Kathy Schiffer is a Catholic blogger. In addition to her blog Seasons of Grace, her articles have appeared in the National Catholic Register, Aleteia, Zenit, the Michigan Catholic, Legatus Magazine, and other Catholic publications. She’s worked for Catholic and other Christian ministries since 1988, as radio producer, director of special events and media relations coordinator. Kathy and her husband, Deacon Jerry Schiffer, have three adult children.
The devil is a copycat. While most children's books have a noble goal – to teach, to inspire, to entertain – Satan himself seems to have guided the writing of some new books which are flying off the shelves, encouraging young children to pursue evil.
One of the most popular titles among those who would teach their children to dabble in devilry is A Children's Book of Demons. Since its release in July 2019, the book has been a big hit – selling out on Amazon and currently unavailable through most retailers. The book’s marketers say that it's written for 5- to 10-year-olds; the author, occultist Aaron Leighton, explains that it directs kids to “conjure gentle demons by writing their sigils, which serve as a ‘phone number’ straight to the spirit.”
One wishes that one could just laugh it off, without taking the book's diabolical theme too seriously. Retailers seem determined to do that: Barnes & Noble advertises A Children's Book of Demons as “more silly than scary;” Publisher's Weekly has called it “playful.” In reality, though, summoning demons to help with your homework or get you out of household chores is every bit as dangerous as seeking information with the aid of a Ouija board or a psychic.
But the odd attraction to Satanist practices for children doesn't end there. Besides A Children's Book of Demons, a quick check at Amazon turned up some other titles which are just as disconcerting: Demon Dentist and Demon and Devil Stories for Kids and Baphomet and Friends: The Satanic Coloring Book.
Why in the world would any parent (or teacher or beloved Great Aunt Mary) intentionally expose a child to such great evil?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2216) offers a clear warning against attempts to contact Satan or other demons:
All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.
And while the author, the publisher and the bookseller may shrug off the conjuring as mere child’s play, the Catholic Church warns that the devil is real, and that he wants to harm us and to lead us away from our Creator.
In August 2017, during production of New Line Cinema’s horror film Annabelle: Creation, it was my privilege to interview the exorcist for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Father Robert (his surname is kept confidential because of the nature of his work). A priest for more than 10 years and an experienced exorcist, Father Robert understood that what children read and what they see on the TV screen can inspire them to greater faithfulness or, conversely, can lead them into the sordid world of the occult, even opening them to demonic possession. He talked about the unintended consequences when children or adults open the door to demonic activity. “Oftentimes,” he said, “[demon possession] begins because kids get curious after reading Harry Potter.” He explained that kids want the unusual powers that they see depicted on the screen, or in the pages of a book.
Whether A Children’s Book of Demons is regarded by the uninformed as simply humorous and entertaining, or whether it is a manipulative effort on the part of Satanists to invade the privacy of the home and the classroom, it should have no place on your bookshelf. God is good, but evil is real. And if you’re shopping for entertaining titles that deserve a place of honor on your child's bookshelf, consider instead one of the following titles:
- Where Is Jesus? My First Words in Search of God by Augustine Gadient and Hengjing Zang
- Thank You, Lord: My First Words in Praise of God.
Ages 3 and Up:
- Jesus Invites Me to Mass by Sabine du Mesnil with illustrations by Gemma Román.
- You Are Loved by Charlotte Grossetête and Maurèen Poignonec
- Mozart: Gift of God by Demi
- George Washington: His Legacy of Faith, Character and Courage by Demi
Ages 7 and Up:
- Stories of the Blessed Sacrament by Francine Bay and Hengjing Zang
- The Life of Jesus According to Saint Luke by Sophie de Mullenheim, Fabienne Py-Renaude, Christophe Raimbault, Francois Campagnac and Adeline Avril.
And to give older children a model to emulate, I heartily recommend:
- Saint José: Boy Cristero Martyr by Kevin McKenzie, L.C.