SALTWATER TAFFY and the Culture of Violence
The culture of violence in America is killing our children…literally. As a children’s book author, I have always believed in the ideal ‘if you build it, they will come.’ The question I have is, why do children respond to the culture of violence in our socity more than they do to a theme of inspiration or adventure?
While we have been a mildly successful award-winning adventure book for tweens by selling 5000 copies of Saltwater Taffy across the country, it appears in order to enjoy best-selling success, you either needshock and awe, controversy, violence, a bank roll for national PR, or you need some type of celebrity to get noticed.
As the author of Saltwater Taffy, I cannot engage in any of these ‘media hooks’ to gain attention, nor do I have a huge bankroll to buy national attention. The brand of Saltwater Taffy is one of family entertainment without all the violence. Why can’t a children’s book be wholesome, morally responsible, filled with adventure and achieve best-seller status or gain national media attention in our culture? Are we barking up the wrong tree? Am I a dreamer who’s lost touch with society he lives in?
Do we really need violence in children’s books to hook more and more readers? I’m not talking about censorship here, I’m talking about the runaway violence we see in products created for children. Is it really necessary to become successful?
In the opening pages of Neil Gaimen’s The Graveyard Book (Newberry Medal winner recognizing the years best in children’s books) the infant’s entire family is murdered. Hunger Games, which is more Young Adult than a children’s book, is a story about children killing children. Both of these books are runaway best sellers, but what are we teaching our children with these types of books? For that matter, what are all these First Person Shooter games teaching our children? This is a hot topic because people feel it’s the parents job to keep their children from products with so much violence, but doesn’t it feel like we are failing?
Imagine if millions could see the work we are doing with children across the country, which can be seen on the Saltwater Taffy YouTube channel. Unfortunately, however, the world we live in doesn’t ‘share’ these types of videos or have a desire to even watch a video where children are taught the importance of listening inward, more than they listen outward. Sadly, we live in a society that is addicted to the fantastical world of tabloids fodder, controversy and the train wreck of the week.
Imagine a world where inspiration captured the hearts and minds of the masses. Imagine a world where a school visit video, where children are taught to believe in themselves, suddenly went viral and eclipsed the consumption habit of controversy. This isn’t a bid for virility, but a bid for conversation and my desire to reach and inspire as many children as I can.
One of the many great things we have going for us is that when the light of attention does shine on Saltwater Taffy, we hear about it through letters and emails from parents, teachers and children across the country. This is why we continue of this road of adventure and inspiration, but we need your help.
If you know of a child who loves adventure, needs a dose of inspiration or has missed the ‘joy of reading,’ please tell them about Saltwater Taffy.
I truly believe Saltwater Taffy can help a child grow into the person they are meant to be by teaching them to leave behind the habits of worry, doubt and fear. I truly believe that kids should BE DIFFERENT in order to UNLEASH THEIR TALENTS and GIFTS on the world. And, I truly believe every kids should learn the Saltwater Taffy motto of – ‘what other people think of me is none of my business.’