How to talk to small kids about big issues like border walls

Most adults would probably prefer to let children be innocents for as long as possible rather than broach difficult topics, like borders, walls, and the ruling of kingdoms and countries.

But kids hear things. They get suspicious about grownups whispering. They catch fragments of conversations and news reports and are curious. Sheltering them forever isn’t really an option. Nor is blasting them with all the harsh facts of reality. So what’s an adult to do when difficult topics, like for example the US-Mexico border wall, dominate the news, kids are confused, and maintaining total blissful innocence is no longer possible?

A new book offers answers. The Wall: A Timeless Tale, by Giancarlo Macri and Carolina Zotti, with illustrations by Mauro Sacco and Elisa Vallarino, was originally published in Italy in 2018 and will be released on July 9 in the US by Happy Fox Publishing. It’s a bright, humorous, and lively book with a sweet and very simple style designed to facilitate conversation about complex issues, educate, and entertain without causing kids or grownups too much pain.

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