by Associated Press
Monday, November 27, 2006 - Updated: 02:26 PM EST
NEW YORK - Unhappy with the children’s books on the market, a Brooklyn criminal court judge has written a picture book that uses a horticultural metaphor to deplore the perils of unchecked immigration.
In “The Hot House Flowers,” self-published by Judge John H. Wilson, an envious dandelion releases her seeds into a hothouse, where they grow and eventually use up so much water and food that there’s none left for the plants that were already there.
In the end, the master of the hothouse - clearly standing for God - removes the dandelions, and when the original dandelion tries to send more seeds in, the hothouse flowers trample the seeds so they can’t grow.
“I didn’t like a lot of the children’s literature that I’ve seen,” Wilson said Monday. “I really wanted to have something that discusses values that I think parents should want to convey to their children.”
An advocate for immigrants called the book troubling, while a spokesman for the Minuteman Project, a volunteer border patrol group, praised it.
“I think it’s irresponsible for someone to write a children’s book like this - one that poisons the minds of impressionable young readers with the idea that immigrants are to blame for the world’s ills,” said Norman Eng, a spokesman for the New York Immigration Coalition. “Children are not in a position to see through the bias conveyed in this story.”
But Tim Bueler, a spokesman for the Minuteman Project, said the book “gives a great insight to children and families on the issue of illegal immigration.”
Wilson, a Conservative Party member who was originally elected as a civil court judge in the Bronx in 2004, said his own 4-year-old son likes the book.
“He’s getting the idea of the story, that you have to defend your home, you have to defend your country,” Wilson said.
An ethics panel ruled in 1999 that New York state judges are allowed to write fiction as long as they don’t use their judicial position to promote it.
Wilson said the rules would not allow him to publish a nonfiction book about immigration.
“Judges can’t make comments on topics that might appear before them,” he said. “I’m not commenting on any topic. This is not a political work.”
“The Hot House Flowers” has been on Amazon since Nov. 6, Wilson said. It is priced at $15.99.
Wilson said an unspecified portion of the proceeds from the book would benefit a scholarship fund set up at Pace University School of Law to honor Lance Cpl. Michael Glover, who was killed in Iraq in August while on leave from the school.
© Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.