Acceptable Reading Material

The Cabinet of Curiosities: 40 Tales Brief & Sinister, Stefan Bachmann, Katherine Catmull, Claire Legrand, Emma Trevayne
The Cabinet of Curiosities

The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne CollinsA while back on Facebook, I mentioned that on the recommendation of my ten-year-old granddaughter, I was reading The Cabinet of Curiosities. I made a connection to Different Drummer stories, except for children. Then she read all three volumes of The Hunger Gameswhich, frankly, seem a bit horrific to me, not to mention advanced. Upon finishing, her comment was, “That was sad.” No nightmares or anxieties or other negative effects are apparent. Maybe her reaction is testimony to the fascination children have always had for (fictional) horror, as evidenced by the longevity of fairytales in their original (as opposed to Disney) versions.

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs Now she is reading Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. Now, as general background, I would say that my granddaughter is very smart, and a very advanced reader, and her parents are both very intelligent and somewhat unconventional. But she’s ten-and-a-half. And I wonder how the world is changing. As I recall, at about that age, I was reading the Ruth Fielding adventure series. I find this book a real page-turner, but it includes sentences like, “‘Do I look like I blow truckers for food stamps?’ Ricky was a connoisseur of your-mom jokes, but this was apparently more than he could take.” And it includes issues of mental illness (paranoia, etc.)


Ruth Fielding On the Red Mill My take-away is that children and families are different, and that what is acceptable reading material varies widely. And most importantly, adults with children or grandchildren who read need to dip into their reading worlds. And be prepared to set limits, encourage, and discuss as needed.

What are your thoughts and experiences?

Writing Prompt: Unexpected Turn

Sometimes a story starts one way and then takes an unexpected turn–sort of like thinking it might be nice to visit Rhode Island and suddenly realizing you’re headed for the Bahamas. So today’s challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to revisit your story about hyperbaric therapy and turn it in a different direction. If it was successful, make it a disaster. Loaded with fear? Make it excitement. Or humor!

ALTERNATIVELY: write about hyperbaric therapy that goes terribly wrong. Of course it could be medical malfeasance or incompetence, but think more broadly: natural disaster, act of God, equipment failure. And what about suicide, assisted or otherwise? Or perhaps murder. Possibly some combination of the above?

To do either of these stories, you must get the details right. For example, a typical pressure is 2.0 pounds per square inch. That is equivalent to being 33 feet under the ocean’s surface. Details like that might mean something to deep-sea-diving readers. Know the benefits and risks of this treatment. Know what would be possible. And remember to bury your research by making it part of plot, dialogue, setting, and action.

And FYI, here’s a picture of a hyperbaric chamber after a treatment.

Writing prompt, hyperbaric therapy, unexpected turn