A colorful children’s book with scary pictures aimed at warning young kids in Cyprus about the coronavirus pandemic has been criticized by organized parents, with officials now calling on the education ministry to give an explanation.
Commissioner for Children's Rights Despo Michaelidou says she has received complaints from parents of young pupils regarding a book called “No you won’t enter our bodies through the nose,” an illustrated story about an invasion of scary tiny creatures from another planet.
Colorful illustrations of scary creatures and persistent attack scenarios are reportedly included in the book, published in Greece last year and adopted by the Greek Cypriot education ministry, with local educational psychologist Ifygeneia Styilanou saying it could have been okay for teenagers but not young kids.
'We cannot lay blame exclusively on any author... but we as adults, parents, educators, and school principals have to scrutinize content that ends up in the hands of children'
“We cannot lay blame exclusively on any author who writes a book aimed at informing, especially an author with a particular creative and alternative way of thinking, but we as adults, parents, educators, and school principals have to scrutinize the content of this information that ends up in the hands of children,” Styilanou said.
The expert said she did not only see an issue of whether the book was suitable for young readers but went on to question the way “it was selected by people in charge to make it available to young children who are not ready to comprehend it, with the instruction ending up terrorizing them,” Stylianou said.
Other pages included references to an attack plan where the intruders would enter through the noses of children and then attack their grandparents as soon as they get a chance.
Back in December, reports said many parents in Greece took the book away from their kids upon returning home from school, citing “grotesque images” that scared young children.
The book in Cyprus was reportedly provided to children in kindergarten as well as preschoolers and students attending first elementary grade.
“This is why education in higher grades gets more complex as children grow, that’s why complex arithmetic operations and physics or chemistry are not taught before primary school age,” Stylianou said.