Books for the Precocious Politico
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because your own offspring may one day offset your vote.
By Nick Fouriezos
Sure, this Christmas you could go with a lump of coal. Or, if you really want to teach those dear little children a lesson, you could leave a carefully wrapped … political text.
Think about it: It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Though children’s tales have never been exempt from politics — ever heard of the Goldilocks rule? — a number of publishers are capitalizing on the vitriol decking the halls this holiday season with a slew of easy readers to get your kids into the organizing spirit. “My goal was to have a book that my child would enjoy and that shared our family’s values with him,” says Innosanto Nagara, author of A Is for Activist.
After all, tomorrow you’ll look up and they’ll be old enough to vote — for whomever their little hearts desire. Who knows? They may even sway your allegiance. Nearly half of teens in a KidsHealth.org survey said they helped influence their parents’ choice of presidential candidate, while three-fourths believed the outcome of an election would directly affect them. And while no one’s polling 13-year-olds in Iowa yet, tech-savvy teenagers have increasingly taken to social media to make their voices heard.
Of course, there are risks involved with educating your children. “Doing so is more likely to lead to backlash,” says Elias Dinas, a comparative politics professor at the University of Oxford. A stocking full of Karl Marx could turn into a rebellious adolescence or, worse, a career on Wall Street. Dinas recently published research in the British Journal of Political Science that shows the children who most eagerly take on their parents’ views are also the most likely to discard them postpuberty.
But for those of you willing to wade the waters of ideological uncertainty, OZY brings you a collection of political texts for youngsters:
Miss Kitty: The Republican Cat?
Darn those Democrats! Nutty activists have convinced Congress that domestic cats are a danger to small animals and the environment, and now their claws qualify as dangerous weapons. In Susanna Lohse’s book, our feline hero, Miss Kitty, decides to organize a protest, but when she does, she’s slapped with a subpoena and is forced to testify before the House. Miss Kitty, through 96 pages and a series of black-and-white illustrations, has to explain everything, from her school choice to the profits her toy business generates. And behind it all: a sinister plot involving evil dictators. Yep, that sounds pretty accurate.
A Rule Is to Break: A Child’s Guide to Anarchy
From Occupy Wall Street to Occupy the Toy Room. This one even comes with an Oath of Anarchy, the first rule of which is: “I promise never to simply do what I’m told because someone bigger, or wearing a suit, is telling me to do so.” The picture book by John Seven and Jana Christy touts generosity over capitalism, sports a devil-eared toddler wreaking havoc and heralds a host of pot-banging, house-streaking shenanigans. Give at your own peril.
ABC’s of Activism
While Kony 2012 director Jason Russell and his wife, Danica, might have brought us this series, they say it’s “not just for the earthy, the urban, the hipster, the hippy, the traveler, the militant extremist, the organic, the already active activists….” The books, which are still being illustrated and are expected to come out in the next few months, feature the stories of everyday social justice heroes and aim to prompt questions and conversations in the home. The perfect gift for anyone looking to change the world.