Kid Lit Watch

by John J. Miller

Meghan Cox Gurdon–formerly a regular contributor to NRO, now writing primarily elsewhere–enraged the publishing establishment over the weekend with her column in the Wall Street Journal, “Darkness Too Visible”:

How dark is contemporary fiction for teens? Darker than when you were a child, my dear: So dark that kidnapping and pederasty and incest and brutal beatings are now just part of the run of things in novels directed, broadly speaking, at children from the ages of 12 to 18.

Pathologies that went undescribed in print 40 years ago, that were still only sparingly outlined a generation ago, are now spelled out in stomach-clenching detail. Profanity that would get a song or movie branded with a parental warning is, in young-adult novels, so commonplace that most reviewers do not even remark upon it.

She sparked howls of outrage (see this), but her brave criticisms are entirely correct and also have earned support (see this). The bottom line for parents is that you need to take great care with what your kids read–not every “young adult” book is fit for kids.

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