Violence in Children’s Books

In my part of the world there has been a definite increase in crime directed towards the most innocent and precious resource we have—our children. Just look at some of these headlines taken from the pages of our city paper and local news web sites:

Colo. man plotted to kill children, president

10 year old girl never made it to school, feared abducted

Mom needed help before setting kids on fire

…And folks that is just the highlights for the past four weeks. These horrific acts are just a sample of the violent crime that appears to be creeping ever so close to home. The days of children feeling safe in public are sadly gone.

I am glad middle level books appear to never touch upon such horrendous topics. Yes many of them do cover untimely deaths of family or friends, divorce, and parents gone astray to name a few. Books for this level don’t always need a happy ending but let the YA and adult titles cover the more violent stuff.

Each of us may still remember the first stories read as a 9-13 year old. I liked books with humor, animal stories, and suspenseful mysteries. Looking at the top Middle Level titles time hasn’t changed that too much. You will see a lot of the same with the welcome addition of fantasy series.

I hope reading for kids brings wonderment and delight. Let parents take care of the discussion with their own children about the headlines too frequent to ignore.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
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