is inappropriate for a 7 year old?

Asked by rowenaz (2426 points ) November 20th, 2007

It’s too late now, because she already read them, but naturally, my family is criticizing me for letting her read them. What do you think? She loved the books, and is currently reading the Warrior series – is that inappropriate too?

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13 Answers

mirza's avatar

First of all, A Series of Unfortunate Events is classified as a children’s book so it’s obviously meant for children. It does have some dark themes but when I read it back in 3rd grade, I did not care much about the gothic theme – to me it was just an adventurous book . Personally I think it’s okay for a child to read such books. As long as your daughter likes the books, you should let her read it because hopefully if she likes this series she will continue reading more books in the future ( in a society where people are reading less and less)

sharpwriter's avatar

If a 7 year old is reading, rather than watching TV or playing video games or playing with toys…and enjoying reading enough to hammer through full series of books…then she is obviously mature for her age. So, no, based on the small
amount of info provided, I don’t believe either series is innappropriate for THIS 7 year old. .

syz's avatar

I’ve never liked the subject matter, but that’s just a personal preference.

Emilyy's avatar

I think everyone should be free to determine what’s appropriate for their own child. It’s hard to do away with norms altogether (especially when they’re imposed by loved ones whose opinion you seem to value!), but it just seems like limiting your daughter’s reading material would be cruel at this point since she already seems to take an interest to literature. In school they always had those “banned books” lists that included Tom Sawyer for racist language, etc. I think that reading those books actually provides opportunities to speak with your kids about questions that may arise, rather than just sheltering your kids by not allowing them to read them. I agree with sharpwriter; if she wants to explore the world by reading, and you’re encouraging her to do so, let her read any literature she can get her hands on!

hossman's avatar

I think it has to depend upon the 7 year old. My daughter would certainly have been able to handle that series when she was seven, but I doubt my son will be able to when he is 7, as he has difficulties separating fact from fiction and takes the written word, even fiction, literally.

hearkat's avatar

I agree that each child is different, and you as the parent know them best. Even the Little House on the Prarie series has dark subject matter because life was hard in those days. Roald Dahl books also have darker themes. Even the original Wizard of Oz story is dark.

As a young child, I read those books, in addition to reading Chas. Addams and Edward Gorey cartoons. By the time I was 12 I was reading Tolkien. If there weren’t conflict or struggle, the stories wouldn’t be interesting. Consider the original fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, they’ve been told for centuries as dark as they are.

People in our society seem inclined to dumb-down material for kids, and white-wash everything, but that does an injustice by not preparing the child to deal with adversity that is sure to come in real life. And standing up to a bully at school is far less daunting than dealing with a wicked witch that’s trying to cook you in an oven!!

susanc's avatar

Content isn’t really the issue. Exciting storytelling is the issue. Do the stories ring a bell inside these young readers? Sappy stories will bore them, or, worse, make them think sappiness is what they should aim for in their dealings with real people. I think these are worse than dull; they’re misleading and destructive. Stories that use language or concepts a bit beyond the child will intrigue her and lead her forward; those that use language and concepts that are TOO far beyond her comprehension will (again) bore her. But there’s a lot of middle ground in there.

I love what hossman said about his 2 kids’ different degrees of readiness to distinguish fantasy/poetry from the lives they’re leading. There’s a dad who’s paying attention…..

skfinkel's avatar

I also think that challenging reading is good for children. They will read what they like, and put down what they don’t. It may be that they will not understand parts that we think might upset them. This weekend, my 1 1/2 year old granddaughter (an avid reader already) didn’t like a particular picture in a book, and would not look at it—would skip the page because she didn’t want to see that particular picture—even though she read (or had us read) the book about 100 times.

When my children were young I brought in books from other cultures, sometimes that had parts that were rather terrifying—and my kids were clear about what parts they would have me read and what not. Children get to choose when they read by themselves as well. All of this is respectful of children, and much better than making things so bland that reading is pointless.

hossman's avatar

As a digressive offshoot to this topic, when the heck did broadcast TV decide they could put raunchy or frightening commercials in prime time? I have no problem with a cable channel doing so, as I can make the decision not to have cable. I can decide (and for many years I have done so) not to have broadcast TV at home, but sometimes you are out in public, a TV is on, and at only 4 or 5 in the afternoon, their is content my little guy is exposed to that no network would have put on at 9 p.m. when I was a kid.

It’s not that I’m a prude, but I wish they’d keep in mind that at such hours, children might be inadvertently exposed to entirely inappropriate material. Perhaps the people that make such decisions should have to come over and clean up when our little ones wet the bed after reliving that slasher flick trailer later that night.

And if one more young lady decides to share her feminine hygiene issues or details of her rutting on her cellphone while my kids and I are trying to eat, I’m gonna stop being Mr. Nice Guy.

rowenaz's avatar

Believe it or not – we have no cable and not a single channel on our tv. We’ve been unhooked for almost 8 years, but we do have a vcr/dvd player, which allows us to take things out of the library to watch. This is why she reads so much. Thank you for all your sound answers. If she were upset about it, she would talk to me more and not be interested in reading. If she didn’t comprehend it, she would have lost interest in it as well.

Swair's avatar

Reading’s amazing in general for a 7 year old.. & the “Series of Unfortunate Events” is great! Amazing job, keep it up :D

rowenaz's avatar

Thanks!

zahava85's avatar

Your daughter sounds a lot like me when I was that age! You couldn’t keep me away from books if you tried.. I read under the covers at night and went through my mom’s library books when she wasn’t looking! I’m sure I picked up several books that were way beyond my reading level/maturity level, but the great thing is that things just went right over my head. I think it’s great your daughter loves to read.. and maybe there will be a perfect SAT verbal in her future too!

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