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Letter to the Editor: What should young people be reading?

To the editor:

Upon learning of some books deemed inappropriate for student reading, I was curious. Thanks to Cherry Street Books, it was easy to find the questionable titles. Reading one of them took me all the way through my reading life.

On one particular day as a North Dakota first grader, I read a story about Dick and Jane and Baby Sally and their trip to the seashore. There, I learned about water so big that an opposite shore was not to be seen. In that very moment, I understood what reading was for.

As time passed, I would find myself in some very "Far Pavilions." A nice grandmother had Forever Amber on her shelf. The controversial Peyton Place was surreptitiously circulating in the teen girl world. Perhaps the worst reading shock was Uncle Tom's Cabin. Sadly, in my world, conversation about reading choices often went begging, but still, we went reading! And yes, there were naughty words to read, but they had already been heard.

If we teach our young to read, what can we do? Are we going to allow them to read the Bible? Is the Tamar drama of teen obsession worthy of teen attention? And what should we make of Potiphar's wife, a player in the Bible and the Koran? Should we drop the Iliad, and what on Earth was that about anyway? Even stories in the Echo Press can be less than edifying and believe me, some dreadful ones have been very open in our community for teen consumption.

Reading Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda became for me a dedication to a particular skittish classmate of long ago. Hopefully, life has graced him with the love and partnership that any of us would have. I wish I had known and better understood in our day.

Judith S. Rose

Alexandria, MN

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