Book Review – Punk Books For Kids


One of the toughest things for the still weird is explaining to their kids (or grandkids) about punk or the other sub-cultures that remain a big part of our lives. This gets easier with books written specifically for kids, and there are a small handful that do a great job of explaining different aspects of the scene in different ways.

punkkidhappyHappy Punks 1 2 3 by John Seven & Jana Christy ** is a bright and colourful introduction to punk. Geared to younger readers, the book’s purpose is to teach counting, but does a great job of celebrating the punk scene and its original diversity and openness with a number of colourful characters and situations. The punks go thrifting, hang posters for a show, and go to a concert. The text is simple, yet captures the punk attitude, and Christy’s vibrantly-coloured images evoke the fun and excitement of the scene.


punkkidanarchyA Rule Is to Break: A Child’s Guide to Anarchy, also by John Seven and Jana Christy may or may not be the perfect book for a rebellious toddler. Encouraging kids to question authority, bounce around to The Ramones and be nice to people only if they’re nice to you; in the wrong hands, it could make the terrible twos a rotten place for any parent trying to teach rules and manners to a kid. It captures a certain spirit though, and would be a great book for a family that spends a lot of time discussing what they’re reading so that kids understand that while SOME rules are to break, others are there to keep them safe.


punkkidwhatisWhat Is Punk? by Eric Morse and Anny Yi is a terrific book that explains the birth of the punk scene via iambic verse and Play-Doh models. With figures of the The Clash, Iggy Pop crowd-surfing (“Iggy never wore a shirt, not ever!”) and the outside of the iconic punk venue CBGBs, it’s a fun and engaging history lesson to teach kids about the importance of the music.


punkkidknowWhat Every Child Needs to Know About Punk Rock by R. Bradley Snyder and Marc Engelsgjerd is more encyclopedic and would be great for an older child, as it talks about the philosophy behind the punk scene, questioning authority, valuing creativity and individuality, and not prioritizing material wealth. Images are colourful graphics and photos, including photos of bands from back in the day.

On one hand, I feel as if there should be a lot more books for kids about punk and other sub-cultures, but the ones that do exist are all great and the quartet above would be a great primer for any kid until they’re old enough to read adult-oriented books on the subject.

**Author’s note – As a matter of disclosure, I have been friends with John Seven and Jana Christy for many years, and while I’d support anything they created because they are awesome, talented people, I recommend these two titles with complete confidence, having bought both for my own niece.

This article originally appeared on Still Weird Zine.