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.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedWhat Not to Say to a Dad With Four Kids
What Not to Say to a Dad With Four Kids
Generalize not, lest ye be generalized
TrendingNew Poll Finds Evangelicals’ Favorite Heresies
New Poll Finds Evangelicals’ Favorite Heresies
Survey finds many American evangelicals hold unorthodox views on the Trinity, salvation, and other doctrines.
Editor's PickMark Labberton: This Is the Best of Times for Following Jesus
Mark Labberton: This Is the Best of Times for Following Jesus
The Fuller Seminary president sees the church’s moment of cultural exile as a moment of incredible opportunity.
Comments
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.