Welcome to the Land of Hungry Mutt
We at Hungry Mutt have a shared dream: To create a land of captivating characters and stories to entertain and inspire children. And to take a bite out of the growing violence in children’s books and media.
Strong conflicts, master storyteller Walt Disney said, are the necessary ingredients for stories. Absolutely. Without them, stories wouldn’t be stories. But in the Land of Hungry Mutt, characters seek to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence, as Mowgli did in Disney’s The Jungle Book by setting the tiger on fire.
Exposing children to violence makes them more prone to aggression, bullying, fear and depression, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. A landmark study found that children see 200,000 acts of violence before turning 18, and that was before the dawn of technologies like tablets and gaming platforms. Now, with the advent of interactive first-person shooter games, the Academy of Family Physicians warned that players are turned into “virtual perpetrators.”
Hungry Mutt seeks to help reverse this trend by deglamorizing violence. By sparking children’s creativity. By encouraging them to think outside the box and explore ways of resolving conflict peacefully. And by helping them see that while conflict is a necessary ingredient for a good story, violence is not. You may ask, will our attempt, however dogged, have a chance of making a difference? Truthfully, we don’t know.
What we do know is that the stakes are too high to do nothing. Studies show just how much the media influences children’s character, their choices, who they aspire to be, what values they hold, what they believe, how they resolve conflict.
And to be sure, we’re up against media goliaths more interested in profits than our children, considering how often they present violence as fun and exciting and humorous.
If you share Hungry Mutt’s dreams and concerns, we hope you’ll join us as a watchdog and advocate for kids – spreading the word, supporting our work, sniffing out and recommending good children’s books, films and games that we can promote.
Together, we can try to make our kids’ world a little more kind and a little less violent. Together, we can try to make a difference. Day by day. Book by book. As best we can.
Would you like to join us?