Stacy Mozer: Full of Crap

From: It’s All About the Journey
http://www.stacybarnettmozer.com/2012/06/full-of-crap.html
June 26, 2012 at 09:38PM

I recently had an interesting conversation with my third graders about the use of bad words in books. And by bad words, I’m not talking about the traditional curse words. They objected to words like crap, hell, and damn. The problem, they said, was that these are words that they are not allowed to say in front of their parents and they often read books to their parents.

What would they rather the characters say? Here are some of their suggestions:
– fudge muffins
– poop on a stick
– peacock
– fiddlesticks
– Go eat pie.
Darn it seemed to be okay as well.
What do you think of the use of bad words in middle grade books? Do you have any other substitution suggestions?
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Posted on June 26, 2012, in Stacy Mozer and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Hmm, hadn’t really considered the read-aloud problem. Still, though, I think I have a high tolerance for cussing in MG. I guess it’s because the MC in my WIP is in 8th grade. There’s really not much in my first MS, with a 5th grade MC. Maybe some craps and a Jesus Christ from a grandpa. I’m surprised about your students’ thoughts on crap. Thanks for sharing!

  2. When my daughter was around seven or eight, she dropped an f-bomb in her grandmother’s presence. My mother, a school librarian, asked her if she knew what the word meant. My daughter wasn’t sure. So my mother quietly ushered her to the corner of the dining room, where my parents kept their Webster’s Unabridged on its own little table, like a bible, and helped her look it up.

    I’m not sure how that relates to your question, exactly, but nearly 20 years later, the moment has become the stuff of family legend.

  3. Experiencing words kids are hearing anyway, but right there with a parent during a read-aloud, is a pretty good set-up, now that I think about it (Ruth’s comment made me think of it that way). I’d rather my kid encounter bad words when we can talk about context, as opposed to when some little jerk tells him to shut his rotting pie hole on the playground. That’s a “sub” I like, by the way. Shut your rotting pie hole.

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