I was given the task of selecting library books for my daughter to read, “can I have 3 big books to read please” she said. So I swoop up some titles that fall loosely into categories I think she likes: jokes, ghost stories and animals. All get the seal of approval apart from the title in the animals category, ‘Moon Bear’ by Gill Lewis.
I start to read the first chapter for my daughter’s bedtime read and it ends with boys trying to steal cubs for money. The following day, my daughter reads-on by herself then later that evening I offer to read some of the story for bedtime but she doesnt want me to continue with the book, ‘it is too scary Mum, you should have read the blurb at the back’. This prompts me to spin the book round to read the back cover and I then see her point, it is about bear bile farming in Vietnam and nearby areas and the extreme cruelty the bears suffer.
My daughter doesnt want to read about animals in suffering and directs her anger at the bears’ treatment and story at the author. I explain to her that we should be glad the author is bringing the plight of the moon bears to our attention, as otherwise they would suffer in silence with no help of rescue. I also referred her to the children’s section of Animals Asia and how my daughter could get involved in helping the bears.
I know she wont read the rest of the book because she finds it too upsetting, but I know she will want to help via the website – a fine example of how books and the internet can help empower young people so they dont become like so many in our society of being a helpless consumer of bad news and sad stories.
This blog is for Unicef.
Thanks for reading.