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Reading to kids, do you edit?Follow

#1 Jan 23 2013 at 8:57 AM Rating: Excellent
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So Hannah reads on her own, but I also read her a chapter of a book each night at bed time. Recently, it's been The Chronicles of Narnia. There are some anachronisms of language in the books, both with the UK specific terms and out of date cultural references. I usually read these verbatim then pause and explain "torch" means "flashlight" or "he's a brick" means "he's cool" or whatever. There's a little thinly veiled anti-Arab sentiment in the Horse and His Boy, but nothing overwhelming so I just read that verbatim and answered questions too.

The Last Battle, though, which we're currently reading, get's a little dicier. Since it's probably been a while since you've read, I'll sum up quickly. An ape tricks a donkey into wearing a lion skin and pretending to be Aslan. Using this device he joins forces with the dark skinned bad guys, the Calmorenes. Which isn't really a big deal, in and of itself, but some of the text which was probably fine in 1952 and bothered few readers is a little jarring today. There are literally exchanges where the Narnians taunt the Calmorenes by shouting "Come on, Darkie, show us what you've got" and the like. I find myself editing this to "Come on you guys", but then feel a little silly. She'll read it on her own, and there's no change I'm going to ban the book from her room or anything.

What would you do?
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#2 Jan 23 2013 at 9:02 AM Rating: Excellent
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You should switch to robinson crusoe. Much more culturally subtile writing in that one!
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#3 Jan 23 2013 at 9:05 AM Rating: Excellent
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You should switch to robinson crusoe. Much more culturally subtile writing in that one!

We read Huck Finn, and I changed Huck to a black kid who hangs out with "Cracker Jim"
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#4 Jan 23 2013 at 9:05 AM Rating: Good
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So far I've been lucky in that there doesn't need much editing in Dr. Suess. Eventually I'll probably find a line I won't cross, but at the moment I'm not sure where it is.
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#5 Jan 23 2013 at 9:10 AM Rating: Good
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Depends which Dr. Suess books you read, really...

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/03/02/dr-seuss-seven-lady-godivas/
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#6 Jan 23 2013 at 9:10 AM Rating: Good
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I don't have any kids, but I would read the story as is and explain what the different words/meaning are and why we don't use them anymore. Not only would they learn about the past, they won't get confused/mocked in school when they try to talk about the edited version of the story.
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#7 Jan 23 2013 at 9:16 AM Rating: Good
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Smasharoo wrote:


You should put a NSFW on that, sort of like this one.
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#8 Jan 23 2013 at 9:18 AM Rating: Excellent
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I don't have any kids, but I would read the story as is and explain what the different words/meaning are and why we don't use them anymore. Not only would they learn about the past, they won't get confused/mocked in school when they try to talk about the edited version of the story.

What's the new word that currently used to insult dark skinned people trying to invade the fair skinned North?

Also, if she gets teased because she doesn't mention "the darkies" from the Narnia books, I think I'm probably ok with that.
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#9 Jan 23 2013 at 9:20 AM Rating: Decent
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You should put a NSFW on that, sort of like this one.

Yeah, I don't do that, sorry.
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To make a long story short, I don't take any responsibility for anything I post here. It's not news, it's not truth, it's not serious. It's parody. It's satire. It's bitter. It's angsty. Your mother's a whore. You like to jack off dogs. That's right, you heard me. You like to grab that dog by the bone and rub it like a ski pole. Your dad? Gay. Your priest? Straight. **** off and let me post. It's not true, it's all in good fun. Now go away.

#10 Jan 23 2013 at 9:20 AM Rating: Good
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Doesn't seem that unsafe.
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#11 Jan 23 2013 at 9:24 AM Rating: Decent
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Stop reading books about furries...

Honestly though if she's reading on her own she's probably old enough for you to read it verbatim and explain the racist concepts and why they aren't acceptable/would have been put in the book. She's going to run into these concepts at school, better that she understands what is/isn't acceptable, and why, when she does. Of course, bed time, while reading a chapter of the book, may not be the most convenient time for that.

Expose and educate, unless it's mustard gas...or bed time.
#12 Jan 23 2013 at 9:30 AM Rating: Excellent
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Honestly though if she's reading on her own she's probably old enough for you to read it verbatim and explain the racist concepts and why they aren't acceptable/would have been put in the book. She's going to run into these concepts at school, better that she understands what is/isn't acceptable, and why, when she does. Of course, bed time, while reading a chapter of the book, may not be the most convenient time for that.


That's pretty much where I am. We always try to answer her honestly and explain things, but I don't really want to get into a discussion about race and the evolution of language over the last half century while she's falling asleep.

I do point out frequently that CS Lewis was closeted **** racist and tell her that all Christians are that way, of course. I mean there's always time for SOME lessons.
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Disclaimer:

To make a long story short, I don't take any responsibility for anything I post here. It's not news, it's not truth, it's not serious. It's parody. It's satire. It's bitter. It's angsty. Your mother's a whore. You like to jack off dogs. That's right, you heard me. You like to grab that dog by the bone and rub it like a ski pole. Your dad? Gay. Your priest? Straight. **** off and let me post. It's not true, it's all in good fun. Now go away.

