I had an interesting discussion, if you could call it that with a writer of children’s books (the name will remain undisclosed) who seemed to take offense that I did not think it was the job of a writer to be an agent of social change for children. That in effect a writer should not have the authority to countermand parental authority and that it is irresponsible at best and propaganda at worst to use children’s literature, that is literature designed for impressionable minds to further a social agenda. I was actually scorned and demonized. It got me thinking how unfortunate the state of modern children’s literature is that so much of it has descended  into social manipulating. Liberal vs conservative, religious vs atheist, gay vs straight. It is all really pathetic. Charlotte’s Webb certainly made me think about the status of farm animals, it made me questions why I eat what I eat and also it made me question the idea of value, who has it and who gives it. But one thing Charlotte’s Webb never tried to do was to preach a vegetarian lifestyle to children. This same book written by authors similar to the one I had the displeasure of speaking with today would transform the humans into evil corporatist gluttons and make the barnyard animals beatific saints and the end result would be, as is the case of most recent literature, a totally unforgettable story. Perhaps that is the point. Maybe, just maybe some authors are more interested in casting themselves in the role of social reformers and are perfectly happy to write a book that will be ignored in five years. After all in five years impressionable minds will already be swayed. One good thing came out of that conversation… I now know certain books by a certain author to be very cautious of.

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