An Evangelization Wish

I’ve been thinking about books . . . especially children’s books.  Books play a part in informing our minds, developing our thinking and our understanding of the world.This is especially true of books for children and young adults.

Working in a library, I see so many volumes. I used to be an illustrator, and can’t help browsing through the picture book section in particular.  There are so many lovely ones.  Such variety–and sometimes such propaganda, both good and bad.

What I have noticed in children’s literature (and movies, and TV shows)  is a near total lack of any mention of God, of religion, of prayer, especially in more current favorites.  It is just not part of the life of any fictional characters.   Most books simply do not mention or refer to it at all.  (And, sure, there are exceptions.) The God of any religious tradition is simply ignored, as life and adventures go on without any thought of Him.

This has to have a subtle, negative affect on young people, this sidelining of the importance of the spiritual, keeping God entirely off of their radar.  Kids love to read about the lives of other kids, and how they solve problems. Reading about others helps them develop and shape their own lives.  To leave God out of the equation results in secular kids who do not consider Him at all.  It furthers the compartmentalization of religion, and the pressure to have it be totally “private” and with no voice in society.  It undermines the lessons that parents teach their kids about God and spirituality.

Not being a writer, I can fret about this but can do nothing.  My wish is for authors–and screenplay writers–to just include God as a part of life.  I don’t mean I think that everybody should write pious stories of saints, or overtly moralizing tales. Not at all.  Write the story that is in your heart, but casually, simply, occasionally,  have normal kids and families, and superheroes and fantasy characters, in the course of the plot, do something like, say, go to church on Sunday, say a prayer, or celebrate a holy day/season/celebration.  I think that just that simple step would go a long way to teach our children that faith is indeed a part of life.

Just to bring up the possibility is to plant a seed.

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About reinkat

I am an iconographer, and have been studying Russian/Greek icons since 1995. I'm married with 3 children. I love hiking, camping, animals, my family and church--and icons.
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6 Responses to An Evangelization Wish

  1. SR says:

    Hey Reinkat,

    This is really a good post, and I agree with you 100%. I really had not even thought about it until I read your post, but we do not see the mention of God in a lot of children’s books today. In fact unless one is reading on the Saints, Church, or 500 years ago, you do not see Him mentioned in a lot of adult books either.

    As I thought about this, when I read most authors in historical times or even about historical times, God is mentioned all over the place. If I read about those who were pagans, even their god’s are mentioned somewhere.

    It is really sad to me today, that the mind set is, “The less said about God, the better.” Then we wonder why the world is in the shape it is? Good post and God Bless, SR

    • reinkat says:

      Thanks for the comment, SR. I remember hearing author Anne Lamott being interviewed on NPR. She mentioned that when she first submitted her books, she was told to remove the references to God, faith, and her Christianity because they would negatively affect her sales. To her credit, she refused.

  2. Different world, for sure.

  3. Yay! I want to write some children’s picture books exactly like that, not too pious but definitely giving God a look-in! I’ll let you know when I do then 🙂

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