#13 Jan 23 2013 at 9:36 AM Rating: Good
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Smasharoo wrote:


What would you do?
I'd read it verbatim. I'd probably not mention it further unless it seemed to be causing some confusion or concern on the kids part.









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#14 Jan 23 2013 at 9:39 AM Rating: Excellent
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lolgaxe wrote:
So far I've been lucky in that there doesn't need much editing in Dr. Seuss. Eventually I'll probably find a line I won't cross, but at the moment I'm not sure where it is.


Something like that, Horton Hears a Who isn't ringing alarm bells yet. Most things just sail right over her head so I don't address things unless she asks. She's not shy about asking, but even then it can be difficult to frame a response in a way she'll understand. The wife's solution is to not sugar coat anything and just tell it as it is. It usually involves using really big words that our daughter doesn't understand yet. My daughter will shoot back a puzzled and annoyed look and then go about her life like nothing happened.

Books aren't nearly as bad as movies though, and video games for that matter. Smiley: rolleyes

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#15 Jan 23 2013 at 9:42 AM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
So far I've been lucky in that there doesn't need much editing in Dr. Suess. Eventually I'll probably find a line I won't cross, but at the moment I'm not sure where it is.

The Lorax apparently has a line. It was pointed out to me when I chose to read the story to my daughter's 2nd grade class.
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#16 Jan 23 2013 at 9:45 AM Rating: Excellent
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Narnia? You wuss. Read her some classic Kipling stories.
How The Leopard Got His Spots wrote:
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'Oh, plain black's best for a nigger,' said the Ethiopian. 'Now come along and we'll see if we can't get even with Mr. One-Two-Three-Where's-your-Breakfast!'

So they went away and lived happily ever afterward, Best Beloved. That is all.

I think I just skipped that tale entirely since the thrust of it is that Ethiopians used to be a yellowish-brown color until they turned themselves black so they could better hunt in the jungles.
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#17 Jan 23 2013 at 9:46 AM Rating: Good
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I'd read it verbatim. I'd probably not mention it further unless it seemed to be causing some confusion or concern on the kids part.

Meh..I'm of that mindset, too. I don't really care if she runs around yelling "Come on darkies!" when she's playing around the house. When she's playing with her friends at school, I think it could put her in an awkward position. We have an understanding that language is a tool and there are no "bad words" if she wants to say "fuck" when it's just the two of us driving in the car, that's fine. Obviously it's not going to go over well at school, and we explain that. There haven't been any issues. The thing is in this particular context, it's easier to just edit a non story related word of phrase that will go from "hey 'darkies' is one of those words other people might get upset about if we say it, ok?" to:

"Why?"
"Because it can be mean to people with dark skin"
"Why is it mean? They do have dark skin"
"Well, would you like it I called you Lighty?"
"Yes!"
"Ok that's a bad example"
"So it's a bad word?"
"Yes, it's one of those"
"Why do the Narnians say it?"
"They're angry at the Calmorenes"
"So I can say it if I'm angry?"
"You can say it if Calmorenes invade our town and capture the talking animals"
"Hey, it's midnight."


Edited, Jan 23rd 2013 10:47am by Smasharoo
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To make a long story short, I don't take any responsibility for anything I post here. It's not news, it's not truth, it's not serious. It's parody. It's satire. It's bitter. It's angsty. Your mother's a whore. You like to jack off dogs. That's right, you heard me. You like to grab that dog by the bone and rub it like a ski pole. Your dad? Gay. Your priest? Straight. **** off and let me post. It's not true, it's all in good fun. Now go away.

#18 Jan 23 2013 at 10:30 AM Rating: Decent
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Smasharoo wrote:

I do point out frequently that CS Lewis was closeted **** racist and tell her that all Christians are that way, of course. I mean there's always time for SOME lessons.


This is beautiful.

I would censor some things if I didn't want to waste a huge amount of time explaining them before they go to bed. I hardly think she'll be damaged by not hearing an entire C.S. Lewis book.
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#19 Jan 23 2013 at 11:05 AM Rating: Decent
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I don't recall having to censor Corduroy or Frog and Toad, though I did have to explain that the hip-hop lingo in Shark Tale was the speech of thugs and ghetto trash.
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#20 Jan 23 2013 at 11:34 AM Rating: Good
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Debalic wrote:
I don't recall having to censor Corduroy or Frog and Toad, though I did have to explain that the hip-hop lingo in Shark Tale was the speech of thugs and ghetto trash.
I had to do that, too, and the response I got was "That's stupid."
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#21 Jan 23 2013 at 1:42 PM Rating: Good
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My mum read to me uncensored, then she bought me a bazillion books and let me at em, plus ALL the adult books in her rather large bookshelves. By the time I was 7 I knew a lot of very correct and exact latin words. By the time I was 9 I spoke fluent 18th and 19th century English.

All through school other kids all looked at me funny, and refused to talk to me until I'd hit 15 and I'd learned not to say anything... just reflect back.

