Everything we need to know, we read when we were five. We already have all of the tools we need to get through this next sticky stage in our times. We didn’t lose these tools, they’re just hiding in the way backs of our memories, behind the cobwebs.
by Liz Richards (writer)
I don’t know why I suddenly thought of the classic children’s books I used to read as a kid. But it occurred to me that some of the best remembered and most loved children’s books out there from twenty – and even fifty – years ago take on exactly the very grown-up issues that we are grappling with today. And while these childhood classics may not have all the answers, they just might have some.
About the environment:
Sometimes we forget about our relationship to nature. We misremember the fact that everything we have, no matter how much we build and accomplish, comes from a generous planet that will always have our back, even to it's own detriment. We learned that in Shel Silverstein's 1964 poem "The Giving Tree," which was always one of my favorites.
We can also sometimes forget how destructive we can be, because we really don't mean to be destructive at all. If we took time to think about Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, we'd think twice before we did things like, say, cut down trees, or remove indigenous people from their legally protected lands to construct one more oil pipeline that won't benefit us in the long term, create permanent jobs, or do any good at all except maybe in the very immediate futures of the super rich. We don't mean to do those things at all, it's just been too long since we've read The Lorax.
About the travel ban, trans rights, women's rights, increased deportations and the very expensive wall:
Remember how, in Green Eggs and Ham, the protagonist refused to try the eggs because they were a different color, he'd probably heard some bad things but had never seen them in real life before, and when he finally tried them they were exactly like all other eggs and all that fuss and the big mess he made was all over nothing? Yeah, it's maybe the most popular kids' book ever, so I'm sure you've read it. Here's an animated video for reference:
About race and police brutality in America:
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz series, that made up one of the most famous childhood movies, taught us that friends come in all shapes and sizes and that we all have our own very personal and individual sets of wants and beliefs, and in the end we all need to be understood and treated with fairness. It also taught us that sometimes, authority figures are not what they seem and that they are often times individuals themselves who operate out of their own wants and experiences, and while they're doing the best they can, that's not always best for everyone. In the end, it's critical that we learn how to love ourselves and friends who are very different from ourselves but just as deserving of love and every opportunity we ourselves are granted.
About the potential budget cuts of programs like Americorps - which fights hard for literacy and equal opportunity across the country - and the National Endowment for the Arts - out of which our favorite books, and learning TV programs, and productive art comes from:
Well that's just so plain stupid and self-harming that no one's thought to write the book on that yet.