Good and Bad Kids’ Books

Dear Reader,

I am asked a lot if I have let my kids read Harry Potter or Percy Jackson or some other children’s book series. The concern is usually that these series presume the existence of magic or supernatural beings. I have let my kids read or listen (we do a lot of audiobooks) to both these series. The fact that they have these magical or supernatural elements does not in and of itself bother me.

The whole point I think of fiction is to create a new world to explore. You can change the rules in a book. The world of stories doesn’t have to work the same way our world does. That is the beauty of books. You can lose yourself in them. And yet the best literature uses these other worlds to explore truths from our own world. Maybe it is broad themes about bravery and friendship and good and evil. We learn more about ourselves and our own world by taking these elements out of context and placing them somewhere else. So, no, I don’t mind my children reading about worlds that presume magic or whose characters include fairytale characters or even Greek gods. I think children are capable of making these distinctions. They know that what happens in the books is not the real world.

The books I stop my kids from reading are usually set in the real world. Mostly they are about kids in school. They usually involve kids who have absolutely atrocious relationships with their parents and siblings and classmates and teachers. It is these real world books that introduce ideas I don’t want my kids exposed to. These kids see grown-ups as enemies. They treat school and learning as bad things. They teach children how to exclude and insult each other. I would take a good fantasy book about elves and goblins working together or even fighting each other with magic over these realistic stories any day.

How about you? What books do you not let your children read and why?

Nebby

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One response to this post.

  1. […] again are good questions, but it the application where we would begin to disagree. As I have said many times before in this blog, I am not generally bothered by fantastical or magical elements in books. While I do think books […]

    Reply

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