When is she ready?

Prepare yourself for an upcoming stacking-a-cord-of-firewood-is-like-writing-a-novel entry, a la this one about shoveling.

Yup, fun stuff awaits me today.

I'm not complaining (too much). It'll give me time to work out some issues I've been pushing aside in my mind. Such as: Am I pushing my characters far enough in my work-in-progress, or am I taking it easy on them because, well, I like them too much.

And: Just why did I eat all 15 Swedish meatballs at IKEA, followed up with a hazelnut chocolate bar? 

Maybe also: How can I keep the dog from rubbing his face all over my pillow the minute I leave the house?

And perhaps: When is a child enough to handle stacking a cord of wood himself or herself while I drink coffee and watch HGTV?

But the biggest issue weighing on my mind is book censorship. Specificially, the books I am censoring from my 9-year-old girl.

She just had a reading evaluation at school, which she nailed. In fact, her teacher proudly told her that she could not have a scored better and, as a result, "The entire library is now open to you."

To my girl, this is a ticket to the world's greatest toy/candy store. She bounded off the school bus that day and said, "I'm ready for the 'Hunger Games'!" She has wanted to read the dystopian masterpiece for about a year, but I wasn't ready for the emotional impact.

But she adores "A Wrinkle in Time," is devouring "The Giver" and raved about "A Tale Dark and Grimm." So maybe the issue is mine, not hers. Maybe I'm not ready to acknowledge my sweet, innocent little girl is growing up.

And if I don't let her read this, how long will it take for her to just do what I did about her age (sneak "Cugo" and "Flowers in the Attic" into the basement to read when my mom wasn't paying attention).

So what do you guys think? How can you determine when a child is ready for darker themes in literature?

I'm also debating selecting "To Kill A Mockingbird" as our next bedtime reading book.