Karen Kingsbury: ‘Far Too Many’ Children’s Books Include Adult Content: Let Kids ‘Be Kids’

Bestselling author Karen Kingsbury says too many of today’s children’s books include themes that aren’t appropriate for kids and that her newest book does just the opposite by reminding children that “God made you who you are.”

Being Baxters, co-authored by Kingsbury and her son Tyler Russell, follows the lives of the Baxter children (Brooke, Kari, Ashley, Erin and Luke) as they face challenges at home, at school and in their town.  The children’s book is the fifth in a series, although it also works as a stand-alone, Kingsbury says. The target reading age is middle schoolers.

Being Baxters is really a story about identity and embracing who God made you to be – that He doesn’t make mistakes,” Kingsbury told Christian Headlines. “You have unique fingerprints, unique heart, unique future that God has for you.”

Although the story is not set in a specific decade, the era feels “timeless” because the story does not include the Internet or social media, she said. Children will “learn valuable life lessons and what it means to be a good sibling, a good friend, and be true to who God made you to be,” Russell told Christian Headlines.

Too many of today’s children’s books, Kingsbury said, include adult themes. She believes Being Baxters fills a void in the children’s book market.

“There’s far too many books that are including things that are for adults in children’s books,” Kingsbury told Christian Headlines.

It’s important that children are allowed to maintain their innocence and to “just be kids,” she said.

The culture, Kingsbury noted, is divided.

“One side feels that children should be sort of indoctrinated into things that are very above their learning level and understanding level,” Kingsbury said. “And then there’s another side that’s kind of against that. … Let’s give them an alternative that would allow kids to be kids.”

The book is being released “at a time when identity is being called into question,” Kingsbury said.

“It’s just really confusing times for kids,” she added. “So this book will help set their feet on a foundation that says: Yeah, you’re not going to be perfect, but God made you who you are. And embrace that, lean into that, and you are going to find such beautiful joy at the other end and such happiness with your family and with yourself.”

The book also encourages children to be creative and to play outside.

“Their adventures deal with going outside or finding a hidden fort somewhere, or playing in the yard, playing basketball,” Russell said. “… We just thought what a great opportunity to inspire kids to maybe go out and have imaginative adventures.”

Photo courtesy: ©Kate Whitmore, used with permission.

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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