Friday, October 06, 2006

value added children's books, part II

During a conference with my son's homeschool teacher (and how's that for an oxymoron!), the subject came up of whether kids today are overprotected, oversupervised, overscheduled and tragically prevented from having solitary and kid-centered adventures, as they do in the classic children's books like The Saturdays.

No, I'm not going where you expect with this. These discussions always irritates me a little--not because I think the concerns aren't valid. But they're really only valid for a segment of the child population, primarily middle-class, suburban kids or wealthy, urban kids. I grew up poor and urban, which frankly, is a combination requiring--and seldom getting--more protection. Without dwelling on the details, being preyed upon by adults and older children was just part of growing up. I really don't worry much now about "overprotecting" my son.

So... what does this have to do with children's books? Well, it's that values thing again. Is there something instinctive in us that responds to depictions of honor, compassion, sacrifice--or did I just get lucky? Because I found in children's books the values that were blatently lacking in my everyday world, and I embraced them.


Blogger Mary Lee bligged...

Or as Lemony Snickett writes in THE END, "We are respecting our parents' wishes," Violet said, hoisting the apples as high as she could. "The didn't want to shelter us from the world's treacheries. They wanted us to survive them."

10/15/2006 7:16 AM  
Blogger Nancy bligged...

I think children's books can be a good compass, even for kids who might already have the examples in real life, because books can help explain or make sense of them. Real life doesn't come with narrative, and narrative can be so very valuable.

11/23/2006 5:04 PM  

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