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Children and Fools Tell the Truth


Who do you consult if you want to know the truth? According to an old proverb, it’s children and fools, although the point of the saying, children and fools tell the truth is to reproach the allegedly immature groups for being less aware of social politeness maxims. Children and fools are apparently not critical truth-tellers: They tell the truth both when they should and shouldn’t. Through a different social lens, though, children’s noncritical truth-telling might be judged as pure or innocent or even a head-on factual confrontation with the truth.


In fact, some of life’s most difficult themes are explored in children’s books, and since this Saturday, April 2nd is International Children’s Book Day, it’s a great time to reread some of your favorite children’s books. Last Mothering Sunday, I was spoiled with a dinner and some pressies, among which was an old favorite of children’s books: Finnish writer Tove Jansson’s The Moomins and the Great Flood. A funny little precursor to the commercialized Moomin brand, the story is about how Moomintroll and Moominmamma find a tulip that lights their way through a dangerous forest in their journey to find and save Moominpappa. I was amazed to find how relevant the Moomin allegory is in our world today, especially when I learned that Jansson wrote this story in the final days of WWII.


Feeling grateful for the children’s books that have shined a light through some of my dark forests, I wish everyone a very happy April Fool’s and International Children’s Book Day!

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