03/03/2009

Children's Books Banned


There are two kinds of book lovers in this world;

· There is the uncluttered soul that reads a book, enjoys it, or not, then passes in on to someone else, quickly so they don’t pile up..

· The other kind of reader, and I place our whole family in this category, hordes books like gold and only trims the library down when it has become completely unmanageable.

We have recently been through a book purge although at this point only half of the discarded books have found their way into boxes and none of them have actually left the house.

As well as the novels, poetry collections, short stories, classics and text books there are hundreds of children’s books. Old children’s books.

So, what to do with them? Up until recently I think we thought we’d just hold on to them and pass then on to our future grand children, when they come along. Little did we know what a harmful idea that was.

I try to keep up with current issues but I must have missed this story, which may shift our thinking about what we do with those old books.

As of February 10th the American Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act which imposes strict limits on the amount of lead permitted in anything intended for use by children aged 12 or younger, came into effect. Who knew but, I guess there was lead in the ink in the bad old days. Anyone who tries to sell, give or lend old books to kids containing lead may be in serious trouble. By serious trouble they mean subject to $100,000 fines and prison time, regardless of whether any child is harmed. In fact, in the USA, you would be at risk for giving a child any book published before 1984.

How many books would a, 11 year old have to scarf down before coming to harm one has to ask? Are books worse for kids than a Big Mac with cheese?

So what do with the damn things? You can’t burn them. You can’t bury them. And you can’t give them away.

So will Stephen Harper follow suit? He just might you know. He has the look of a book banner, doesn’t he?

Stay tuned but in the meantime, don’t snack on any old tomes, no matter how tasty they might seem.


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