A poll, quite surprisingly, from the Sunday Times.
The poll came as a general question after this article was published, describing a head teacher (note: a middle-aged, white, presumably heterosexual, upper class male) who is banning 'low quality' books in his school including the Twilight series, the Percy Jackson series, and the Skullduggery Pleasant series. He called them, and many others, “so simplistic, brutal or banal”.
This, as you could probably guess, rustled my jimmies to perhaps a new height in the stratosphere to which my jimmies have never reached before. I am a HUGE advocate for letting children, especially young children in primary school, read whatever the hell they want. As long as they are reading, this should be enough.
Of course, you could argue that this just wouldn't work. Young children definitely need some level of guidance on the books that they can read during school hours. But, there is a more compelling argument that as long as they are reading books that match or begin to excel their individual reading age, then the genre really doesn't matter. In fact, allowing them to explore more contemporary books and giving them this free choice will encourage them to read more enthusiastically on school grounds and at home.
There was another series of books that this very privileged man has decided to ban from the school premises, and those are... you've guessed it... Girl Online by Zoella.
Zoella gets so much criticism from the traditional media outlets about her books. No matter what your opinion is on the current surge in books by Youtube content creators, the facts still stand: Zoella has completely smashed the sales records for books (beating JK Rowling and EL James in the process) which means that she sold more of her books in the first week of release than any other book every written since records begin in the 1980's.
What can we conclude from this information? That more young people are taking an active interest in reading than ever before. They are taking initiative and asking parents to buy them a book that is appropriate for their age range, or saving up their own pocket money and buying the books themselves. THIS IS WHAT I CALL A RESULT!
And would you seriously rather more Fifty Shades of Grey books get sold than wholesome and funny books like Girl Online?
At the end of the day, school libraries do have a responsibility to supply books that will not cause psychological harm to students or prevent them from developing their reading skills further. But this is a primary school we are talking about. Let the kids read their fantasy books about pirates and vampires and keep their imagination burning. After all, we need more budding authors for the future.
Zoella will not harm your students. Letting your personal taste about what is 'high quality' and 'low quality' literature will.