While many of America’s parents are worried about how well their children can read and do math, as well how much they know, the helpful people at Lifehacker are concerned about what we should to do teach social justice.
They have recommended a list of books to ensure that our children are thinking correctly–not, mind you, that they are thinking well, but only that they are taking the right political and social thoughts.
Think your children should be learning about our nation’s founding and the basis for our republic. NOT. Why do that when your children could be reading Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls are Born to Lead. Never seen that one on the great books list? Maybe they needed something to balance the books on Ronald Reagan. Oh, wait, there are no books about Ronald Reagan on the Lifehacker list. In fact, there are none on any conservative figure. Just Hillary.
And forget about Little House on the Prairie or Anne of Green Gables. Laura Ingalls Wilder is racist. Hadn’t you heard? And L. M. Montgomery was clearly a shill for the Patriarchy. Instead, try Rad Women Worldwide. This one even has “cut-paper portraits” of radical, revolutionary women. Who needs books that teach you how to think when you can teach kids how to protest and chant slogans?
Don’t bother with Virginia Lee Burton’s Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, or Bill Beet’s classic dog story, The Wingdingdilly, or any other book that most boys would actually, you know, like. No. How about Sparkle Boy? a book about cross dressing for that active boy in your family?
There are other books on the list covering racism, sexism, ableism, LGBTQ issues, and immigration.
But if our cultural commissars had any familiarity with classic children’s and young adult literature, they would know that many of these issues are already addressed in these books, and addressed better than preachy, partisan texts designed to indoctrinate children. You can teach children important social issues and familiarize them with their history and literary heritage at the same time.
Want to innoculate your younger child against racism? Have them read Call me Charley, by Jesse Jackson. Yes, that Jesse Jackson. Older children can read To Kill a Mockingbird and Cry, The Beloved Country. They are beautiful stories that address racism from a human, not a political viewpoint.
Want to read about strong women? Young readers can read about Betsy Ray in Maud Hart Lovelace’s endearing Betsy-Tacy stories or Sarah, Plain and Tall. And older readers should try Beryl Markham’s West with the Night, the classic story of the woman who was the first person to fly east to west across the Atlantic.
Put the propaganda aside. There is a right way to familiarize students with important social issues through real literature.
This post When It Comes to Children’s Books, It’s Time to Put the Propaganda Away was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Martin Cothran.