Aug 11, 2011

Middle School Inappropriateness?

Here's something I wonder: What makes a book inappropriate for middle school readers?

Too much sex? Too much swearing? Lots of violence?

I adore this age group because I get to read, buy and booktalk books for young sixth graders who still love MG books. And I get to read, buy and booktalk books for older eighth graders who are ready for YA stuff. For me this is a dream job, I get to read all that I love!

But what makes a book too YA for a middle school library? I tend to think too much sex does. Swearing is kind of iffy for me. A few words are ok, but too many? I am just not sure.

And violence. I tend to not be bothered by violence in books because I truly have a problem picturing too much in my mind. But, is Rot & Ruin or The Hunger Games too violent for middle school readers? I tend to think not.

What about you? If you are a middle school reader, what is too much for you? If you are a parent or teacher, what is too much for you?


  1. I feel pretty much the same way you do. For me (as an 8th grade teacher), it's when it becomes to graphicly described that it crosses over to more high school and I tend not to add it to my classroom library. But what it ultimately comes down to for me, is the individual student and what he or she is ready for - they're all different.

  2. Same feeling here. I think Hunger Games is ok (maybe not for the youngest), but books like A Song of Ice and Fire by Martin contain too much violence, sex and swearing for kids.
    But it's often hard to say. You can get some and give some piece of advice depending on the kid who's in front of you. :)

  3. Hm, I'm pretty much of the same mind as you. I also don't give books with more teen-type issues to my MG kids. Not as much because they're inappropriate (though that does factor in), but because I don't think the issues would resonate with younger readers. Something where romance is a central issue doesn't seem to interest my MG readers much.

  4. Mrs. Heise: That's a good point. Something can be talked about but not described. That makes a difference for sure.

    Lyra: I agree. A Song of Fire and Ice would be way too much for many of my readers!

    Small: That's true as well. I see a shift in a lot of my sixth grade readers as the year goes by. The ones that start out with younger books and quietly move onto something older when they are almost seventh graders. Especially romance!

  5. Anonymous4:56 PM

    As the parent of a 7th grader, I have to disagree. I just finished reading "The Hunger Games" because I found out my son's class is reading it at school. I did not find it at all appropriate for my 7th grader. While the violence is not graphic, the whole premise of the book is too mature, in my opinion.