"Unsafe" = published prior to 1985.
This article reports that the U.S. federal government has begun recommending that children's books published before 1985 should not be considered safe due to lead pigments in some inks, and in some cases they might even be illegal to sell. It's just one of the countless regulations buried in the 500-page law with the obligatorily vague and euphemistic title Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
Children's books. . . interesting. Quite interesting.
There is a text in the Bible that provides ancient wisdom about the importance of what children learn at a young age. Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) reads, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."
And then there have been some people who have said some downright disturbing things about educating children.
The Communist Party in the U.S. in 1919 seemed to recognize the importance of children's education. Their party slogan that year: "Give us one generation of small children to train to manhood and womanhood and we will set up the Bolshevist form of the Soviet Government." (R.M. Whitney, Reds in America, 1970, p. 55)
Hitler also knew the importance of education. In a speech he delivered in 1939, he proclaimed, "When an opponent declares: 'I will not come over to your side,' I calmly say, 'Your child belongs to us already. What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.'" (William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, 1960, p. 249)
The famous philosopher and elitist Bertrand Russell commented, "Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine from a very early age to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible. Even if all are miserable, all will believe themselves to be happy, because the government will tell them that it is so." (John Steinbacker, The Child Seducers, Educator Publications, 1970, p. 76)
Even Lenin also had a thing or two to say about education: "Only by radically remolding the teaching, organization and training of the youth shall we be able to ensure that the efforts of the younger generation will result in the creation of a society that will be unlike the old society, i.e., in the creation of a communist society." (Gary Allen, "Red Teachers," American Opinion, Feb 1970, p. 1)
Congress passed this book-banning law last summer, supposedly as a result of the "scare" over lead paint found on toys manufactured in China. Not to get too conspiratorial here, but do you really believe that's all there is to this story? As the quotes above suggest, having access to children's minds at the youngest age possible is one of the highest priorities of any would-be totalitarian regime.
As Orwell wrote in his dystopian novel 1984, "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." In that novel, remember the pub conversation Winston has with the old man who can almost remember what life was like before the totalitarian government took charge, but whose senile memory keeps failing him? Think about how that ties in to the banning of pre-1985 children's books by the federal government. Is it inconceivable that it doesn't want us to be distracted by "old fashioned" ideas and values that would impede its transformation of the U.S. into a socialist state?