Apocalyptic and "Rapture" Fiction for Kids

In the late ’90s, Harry Potter burst onto the literary scene amid controversy. Many parents, Christians in particular, would not let their children read Harry Potter because of witchcraft motifs. However, when asked to provide alternative choices and reading assignments for their kids, some Christian parents advocated that they read series like Left Behind: The Kids.

This caused confusion for teachers, administrators, and some other parents because Left Behind: The Kids runs on the premise that a group of teens must live on their own and survive a totalitarian, one-world government after their parents and younger family members disappeared with no explanation. Such a premise was deemed much scarier and sometimes more inappropriate than Harry Potter or similar books like Lord of the Rings, particularly because the teens were "left behind" due to a lack of religious belief (or the right kind of religious belief, as in, they knew *about* Christ but made no personal commitment to Him).

Discuss how and when apocalyptic or "rapture" fiction is appropriate for kids. How young is too young? How should writers handle, or not handle, the content? How might religious writers in particular get their message across without resorting to scare tactics and leaving possible conversion as a free choice? And, why do you think some parents or teachers are eager to let kids/students read this kind of fiction, but remain so cagey about magic-based fiction/fiction in that neighborhood?

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