Yet, one of our leading book distributors has this on their recommended list for 14 year olds, and proclaims it to be "a funny and honest book" (Campbell). If publishers and distributors will not take responsibility for the content of their product, then we need to monitor our childrens books, and censor those with the most violent and offensive content.
Widespread censorship and wholesale book banning may not seem to be a practical solution in the complex world that we live in. Filtering out books that have offensive messages may be a never ending task for which there is no end. However, we can ban a book from our libraries and public schools when common sense tells us it runs afoul of accepted sensibilities. The Supreme Court may guarantee freedom of speech, but it does not grant an audience and it does not guarantee a space in a public school classroom. We regulate movies based on content, provide ample warning on the packaging, and restrict access to them based on age. Censorship goes beyond the simple act of forbidding production, it resides in the gray area of proper labeling and age appropriate access.
Viewing material that is inappropriate for a young mind can have a profound and lasting impression on a child. As more violent and offensive material becomes available in our public schools and libraries, it filters down to younger children. A childs imagination will act out and emulate the characters they read about with the assumption it is fact and therefore acceptable. Left unchecked, violence and horror can have a severe psychological effect on children younger than 8 years old. The belief that children can tell the difference between reality and fiction at this age does not prove to be the case when subjected to scientific scrutiny. According to the University of Wisconsins Joanne Cantor, "Its especially ineffective to try to calm children in this age group by telling them that what they have seen