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While our 2nd-grade son is Zoom schooling I work on my laptop nearby so I can occasionally listen in on the activities. Yesterday, during my son’s virtual “library time” what caught my attention was my son watching a video of a full-on political diatribe by a DC activist about the Dakota Access Pipeline under the guise of a “the making of” story of a picture book for 3-6-year-olds. After moving him rapidly on to another activity, I looked up the book in question. Titled “We Are Water Protectors,” it is the 2021 Caldecott Medal winner, sort of the Pulitzer prize for children’s picture books. This means that it is prominently featured in just about every public elementary school library in America, and it is a Best Seller on Amazon.
If you have five minutes, you can find YouTube videos of the entire book being read, including one by the author:
It uses obvious religious symbolism, literally describing the pipeline as an evil black snake prophesied by elders to come and destroy the world (see above, from the book). The “making of” video is apparently part of an effort to expand the interest to slightly older children and develop sort of a curriculum around the book. Call me old-fashioned, but I strive to keep politics out of our son’s life until he develops enough knowledge and critical thinking skills to weigh the evidence and form his own opinion on controversial issues. I must, however, be in a small minority, as you can find nary a word of criticism of the book online (aside from my own 1-star Amazon review). In case you missed the message, the book’s final page has a pledge that you are urged to have your child sign.Published in