I love PhDcomics! It often does amaze me that I can read a bunch of books, think about them, write about them, and then get a Ph.D., and not because the behavioral sciences and social sciences use “real data” whereas mine is “just based on children’s books” or because I’m “making stuff up,” but because I can do what I love and be valued and respected for it. Gerard is right- “humanities is the study of the human condition through literary analysis and criticism.” Literature reflects what we believe about the world, and they project the images and ideologies we want others to also believe. Children’s literature is a potent medium through which to spread particular ideologies, whether they be of heteronormativity or what constitutes a nuclear family or what types of jobs and behaviors and religions are valued and respected. People who think children’s literature is free from politics are fooling themselves; they only think so because they want children’s literature to reflect their politics, and feel threatened when other ideologies are presented. But the truth is, we need to see a diversity of experiences, viewpoints, perspectives, behaviors, in children’s literature so that we could learn to understand, respect, appreciate, and value all that the world has to offer. As I step off my soapbox, I leave you with a favorite quote:
You must not refuse to lend a book, even to an enemy, for the cause of learning will suffer” Rabbi Yehuda of Regensburg, Germany 1200 C.E.