Books and TV shows which portray gang activity in a positive light are set to be banned from schools in England and Wales.
The move was unveiled by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith as part of a £5m package of new measures to tackle the rise in youngsters joining brutal street gangs.
More and younger teenagers are now thought to be running with the gangs in Britain's inner cities, a development which is increasing violent crime among youths.
But the Home Secretary has stepped in after learning that information about setting up and joining gangs was readily available from school libraries.
She said: "I wasn't aware of the problem until my own daughter came home from school clutching what can only be described as a gang manual. It related stories of gang membership, how they were organised and what they got up to.
"I was sickened to discover that any child can get their hands on this information just by visiting the library."
Ms Smith said the book - called 'The Famous Five' - shocked her: "It was about feral children, running about all over the place, tormenting adults while high on drugs. They kept going on about 'lashings of ginger beer', which I can only assume is some sort of street slang for a new and dangerous type of drug. These books must be banned."
And the problem is not confined to books. TV shows aimed at children have a corrupting influence too, according to child justice groups. Nigel Spiderman, who runs a youth project in London, said: "These programmes revel in glorifying these so-called gangs. I watched one recently that showed a gang of pesky kids driving around in a pimped up vehicle they called the Mystery Machine, breaking into houses with their talking dog. Such programmes can only lead children directly to criminal activity so I welcome the Home Secretary's intervention."