The Point

The Point: Not Just a Kids’ Book


John Stonestreet

It’s never just a kids’ book.

Researchers recently compared popular kids’ books from China and the U.S. and they found quite a discrepancy While kids in China read stories about industrious men who dig up mountains and young children working hard to make neat letters, American youngsters generally read about happy kids finding enjoyment with their friends.

In fact, Chinese storybooks promote hard work and perseverance about twice as often as U.S. books. This might explain why kids in China regularly score higher on academic tests, while U.S. kids are so obsessed with being happy.

The research confirms what we already know, that stories shape us. A story brought King David to repentance. A parable about a good Samaritan has inspired Christians to bind wounds for two millennia. Stories, as C. S. Lewis said, “steal past watchful dragons” of skepticism to implant in our minds a picture of things worth valuing.

Kids’ books are more than “just a story.” They’re tools for molding hearts and minds.


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