ERIC Number: ED252856
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Oct
The Hidden Messages in Children's Books.
Since people's mental makeup is, to a certain extent, based on what they have read and how it has been incorporated into their lives, it is not surprising that considerable attention is paid to what children read. As a consequence, children's books tend to be highly moralistic. Many realistic books today attempt to teach children how to cope with life's difficulties and how to behave in certain situations. The stories have a wide appeal because they discuss problems that are foremost in many children's minds and that they often feel they cannot discuss with their parents. These problems include sibling rivalry, school relationships, children's cruelties, domineering mothers, love, sex, birth control, and divorce. The books portray a range of values, with kindness, caring, understanding, independence, making decisions on one's own, and exhibiting self-control treated as positive qualities, and cruelty, dishonesty, and abuse of drugs and alcohol treated as negative qualities. The books treat most types of sexual behavior as appropriate, emphasizing the problems connected with sexual behavior, its situations, and the need for maturity to deal with it. Some topics such as obedience, respect for elders and authority, and religion--once common themes in children's books--are now largely ignored. Given their content, it is easy to see why many people find children's books disturbing. Groups have sprung up seeking to censor or ban certain works. However, educators or librarians familiar with the books in question have often helped those concerned understand the purpose of the books. (RBW)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Florida Reading Association (22nd, Jacksonville, FL, October 18-21, 1984).