Vampires and werewolves are no unknown mystery to tweens in the Muskegon area. It seems that every child across the nation who hear the name 'Edward', think vampire. Bella has become a name that young girls everywhere strive to relate to; fictitious or not doesn't seem to matter.
Muskegon is no different. Schools in the county and surrounding counties are dealing with the same situation. Schools seem to be encouraging it, while churches are stirring and parents are trying to understand; "what do we do about the Twilight situation".
For older teens, the love and romance of two characters their age is looked up upon. Twilight promotes love and care, while refusing pre-marital sex. This is a good example for encouraging teenagers to wait to have sex. The high school students are old enough to understand that werewolves and vampires are fiction, and they can understand the differences between imagination and reality.
The problem lies with the younger generation. Twilight, unlike Harry Potter, deals with adult issues. Marriage, sex, and love is the big focus in the series. The book geared towards high schoolers, tends to be drawing a far younger crowd. Elementary aged students are fighting over the series. School libraries tend to have waiting lists for the books.
Teachers seem to be impressed that the students are able to read the hundreds of pages in the books, and are satisfied at how the reading levels are increasing. However, parents and churches seem to be afraid that the children are addressing older issues, far too young. They are being introduced to sex all the while romanticizing sucking each others blood. Even the hit show, ABC's Private Practice, did a story on a young couple who spread an STD because the boy was sucking girls' blood. The girls were excited that the boy was that romantic, and felt privileged when he chose them as his girlfriends. The show was eerily realistic, and the children were only 13.
Teachers and children tend to love the series, while parents and religious leaders are afraid for the kids to grow up too quick. The question seems to be, is teaching younger children about sex before marriage something that a book about vampires should do, or is it something that should be discussed at home? Should parents actually have to teach kids not to allow boys to suck their blood, or do nine and ten year old girls already understand that? You would be surprised at the vulnerability at this age of student, and at the reply one would get when asking a child.
You be the judge, should elementary students be encouraged to read Twilight? Feel free to comment below.