Just say no to gender censorship

20th October 1995 at 01:00
P Brown (Letters, TES, October 6) considers that Laurie Lee's Cider with Rosie is an inappropriate text for under-14s, and that it is only suitable for boys.

Lord forbid that this wonderfully evocative autobiography of childhood, beloved of so many, should be denied to those in key stage 3 simply because it contains scenes deemed inappropriate by your reader. Yes, it includes a "planned rape". Any sensitive teacher would discuss the moral implications of such a scene with readers. If it is "dated", surely one aim of a literary education is to place texts within their historical contexts?

As for the book being unsuitable for girls, how sad that in these enlightened times we are asked to practise censorship on grounds of gender interest. By the same token, would your reader consider The Diary of Anne Frank to be of no interest to boys? I say "long live wide reading, and let the reader be allowed to decide what is relevant to the age".

FIONA McFADDEN 43 Lon Groes, Llanllechid Bethesda Gwynedd Wales

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