Dear Sasha, I have a 12-year-old niece whom I adore: very bright, totally with-it gal. And a big reader. Here's the issue: I just bought her the two first volumes in a series (here in Quebec) of 14. The series is called "Namasté's blog", about a 13-year-old who shares her life problems (:o)) on a blog: parents, school friends, boys. The preteens in this province are mad about the series, it's a huge, huge hit. And I know for a fact that my niece hasn't discovered it yet. But yesterday, while looking it up online to show a friend, we found out that the author has been in trouble with the law, a few years back, for sexual assault: it appears the imbecile met a 12 year old fan at a book signing, and decided to have "an affair" that lasted 4 years. Now, here's a very prolific writer, father of four daughters, who clearly knows how to tap into teen girl angst. He has hords of fans, and since the events, has kept publishing volumes in the series, which are actually recommended by reputable book outfits (that's how I even heard about them in the first place).

Do I give her the books, knowing what I do about the author? Or return them?  A


Lewis Carroll and J.M Barrie were both suspected of being pedophiles.  As you’re well aware, they wrote two of the best classics in history, and hey, generations of kids continue to be just fine. And of course, there’s the latest scandal revolving Kevin Clash, the man who played Elmo.  A, I’m not excusing their behavior if what has been said about them is indeed true, but when it comes to giving this series to your niece, my answer is:  just let her read them and enjoy them. 

This can also act as an opportunity to open up a dialogue about digital safety in general.  Now, I tried to read some reviews about this series, but because I’m a bad Canadian I can’t read French so that was a bit of a fail.  But from what I could glean, there are some really important underlying lessons about teenagers and their online profile presence. 

Teenagers are living in uncharted territory today; everything from bullying to pedophiles is only a few key strokes away.  So A, if you want to be a really good auntie, I’d take the opportunity to discuss this with her.   A great way to do this would be to start a little mini book club and read the series along with her.  You guys can meet up after each book and talk about it.  It’ll not only encourage her to open up about her own experiences but it will bring you two a lot closer. 

Hope this helps and keep me posted! xx