Do you avoid tales of monsters, dragons, and evil beings when it comes to children's literature? Michael O'Brien suggests that there is tremendous value in mythology and other forms of fiction when symbols are properly used, reflecting spiritual realities. Just as Scripture uses images of the dragon and the serpent to represent Satan, some classic tales incorporate similar images to create battles between good and evil. Good literature becomes a morality tale.
In contrast, some modern children's literature (as well as movies) have corrupted spiritual symbolism. Dragons are now heroes, and serpents have been "unreasonably maligned." Such literature can undermine spiritual truth by creating fictional falsehoods.
Other spiritually positive and destructive elements appear throughout children's literature.
O'Brien presents a four-tiered method of categorizing literature in relation to spiritual truth and danger. Using examples, he shows how he determines the categories for various books. As O'Brien explains, categories are sometimes ambiguous, but it does present a framework for helping us make judgments.
This book is particularly helpful in alerting us to the subtle spiritual dangers we often miss. For example, he tells us, "A powerful falsehood is implanted in the young boy by heroes who are given knowledge of good and evil, given power over good and evil, who play with evil but are never corrupted by it."
The last third of the book features more than 1,000 recommended books arranged in categories of increasing level of difficulty.