Dr. Seuss, P.D. Eastman and Beverly Cleary were among my favorite authors when I was learning to read.
But by far my favorite series was Dan Frontier by William Hurley. Frontier was a fictional Daniel Boone-type character who hunted and trapped. The books, which were published in 1959, were exciting and engaging and actually could hold the attention of a child like me who couldn’t sit still for more than 15 seconds.
So, when it was time to teach my oldest daughter Grace to read, I purchased on eBay the entire series, which is long out of print. I figured since I enjoyed them so much as a kid, that my daughter would as well.
But one night as I read a book aloud to my then 4-year-old, I was brought up short. I didn’t like what I read.
American Indians were portrayed as thieves. In other references they were identified as sneaky and untrustworthy.
It wasn’t something I wanted my children to be taught. So, I put Dan Frontier back on the shelf and read other titles to my kids.
Censorship? Nope. It’s called parenting.
When children are older I want them to read and discuss works that use controversial language and images. Works like “Huckleberry Finn” deserve to be debated and discussed, provided historical and literary context is given.
But for youngsters just learning to read we need to…