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16 Children's Books You Didn't Know Were Anti-Authoritarian


Alice and Queen 1


I wrote this list for FEE.org back in December, but I realize that it has never been more appropriate or more necessary than right now. Enjoy:




Kids solving problems and getting out of predicaments on their own without the help of adults (indeed, often with their hindrance) is a common theme in children's literature. But some books go even farther, diving straight into outright anti-authoritarianism. Good for them—if you're going to impart moral lessons in children's literature (not always a good idea), why not impart the ones that are most sorely neglected in the real world?

Here are sixteen that stand out:


1. Snow Treasure

The kids are the heroes in this thrilling WWII story, based on real events. Nazi troops have occupied a small Norwegian village. The townspeople fear that they will steal all of their savings—nine million dollars worth of gold—but they have no way of getting it to safety . . . except for a bunch of kids on sleds. An action-packed look at finding creative ways to work around official control and theft.


2. The Toothpaste Millionaire

Young entrepreneurs figure out how to make a better, cheaper, toothpaste, and become wildly successful. They also learn about corporate malfeasance when one of the big players doesn't like the competition. Fun for the whole family! (Unless you're a corrupt toothpaste dynasty family.)


3. Pippi Longstocking

Beloved Pippi is a nine-year-old girl with extraordinary strength and no parents, which is "…of course very nice because there was no one to tell her to go to bed just when she was having the most fun…" When the police come to take Pippi away to a children's home, she tells them she already has one, and then plays tag with them, traps them on her roof, and sends them away with cookies.


4. Charlotte's Web

Just because something is in print doesn't mean it's true. And controlling what people believe is one of the greatest tools of every authoritarian. Even a little spider knows that.


5. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has come under the control of the Ministry of Magic, and students are prohibited from learning the magical skills they will need to defend themselves against evil.

Harry Potter and his friends decide to take matters into their own hands, forming a secret group and teaching each other the skills they need. This volume contains one of the best ever depictions of a petty, vindictive, authoritarian personality, in the deliciously detestable Dolores Umbridge.


...read the rest of the list here.