Friday 1 August 2008

Authors in strong opposition to age-banding scheme

Taken from the British Fantasy Society newspage:

Fantasy writers including Philip Pullman, Terry Pratchett, Alan Garner, Darren Shan and Neil Gaiman have expressed their opposition to proposals to add age bands to the covers of books published for children in the UK. One of their many issues with the proposals is that children may reject certain books for fear of being thought babyish, while others will find books of their "correct" age-group too challenging, and be put off reading even more firmly than before.

Pratchett had this to say: "When I was a child I read books far too old for me and sometimes far too young for me. Every reading child is different. Introduce them to the love of reading, show them the way to the library and let them get on with it. The space between the young reader’s eyeballs and the printed page is a holy place and officialdom should trample all over it at their peril."

Check out the official website for further info.

Personally, I'm against this age-banding idea. I think it could lead to kids unwittingly categorising books in a negative way - "Oh, no way I'm reading that book - I'm 10 and it says 6-9 on it." This could easily lead to kids missing out on books they would have otherwise enjoyed.


Becky said...

I am against age banding as well. As an older person, I sometimes feel foolish reading books that are marked "Young Adult" - which is silly I know, so I can totally understand why a child wouldn't want to read something that was marked for a younger age group.

Mark Newton said...

Of course, what they don't say is how to tackle the fact that children's books are already age-banded on the shelf of every book chain store in the UK. I can understand the concern, and support it, but walk into any Waterstone's and books are shelved by 8-12, Young Adult etc.

At the end of the day, it's another technique to help drive sales, thinking that parents need the extra guidance...