Children’s Book Lists Hitler as Impressive Leader

The New York Times published an article on March 17th that discussed a book titled “Leaders” published in India by Pegasus. On Pegasus’s website, the book’s description says it will discuss 11 leaders from around the world that “will inspire you”. Other leaders that the books talks about are Obama, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. The publishing manager said that they were not saying Hitler was a good leader, but rather just portraying how powerful he was. The article goes on to discuss how Hitler is misunderstood and glorified in many parts of Asia. The main concern is that children reading this book will believe Hitler to be a good person, as some textbooks in Asia do not highlight Hitler’s extermination of Jews instead claiming him to be a prestige, good ruler.

While this book was only published in India, it caught the attention of the American public because it is truly astounding that Hitler could be placed along side some of the greatest politicians and leaders of all time, some of whom are American. In class, we talk a lot about how children should be educated about the Holocaust, and with the number of living survivors declining it becomes increasingly more important that children know of the crimes and atrocities that Hitler committed. To put Hitler on a pedestal with other amazing heroes of the world, children will talk of Hitler as an icon rather than a criminal.

With further research, I found that this book was eventually pulled by the Indian publisher. I have also attached that link here.



4 Replies to “Children’s Book Lists Hitler as Impressive Leader”

  1. The idea of Hitler as one of the great leaders of the world is so odd to think about. I believe it is true that Hitler was an effective leader, and had many strengths such as his public speaking. He was able to gain support for such radical ideas quite easily., so I believe its true that he was “powerful”, but clearly evil. This would definitely be a confusing concept for children.

  2. This really irks me because children’s literature is an area of interest for me, and for some children this could be the only exposure to the Holocaust they will get. I believe it’s really important that we provide correct information to children without giving them more details than is age appropriate, and this clearly is paining the wrong picture.

  3. This is interesting because I think there is a legitimate conversation to be had about Hitler’s strength as a leader. However, its also a conversation that I would argue children aren’t capable of understanding. Though this is purely anecdotal, the first time I was challenged to think about how effective a national leader was as something separate from their politics, was during my first year in college. Before that, leaders and their politics were inseparable. Therefore, leaders were either good or bad based on what they believed and did. So, in that light, one can see how it’s incredibly dangerous to expose children to the idea that Hitler can be admired for anything. Though, as one grows older, you may come to understand his charisma, for example, as a quality that is effective in a leader.

  4. I saw this as well. I found it a bit concerning, but thought about why one would include him as a great leader in a children’s book. Although Smit2384 has a point when saying that the effectiveness and strength of his leadership could be questioned to discuss this, I believe that it shouldn’t be in the context of a children’s book.

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