OK, sometimes other buzz words are used.
But basically, some parents believe that any book ever published should be written in a way that is OK for their child to read. Whatever the age, interests, etc. of that child are
This belief is especially true when the child is reading "above grade level;" any book written "above grade level" should be appropriate for their child.
Which is where we get the angry parents of an 8 year old who cannot believe what is found in a book for a 14 year old. Because, over and over, some parents seem to equate any type of grade level of books with being only about the vocabulary; sentence structure; the page length; rather than the content. And then are shocked and appalled at the fact that an age/grade recommendation also takes into account both what the book is about and the reader's maturity.
Alex Flinn has a must-read post about this. She links to an Amazon review that is also a must read so click through; I wanted to laugh because basically, it's the mother of a 4th grader (advanced reader of course!) whose child read a book for ages 12 and up and was shocked by the content and is rather angry that now she has to closely examine the books her son reads and the author should have geared the book towards a more mature audience.
First, I think everyone agrees; the book in question wasn't right for younger readers. But I cannot get over the mindset that it should be. And that somehow, she missed that the author did indeed gear the book towards a more mature audience, to use her phrase.
Second, it's a bit sad that the people getting books for this child didn't look further at the books being bought and ask questions of knowledgeable teachers, booksellers and librarians. Because if your child is truly reading that far above grade level, yes, you either have to closely look at what books your kid reads (something that this mother finds unacceptable) or speak to people who know more about the books and already took a closer look.
Anyway, what I also liked about Alex's post is she also addresses that wonder of how all kids seem to be above grade level and about how different kids start reading at different ages so why all the pressure to be reading HP at 4?
Edited to add: Christine raises a good point. What about the situation where it is the book being read in school? Now, we're not talking book banning and the like; we're talking the teacher having the "but they are so advanced" attitude so is using book(s) that are "too old" for the students.
Edited to correct Alex Flinn's name. This is what happens when you try to move and blog at the same time.