Beverly Cleary, Goosebumps and … Al Gore?!?April 6, 2008
Resistance is futile.
Our kids have brought book order forms from Scholastic home from school for years. Over the years we have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars ordering books from them. Like so many others, Scholastic has jumped on the global warming bandwagon.
In a recent order form for the Scholastic Arrow Book Club (April 2008) that my 3rd grader brought home we found the usual fare of animal stories, adventure, fantasy, science fiction, history and historical fiction. But lately, Scholastic has a new category, that I will call “green living.”
On page three of this issue we find advertisements for the books “Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg” (“Can Prilla the fairy outwit Captain Hook…”), a variety of poetry books, including works by Carl Sandburg and Shel Silverstein, and the “Indiana Jones Set” (Three book set for $9.95 where “Indiana Jones finds action and adventure all over the world!”). Oh, and let’s not forget Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”.
Figure 1. Al Gore shares a page with “Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg,” Shel Silverstein, and Indiana Jones. Click on the image for a larger version without my overlay.
Figure2. Close-up of the ad for Gore’s book.
Scholastic/Orchard also publishes The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming by Laurie David and Cambria Gordon. David was the producer of Gore’s movie. In a recent interview with Publisher’s Weekly, David said…
“Kids also are the number one influence on their parents, so if you want to reach the parents, go to the kids.”
David’s editor, Lisa Sandell, added..
“Kids are often attracted to numbers, because it makes an idea tangible and relatable,” she says. “If you say, ‘X number water bottles are thrown away every hour,’ that’s a number they can understand … Kids can often be the arbiters of change. They can come back to their parents and ask, ‘Why don’t you have an EnergyStar appliance?”
The fact is that children don’t really understand the issues as clearly as Sandell thinks they do. Try asking your third grader this: “Suppose refrigerator A uses 400 kilowatt hours per year and costs $1000, and refrigerator B, which is EnergyStar rated, uses 320 kilowatt hours per year, but costs $1,200. Which one will cost more if we keep the refrigerator for 10 years and the cost of electricity averages $0.09 per kilowatt hour over that time period?”
Kids are attracted to the “Gee Whiz” effect of big numbers precisely because they don’t understand them. Neither do many adults. (For example, people are impressed by statements like “Seven times the size of Manhattan” when talking about a piece of collapsing ice shelf, until the numbers are put in perspective.)
The climate change issue is more about politics than it is about science. It bothers me, but does not surprise me, that climate change alarmist want to indoctrinate my children as their political tools.