Written by Daniel J. Solove • Illustrated by Ryan Beckwith
(Griffin Press 2020)
In a faraway land, a stranger arrives with promises of greater security in exchange for sacrificing privacy. His name is The Eyemonger, and he has 103 eyes. With the help of flying eye creatures, he spies on everybody. But his plan soon starts to go wrong. His constant watching makes people feel uncomfortable and stifles their creativity. When people complain, The Eyemonger asks: “Do you have something to hide?” The Eyemonger eventually encounters an artist who resists his surveillance and teaches him an important lesson about the value of privacy.
The Eyemonger is an illustrated children’s book by the internationally renowned privacy expert, Daniel J. Solove. The book discusses the importance of privacy in a way that children can understand. It is one of the few (if only) books for children on the topic of privacy. Ryan Beckwith’s rich and detailed illustrations create a fascinating gothic world of curiosity and wonder.
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“Solove debuts in children’s literature with an age-appropriate, delightfully illustrated story concerned with issues of privacy. . . . Solove’s underlying theme and catchy rhymes sit perfectly on the cusp of children’s and middle-grade reading levels, and Beckwith’s eye-catching and brilliantly detailed illustrations will inspire young imaginations to soar. Solove’s background in privacy law is on clear display through the clever manipulation of the Eyemonger-who preaches “If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”-until he at last understands that inspiration and creativity come to a standstill under his vigilance. . . . Beckwith’s evocative illustrations create a gaslit, vaguely steampunk mood that will remind readers of classic adventure tales even as the story takes on complex themes of consent and creativity. Despite the divergence from more traditional storybook lessons, the concept of government overreach presented in this uniquely cautionary fantasy will educate children and their caregivers as well.”
– Publisher’s Weekly Book Life
“A well-crafted, important social tale with real-world relevance. . . . Solove expertly underscores the importance of personal privacy in a way that young readers will understand. . . . Beckwith’s appealing illustrations skillfully mirror the story’s mood.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“This is the perfect gift and joy to read with your kids–full of whimsy and fun and gosh life lessons. This book will start a conversation with your kids that I know you will continue for a lifetime about what it means to have some privacy in our lives. Beautifully done.”
– D.K. Citron, Distinguished Professor in Law, University of Virginia School of Law
“I love this book – and I wish there were more books like this for children that explain security, surveillance, and privacy. The illustrations were gorgeous, and multi-faceted – every time I open the book I see one more thing I hadn’t seen before. The prose is fun, quick, and whimsical.”
– Katelyn Ringrose, Future of Privacy Forum
“Our 9 year old *loved* this book. It has beautiful illustrations and is fun to read out loud. Most importantly, this book does a really excellent job explaining why our privacy is valuable and why some people might not fully appreciate it.”
– Woodrow Hartzog, Professor of Law and Computer Science, Northeastern University School of Law
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