About now, the parents of elementary children are getting around to reviewing that summer reading list sent home by last year's teacher. Unfortunately, the same lists have come home from just about every public and many parochial elementary schools for the past 20 years. All those great Scholastic, Caldecott and Newberry Award Winners are available at public and school libraries. Parents BEWARE! You might want to watch "Night of the Living Dead" with your kids for some milder entertainment!
The books on this list will negatively influence your child's attitude about life. They are the written version of rap and hip-hop music. The boards who award these Newberry and Scholastic Winners must view children as little adults. The words " age appropriate" are lost on them. The behavior and attitudes resulting from reading these depressing and negative, anti-parental authority books may be just as bad as that resulting from the influence of the today's music and movies.
A book commonly found on such lists is The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson, about a child who describes her foster mother as a "religious fanatic." Here are some sample quotes:
- "The church didn't fit into the modern world anymore than the people who went there did."
- "Gilly of course, knew all about adultery…she offered for sale not only the definition of the word but some juicy neighborhood examples. In this way she gained seventy-eight cents in coins previously designated for the church collection plate."
- "Nobody but a religious fanatic would put up with such gross ignorance for over an hourevery week of their lives-nobody but religious fanatics and the innocent victims they forced togo to church."
- When discussing life her foster mother says,"Life ain't supposed to be nothin,'ceptmaybe tough…That all that stuff about happy endings is lies. The only ending in this world is death."
- "Dammit, Trotter. Don't try to make a stinking Christian out of me."" Go to hell Trotter."
Most recent children's books are about tragedies that befall the young characters. Ms. Paterson's book, bridge to Terabithia (Newberry 1978), is about the agonizing of a young boy who blames himself for his friend's death. The samples included in this article are not isolated incidents. Other children's authors write about subjects such as sole survivors of plane crashes in the wilderness and endless tales of the occult.
All those parents who do not want to talk to their children about the horrors of abortion and euthanasia better think twice before they suggest The Giver by Louis Lowery, (Newberry 1994) for summer reading. A combination of Brave New World/1984 is far above a twelve-year-old's understanding. Handicapped babies, low birth weight twins, and the elderly are "released," from this world, by injection to a mystical "ELSEWHERE." Overpopulation was no problem since new babies are limited to fifty a year, with everyone taking pills to stop sexual arousal!
These are just a few of the numerous worrisome aspects of this book. If your child has already read this book, I suggest a serious discussion to assure their understanding of right and wrong.
Parents, do you want your child exposed to this language and these ideas of intolerance and defiance? Do you want your children reading the same negative ideas produced by rap and hip-hop music? Should schools use their authority to promote this type of literature? My answers are all NO! Based on young children's limited understanding of reality you can be sure they will remember the most startling passages, i.e. baby killing, the agony and guilt of causing a young friends death, or using inappropriate language. My teens are tired of hearing me say "familiarity breeds acceptance," but they know its true.
Understand that there is nothing uplifting about today's children's literature. Instead, it is filled with anti-parent propaganda, and anti-religious views. These books present our children with overwhelming and overabundant psychological horrors at too young an age. They present political and cultural ideas long before children are ready to understand or cope with terrible dilemnas. Their depressing agendas are one more reason that our children might turn to drugs or commit suicide. No wonder "Whatever" is a common slogan and attitude!
Parents please read your children's books. And if you must chose from the list, choose those written prior to 1965. Take the time to find good literature for your children. And tell the teacher when you do not like a book on her lists.