Friday, January 20, 2017

Kids books nowadays don't reflect their lives (because playdates are boring)

A while back my son Peter was reading the book There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Fly Guy. It's a fun beginning chapter book about a boy with a pet fly.

Fly Guy is riding his bike, alone, to his grandmother's house for an overnight stay
What struck me most is that in the book, the main character rides his bike, alone, with a backpack and with his pet fly on his shoulder, to visit his grandmother's house for an overnight stay. My immediate thought was—that would so never happen nowadays. Kids today are almost never allowed out of the house on their own. Much less on a bike, with a backpack, headed for an overnight stay.

The popular kids books nowadays (the Harry Potter series, the Rick Riordan books) do not talk about kids lives, as they're actually lived in the present day US. The kids in the books, much more so than in previous eras, live in a world of adventure and independence that's very, very far removed from their real lives. You wouldn't read in a children's book about kids going on a playdate, or being driven to soccer practice, because it's boring and there's no story, as the kids have no ability to make decisions.

I think kids today are missing out on so much, because their lives are so constrained and controlled. I'll be writing a few more blog posts on this topic soon.


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