Books no longer build the muscles of the mind

Reading — Expand your mind.

I am not in love with the fact that the majority of books on the bestseller list for teens and children are about vampires. I hate the fact that few kids know who Nancy Drew is, and when I make a funny reference to her or Trixie Belden, they don’t know who I am talking about. All they care about is Edward Cullen or werewolves and some other silly story that causes infatuation and shameful obsession.

The youth of today do not care for reading, and the books they do read are about nonsensical things or they are entertaining, but oh so poorly written. I’m not saying that the only good books are the amazing classics, like Jane Eyre or Hinds Feet on High Places or even Pride and Prejudice, but books are no longer about things that teach lessons or inspire innocence.

When I was growing up, I was obsessed with female detectives like Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. They inspired my curiosity and taught me life lessons. They were nurturing. What valuable life lesson am I to learn from a sparkling vampire?

I love bookstores. I love the children’s section of bookstores. I love the bright illustrations, Fancy Nancy displays the innocent stories about fairies and secret gardens (Fancy Nancy is quickly growing to be my favorite new children’s book series….she is hilarious). Unfortunately, I have to walk through the teen section to get to the children’s section. Walking through the teen section I see that all the books are about vampires or mean girls from preppy boarding schools or better yet, vampire mean girls from preppy boarding schools. No longer are the Boxcar Children and the Hardy Boys on the shelves, but Gossip Girl and Twilight. These books are affecting our youth in more ways than one.

Kids today aren’t learning true wit. They no longer feel accomplished or satisfied after reading a book. Instead, they are learning cheap sarcasm, disrespect, worldly desires and ambitions. The books displayed in bookstores for young adults are not for young adults at all. The content that the world is feeding our children today is shameful and filled with sex, drugs and alcohol promotion.

It is no wonder to me that the youth today are a confused and angry generation when their greatest literary hero is Blaire Waldorfe, a spoiled society girl from Manhattan who enjoys manipulation and underage drinking. They don’t have Edmond Dantes or Atticus Finch to admire. They don’t even know their names.

I think of the things we promote in society, in our books that we give our children to read and I think of how lost we are. How can we call ourselves responsible adults when what we are giving our kids is anything but responsible wisdom? We tell them that underage drinking is wrong but then we give them books filled with characters who drink like it’s going out of style. We tell them not to have sex before they are ready, but then hand them literature that tells them they are worthless if they don’t.

We are consistently giving our children bad information and mixed messages. I can think of no greater cause than helping the children of today become the strong and mature adults of tomorrow. I believe that one of the greatest things we can do to help them is to give them good information and inspiration, not the trash they are currently looking to for answers.

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