When I was a little girl, I loved to go to the library with my mom. She’d go into the adult part of the library and I’d turn left, heading into the children’s section. Until one day, when I turned right and followed her into the adult section. I was probably 11 years old, maybe 12. The thing is, I thought I was 30. So, I read all kinds of books, most of which either scared me (I had a penchant for horror stories) or stumped me (I was a late bloomer). But my mother never, ever said, “Cathy, don’t read that book.”
I wonder what kind of reader I would have turned out to be if all my books had age bands, directing me to the proper category…Would my mother have felt duty-bound to say, “Cathy, don’t read that. It’s too old for you.”? Would I have skipped all those wonderful fairy tales and children’s books because I wanted to be all grown up?
I can’t say for sure. I can say for sure that age banding on children/teen books bothers me. There’s something so censorship-y about it. And a little lazy, too. I mean, are we so strapped for time that we can’t take a moment to pick up a book, thumb through and decide whether it’s a good fit or not???
You can read more about the issue at No To Age Banding. Because quite a few readers (and authors and librarians) agree with me.