This article -
Assigned Books Often Are a Few Sizes Too Big
By Valerie Strauss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 24, 2006; Page A10 -
speaks to one of my pet peeves which is the de-intellectualizing (is that a word?) of books or rather the forcing of books on an audience that's too young for them. Twain didn't write Tom Sawyer for children, and this article points out some other good example. I was forced to read Kafka in 11th grade, and I can assure you that I didn't relate.
Anyway, here's the comics content, which is bothersome in a different way:
"Sofi Sinozich, a seventh-grader in the Humanities and Communications Magnet Program at Eastern Middle School in Montgomery County, said she would like to be assigned books that speak to her.
In sixth-grade English, "graphic novels [were] excluded, which annoyed many of us," said Sofi, who is partial to Japanese comics called manga because she finds the style beautiful and the stories well done.
Many teachers exclude graphic novels and comics from reading lists, even though a graphic novel was nominated for the National Book Award this year. And Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has said he learned to read through comics after his schoolmaster father disregarded others who said they would lead to no good.
So should kids read Shakespeare or the comics? Graphic novels or "To Kill a Mockingbird"? Reading experts say they should read everything -- when they are ready to understand what they are reading."