I have written quite a bit lately about the children’s books I’ve been reading, appalled at how much of an agenda they contain. An article by Dave Seminera in the December 16, 2018 Wall Street Journal reminded me of another point.
I don’t know who chose the title for his opinion piece, but it is most apt. Reading from Left to Left points out that even if books are individually unoffensive, or even exemplary, the thrust of what is available leans heavily in one direction. Recently, certain adult news magazines ostensibly writing about women candidates in this fall’s election, highlighted only Democrat women, ignoring or downplaying those running on the Republican side. Mr. Seminera notes a similar philo-Left trend in the books chosen for display and attention at his Barnes & Noble.
When we read articles that note how, when eating out in a group, our friends’ choices affect us, most of us nod with recognition. If we want to exercise more, we realize that surrounding ourselves with couch potatoes is the wrong thing to do. Supermarkets place items in a way that encourages us to reach for certain brands over others. If one can of tomato sauce is at eye-level while another one needs me to look down and crouch to get it, the centrally placed one has an advantage.
Bookstores have every right to buy and display those books that they think will sell best or that resonate with the owner. Caveat emptor certainly means that responsible parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends should pre-read and evaluate books they give the young people they love. As this article makes clear, if we want those same young people to have a balanced view of society rather than a unilaterally progressive one, we also might need to actively seek out appropriate books rather than just choosing from what is in front of us.