Guest / Limited Access /
The Dark-Tinted, Truth-Filled Reading List We Owe Our Kids

In the Christian world, stories laced with dark content—especially for children—will always spook whole flocks of eyebrows into concerned flight. The "content" of a book or film is parsed out, every bit of shadow flagged and sniffed at by mothers like they've discovered a malicious growth hormone in a suspicious chicken nugget.

As an author who writes novels for children, I am often questioned about my choice of ingredients. A boy discovers and opens dozens of tiny magical doors. Should be a lark, right? Why does it need to be dangerous? Why include loneliness, father hunger, and a terrifying enemy?

Two functional orphans living in a roadside motel are taken to Ashtown, a place where many of the world's wildest secrets have been kept for centuries. Sounds like a great little slumber party. So why include pain? Why must the children face hardships? Why must the villains be so, well, villainous? Wouldn't it be better for everyone if the evil was jokey? Lighthearted? More like a school rivalry than a matter of salvation or damnation?

Yipes. No. Wrong. F.

Think on this: God's artistic choices should govern our own. More than any other type of artist, Christian artists should be truth-lovers and truth-tellers. More than any other consumer, Christian readers— and parents of young readers—should be truth-seekers.

I would understand if hard-bitten secularists were the ones feeding narrative meringue to their children with false enthusiasm. They believe their kids will eventually grow up and realize how terrible, grinding, and meaningless reality really is. Oh, well—might as well swaddle children in Santa Clausian delusions while they're still dumb enough to ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Mud Alive
N.D. Wilson
N.D. Wilson is a best-selling author, observer of ants, and easily distracted father of five. His latest book, Death by Living, is a creative nonfiction celebration of mortality.
Previous Mud Alive Columns:
Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueWill the Supreme Court Pop Abortion Clinic Bubbles?
Subscriber Access Only Will the Supreme Court Pop Abortion Clinic Bubbles?
A challenge to 'buffer zones' against pro-life protesters gets a surprise hearing Wednesday, January 15.
RecommendedAndy Stanley Explains His ‘Stinking Selfish’ Parents Comment
Andy Stanley Explains His ‘Stinking Selfish’ Parents Comment
‘As much as I wish folks would listen to the entire message, it really doesn’t diminish the absurdity of what I said.’
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickThe Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
The Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
How the New Testament offers a better, higher calling than the Declaration of Independence.
Christianity Today
The Dark-Tinted, Truth-Filled Reading List We Owe Our Kids
hide thisJanuary/February January/February

In the Magazine

January/February 2014

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.