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December 27, 2014


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Did you buy your eldest a scooter yet?

Yes, yes we did! He took it to the playground yesterday.

I've noticed that there are a lot fewer -- as in, almost no -- war books for kids these days. By which I mean both fiction about war, and nonfiction books like "Greatest Fighter Planes of World War Two" or whatever. My 9 year old Jacob is going through a stage of fascination with military aircraft, and there's almost nothing out there that's age-appropriate.

When I was a kid -- basically the 1970s -- the bookshelves and libraries were full of these. My elementary school library had lots of well-displayed and well-thumbed books about The Battle of the Bulge or whatever. WWII stuff dominated -- and I'm pretty sure there was a generational effect there -- but there was a sprinkling of other wars as well.

Today, much much less. And what there is tends to be from a civilian perspective. I don't say that's a bad thing, but...

Doug M.

As an extension, Doug, apparently they removed the quaterstaff section from the Boy Scout Manual some time in the last 15 years.

On a recent trip to Politics and Prose, my wife did buy our boy a comic book about my old National Guard unit, the Harlem Hellfighters. (Not the adult-aimed one by Max Brooks, which is also quite good.) There seemed to be plenty of war-themed books, even for the tiny little ones, but I wasn't really looking and have no basis for comparison.

A bunch of stuff does show up on Amazon under "kids war books." You have to go eight entries in before you lose the serious war books and start getting Ender's Game and the like.

My memory of the libraries at P.S. 130 and P.S. 183 matches yours, but I have not been to an elementary school library recently.

I'm not sure that I accept the premise, Doug. More evidence, please!

(Will, there are reasons beyond creeping middle-class fake pseudo-pacifism to remove the quarterstaff entry. Frex, I had a well-thumbed manual on my shelf for most of my young life, and I have no memory of such an entry! So it probably wasn't getting much use.)

I am declaring victory and will wait for Doug's gracious admission that he is wrong.

Hah! Anyone, anyone, Muir? Bueller?

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