Springfield parents create online book club for controversial titles

Published: Feb. 2, 2018 at 9:36 PM CST
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As many parents wonder what types of books are appropriate for their children to read in school, a pair of them decided the best way to answer that question is to be ahead of the game.

Megan Cook and Marissa Griffin created a Facebook group called “The Books We Hate,” a play on “The Hate U Give,” which is the title of a book that was pulled from Reed Middle School eighth graders after parents say they weren’t warned about its adult themes.

But Cook and Griffin believe that the best strategy of understanding what their kids are reading is to go ahead and read it, too.

“It would be better to sit down and read with your kids or even on your own with other parents and have an adult discussion about the content of the book,” Cook said.

The group will read one controversial book every month. First up is The Hate U Give, but others under consideration are The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Handmaid’s Tale, and My Sister’s Keeper.

All three of those books faced bans in school systems for their content.

“I don't think any book should be banned in any capacity,” Cook said. “I think there's a lesson to be learned and a message you can take from every piece of literature.”

She sympathizes with parents who worry about themes like sex, drugs and racism in their children’s literature, but believes that fiction can be a good way to introduce those subjects.

“All that's terrifying to a parent, but I think what it comes down to is how the narrator or the storyteller chooses to have their character deal with those situations,” she said. “It could be a learning opportunity, and it's certainly a learning opportunity for parents to sit down with their child and read a book and take an active part in their education.”

The group was formed on Thursday. Cook said she only expected a small handful, but within 24 hours 50 people signed up.