There may have been some other things going wrong there. Still. It might be wise to tell your 5 year old that the other kids in Grade one may only understand contemporary English. Say, words that only appear in the cannon of the past decade.

Edited, Jan 23rd 2013 2:49pm by Aripyanfar
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#22 Jan 23 2013 at 4:26 PM Rating: Good
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After finishing the Narnia series, make sure to seek out Neil Gaimans "The Problem of Susan" to put a nice happy ending on the whole series. Or traumatize your daughter.
#23 Jan 23 2013 at 4:52 PM Rating: Decent
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Neil Gaiman wrote a follow up to the Narnia series? About susan? this I gotta see
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#24 Jan 23 2013 at 4:56 PM Rating: Good
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She's probably old enough for the old kingdom series.
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#25 Jan 23 2013 at 4:59 PM Rating: Good
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Rhett reads on his own too... too much sometimes to the point that he is catching some of the things I wish he wouldn't. He also looks up songs on youtube with questionable lyrics. (especially for a three year and a half year old)

When I read to him I change the story around if he knows it...its fun to frustrate him with plot twists. I have invented a dozen endings for the lorax....
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#26 Jan 23 2013 at 9:06 PM Rating: Excellent
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Quote:
"You can say it if Calmorenes invade our town and capture the talking animals"


This is almost exactly what my mom would have told me.

If you're editing I think you should at least tell her you are. Not necessarily at bedtime, of course. Just say you're editing for modern usage and to make the story more pleasant for a bedtime story, and she can read it on her own when she's ready.
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#27 Jan 23 2013 at 10:30 PM Rating: Decent
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Hannah is goddamned fucking adorable. She's one of only a few kids I've observed (via Nexa's stories) that make me believe I'd actually want to have kids some day. That said, I would take the uncensored route. She's going to learn the sentiment going through life, it's better with you two explaining the reasoning behind it to prep her for encountering things like this outside your home.
#28 Jan 24 2013 at 12:20 AM Rating: Good
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Give everyone stupid names.
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#29 Jan 24 2013 at 3:40 AM Rating: Decent
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After finishing the Narnia series, make sure to seek out Neil Gaimans "The Problem of Susan" to put a nice happy ending on the whole series. Or traumatize your daughter.

It's odd, because it's one of the few Gaiman short stories/novels neither of us has read. I'm sure we will at some point. Hannah wants to read the His Dark Materials series next, so we'll probably do that.
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To make a long story short, I don't take any responsibility for anything I post here. It's not news, it's not truth, it's not serious. It's parody. It's satire. It's bitter. It's angsty. Your mother's a whore. You like to jack off dogs. That's right, you heard me. You like to grab that dog by the bone and rub it like a ski pole. Your dad? Gay. Your priest? Straight. **** off and let me post. It's not true, it's all in good fun. Now go away.

#30 Jan 24 2013 at 8:14 AM Rating: Good
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Just read her 50 Shades of Grey. I hear that's a good yarn.
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#31 Jan 24 2013 at 1:33 PM Rating: Decent
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This thread is just adorable. Smasharoo, you really are a regular cutie and a good father to be so worried and concerned and you have a bright little girl there.

I've been concerned about similar since becoming an Aunt and I think I would take a similar line as Smasharoo.
#32 Jan 24 2013 at 3:35 PM Rating: Good
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SayingHi wrote:
This thread is just adorable. Smasharoo, you really are a regular cutie ...


Am I the only one with an image of Smash sputtering and head-spinning trying to figure out how to respond to this?
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#33 Jan 24 2013 at 3:37 PM Rating: Excellent
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Probably. I picture him just saying "Hellz yeah I am pimp..."
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#34 Jan 24 2013 at 4:49 PM Rating: Decent
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Probably. I picture him just saying "Hellz yeah I am pimp..."

Every night as she falls gently asleep to the sound of my voice I shout "Fuck yeah. Nailed it!" Then wake her up for a chest bump.
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To make a long story short, I don't take any responsibility for anything I post here. It's not news, it's not truth, it's not serious. It's parody. It's satire. It's bitter. It's angsty. Your mother's a whore. You like to jack off dogs. That's right, you heard me. You like to grab that dog by the bone and rub it like a ski pole. Your dad? Gay. Your priest? Straight. **** off and let me post. It's not true, it's all in good fun. Now go away.

#35 Jan 24 2013 at 5:16 PM Rating: Excellent
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Dump a cooler of Gatorade into her bed.
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#36 Jan 25 2013 at 6:06 AM Rating: Good
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Smash would be the Coach in that scenario though. So Hannah would have to dump the Gatorade on him after he woke her up for the chest bump.

It'd be both celebratory, and a **** you, I was asleep".
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#37 Jan 25 2013 at 9:03 AM Rating: Good
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Forget the gatorade. Flip a car and set it on fire. THAT is how you celebrate.
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#38 Jan 25 2013 at 5:34 PM Rating: Good
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When Dracoid was ickle I always adapted my reading to make sure things were relevant to his formative mind. I found it useful to emphasise the central Marxist tenets of The Hungry Caterpillar in case they were too subtle in the original text.
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