Minnesota professor objects to classic children’s books because they don’t address climate change

“The wild world my favorite books had encouraged me to love has been under assault," Minnesota professor Paul Bogard wrote in a recent opinion piece.

Unsplash/Benigno Hoyuela

A Minnesota professor recently debated in an editorial published by The New York Times whether it is “fair” to read his daughter classic children’s books because they are set in a natural world that is now “vanishing.”

Paul Bogard, an associate professor of English at Hamline University in St. Paul, wrote in a recent opinion piece, “The wild world my favorite books had encouraged me to love has been under assault.”

The books he refers to are “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Swimmy,” “The Story of Babar,” “A Snowy Day,” and “Make Way for Ducklings.”

“I found myself wondering if reading these books to my daughter would in a way be a lie,” Bogard writes. “Was it fair to tell her stories of healthy ecosystems and the steady seasons to which we’ve become accustomed?”

Bogard claims he experiences a “steady undercurrent of ‘solastalgia,’” which he describes as “distress caused by environmental change.”

Bogard writes that roughly two-thirds of the world’s wildlife has been lost, and oceans are “increasingly imperiled.” He wonders whether the world will continue to have snow or if the seasons will be further affected by climate change. He writes that North America has lost almost three billion birds in the past 50 years.

The Daily Wire points out that Bogard could be referencing a 2020 report from the group World Wildlife Fund, which claimed that 68% of the world’s wildlife was destroyed between 1970 and 2016.

World Wildlife Fund also reported the endangerment of polar bears as early as 2008, when the global polar bear population was, in reality, growing significantly at the time and had risen by 30% from 2005-2017, according to the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

The Daily Wire makes note of another false claim by the World Wildlife Fund; the group claimed that its push for a new national park in the Congo happened with the approval of indigenous people in the area. However, a Buzzfeed investigation revealed the indigenous Baka people’s opposition to the park and the World Wildlife Fund’s knowledge of this fact.

Bogard continues with a story of a friend whose child no longer wants to hear stories of animals because it “makes [him] sad that they are disappearing.”

“With an actual child on her way, I wondered about telling her stories of a world diminished,” Bogard writes.

Other children’s books have been subjected to cancel culture for using “racist” undertones and “insensitive” imagery, namely, six of Dr. Seuss’s famed books.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises stopped selling six books in March, claiming the books “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”

Some research has even claimed that “The Cat in the Hat” was “inspired by blackface performance, racist images in popular culture, and actual African Americans,” American Greatness reported.