Why was my book deemed unsuitable? Maybe it was because of the occasional swearword, or the storyline about self-harming. More likely I think it was because of the main theme of the book, knife crime.
I went to an exhibition this week, designed for children as young as nine .The Ben Kinsella Knife Crime Awareness Exhibition was created to tell young people about Ben, 16, killed in an unprovoked attack on a north London street. Using videos, cartoons, displays of Ben's art and English GCSE coursework it forces children to think about what might happen if they carry a knife, to potential victims and to themselves. The centre of the exhibition is a replica prison cell, inhabited by a prisoner. It's designed to move, to shock, to make children reflect. It's an extraordinary achievement, and I'm sure it will save lives. The organisers don't think 12 year olds are too young to be confronted with the subject of knife crime. They know that children who are younger than Y8 might be carrying knives and using them.
(The Ben Kinsella Knife Awareness Exhibition is open to visitors from Feb 18-22. Details here)