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Dangerous Books for Kids

If you know the secret handshake you can be part of the club. There's a genuinely unbreakable code—it changes every day. Only those wearing eyepatches and carrying a sword will be allowed entrance. Visitors must be blindfolded at least three blocks from the meetingplace and can only be allowed to see if they write their name in blood on an old piece of tree bark.

These are the authorizations you'll find here. Kids left to their own devices (in a good way, not abandoned) will create their own order, and it will generally be a lot more fun and functional than the order so often imposed on them by adults. They form clubs, play sports, fight wars and build robots, things most adults can't remember how to do, so when they find a group of kids they force them to do boring things, like talk about their feelings or build cheap birdhouses.

Adults also seem terrified that children are going to hurt themselves. They're much more afraid of this, in fact, than the children themselves. It may be politically incorrect in our ridiculously feelings-sensitive society to say it, but a little blood and pain never hurt anyone. Kids know this better than adults, who've allowed themselves to be tamed by long years of desk-sitting and television-watching.

A lot of adults are trying to make children just like themselves these days, putting the kiddos at desks and taking away all sharp objects at an age when they should be getting scraped up and building treehouses and blowguns. The books here are meant to aid that process. Some of them are even intended to help dads and moms have fun with their kids (*gasp*) and maybe skin a couple elbows having a mud war with homemade catapults (*faint*). And while you certainly don't need to have a book to have that kind of fun, since increasingly more of us adults don't have a clue how to build a catapult, the titles you'll find in this section can be a big help getting you started.

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