Having been an avid reader all my life, I’m not sure I agree. There might be inappropriate stuff out there, but it won’t appeal to most younger kids. And the more mature ones should be able to read it.
As an aside, I remember reading Gone with the Wind in 4th or 5th grade. Everyone was rooting on me as I carried that 1,000 plus page book back and forth for almost 2 weeks. Some people might have considered it inappropriate for grammar school, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I remember asking my mom about the word “bosom”, it was not a word I’d seen before (not bandied about much in 5th grade in the late 60’s) and I had no idea how to pronounce it. She got a kick out of my attempt to pronounce it!
The teacher asked me to give the class a synopsis of the book to the class when I was done. It was years later before I saw the movie on a theatrical re-release. It hadn’t made it to TV and there were no VCRs at the time.
Have you read de Sade?
Most people with your point of view are intellectually lazy. If shown actual examples of extreme “literature” they will agree that that particular item is inappropriate, but like to think of themselves as brave campaigners against censorship, so they make the same claim you do.
I’m not accusing you of this, as I assume your argument is sincere. But you need to be aware that it assumes there is not one single book out there that is inappropriate for a fourth-grader to read. Doi you really believe this?
I am also a lifelong reader. I’ve probably read somewhere around 10k books. A good few of them were not appropriate for a fourth-grader.
Would you approve of running hard-core porn on network TV at 7 pm? If not, why not? Most young children wouldn’t be interested, and the more mature ones would be able to handle it.