I’ve heard that it takes a village to raise a child. It’s a nice idea, I liked it for a long time. I imagined an encouraging community supporting parents in bringing up healthy, well adjusted young people. But in truth the village is failing.
It takes mothers and fathers to raise a child, despite the village. The mothers and fathers need to be vigilant.
There are all levels in which this is happening, but I want to point out just one, perhaps a small one, that I notice within the scope of my own observation. I think it is significant. I see a lot of children’s books, as an illustrator, and as a worker in a public library. Many of the books are beautiful, but some are rather startling. I have heard it argued that people have a right to publish what they want, say what they want to anybody, and read what they want. It is the job of parents to make sure that what their children read is suitable, if they have any objections to what is published.
Most parents are very careful about what their preschool and elementary age children read, but begin to step back and allow tweens and teens more freedom to chose what they find interesting (often relieved that their kids continue to read for pleasure at all.) They might even assume that a title wouldn’t be in the library, in the children’s or young adult section, if it were not wholesome and good for the children’s wellbeing. You know, the village thing. Don’t count on it.
I want to highlight just a couple of widely read books that I randomly, casually spotted in my local library. They were not even in the young adult section, but in the Children’s Center, a section roughly aimed at kids age 5 to 10.
Pictures are worth a thousand words. They have a profound impact on our subconscious. I wonder if parents really want their boys or girls to absorb the messages presented here. These particular books happen to be manga books, created in Japan, and they are wildly popular. Have a look at the covers and some of the inside pages, and see what you think. I see insinuations of rape, pedophilia, encouragement of sexual experience, sexualizing of young children, etc.
Remember, these are marketed to kids kindergarten through 5th grade . . . and often looked at by 3 and 4 year olds as they choose their comic books . . .
Above is the front cover of just one book. Following are inside pages from several books, including a repeat of this cover illustration. I was disgusted by all of them, because of the young age of the intended viewers, and the lifestyle that is encouraged and promulgated.