BY: CLAIRE KIM
Perhaps children are too exposed to a world in which rainbows and magic appear to solve all problems or concerns…
Struggling? Here’s a pinch of fairy dust to disappear from your problems.
Feel threatened? Just snap your fingers and voila; everything is back to normal.
Such ideals featured in children’s books have, yes, created a space for children to immerse themselves in a world more beautiful and exciting than reality, but in a way, these stories are making children delusional and also unprepared for the real world that is brutal and cutthroat in contrast. In reality, a pinch of fairy dust or a snapping of one’s fingers isn’t going to solve anything. They’re mere gestures romanticized by fiction, fantasy children’s books, teaching children that the world’s complex problems can be solved with such simple actions when really this is not the case at all.
Children’s books are a medium of education.
Personally, I believe that children’s books need to share more actionable steps the youth can take when placed in real hardship in their later years, for example, sexual abuse or assault. Learning the idea of consent and also how to deal with such moments of vulnerability is not taboo; it is an important life lesson that will especially help foster proper behavioral mechanisms in children early on.
Books like Chirp by Kate Messner and Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee are two of many novels gaining acclaim recently for attacking such problems of sexual abuse or assault towards a younger reading audience, exposing reality for what it’s for.
While I’m not saying that all fairy tales or sorcery novels should be removed from the checklist of books to read by children, I am most definitely suggesting that novels be more referenced towards aspects of reality more so than fiction when educating children. Of course, I loved reading my Rainbow Magic series, but at the same time, I wish I read more books that taught me life lessons that would actually help me in the real world, a world in which fairy dust truly doesn’t exist.