What sorts of books do you let your preschool kids read? Here’s one for you: “Maggie Goes On A Diet” by Paul M. Kramer. Maggie is an obese 14-year-old girl who is unpopular in school. In order to get back at the other kids, she goes on a diet and loses the weight. As she gets skinnier, students start liking her and she makes friends. The author says he wrote it for teens, but Amazon.com lists this rhyming picture book in the 4-8 years age bracket. What teen would read a rhyming picture book, anyway? Who in their right mind thought this was a good message for kids? Lose weight so people like you? I don’t think so.
My husband and I heard about this book on CNN and couldn’t believe our ears. Why the heck should young kids read—or be read—books about losing weight? This is destructive to their developing self-esteems. Girls tend to become weight conscious anyway. To tell them that losing weight will make them popular makes matters worse.
I’m certainly not against healthy eating. As parents, it’s our responsibility to feed our children healthy, nutritious, and balanced meals. If obesity is a problem in our homes, families can make changes to their lifestyles by preparing healthier meals, cutting out junk food, and exercising together. Under no circumstance should young children be told to “diet.” This is a very body conscious country we live in and we do not need to worsen this problem. I heard on CNN that 80% of girls think about dieting by the time they are 10-years-old. As grown women, we think about weight, dieting, and body-image every day! It’s about time we stand up and end this garbage once and for all.
How about instead of teaching our children that they need to lose weight or look a certain way in order to be popular, we teach them to love themselves for the people they are? How about we teach them to be proud of their gifts? Why does Maggie have to be skinny to develop a positive self-image? The book’s summary states, “Maggie has so much potential that has been hiding under her extra weight.” What the hell? This is a terrible, terrible message to teach to our kids. In my humble opinion, Maggie should find friends who like her for the person she is and she should focus on discovering her passions and strengths. Our potential doesn’t “hide” under our weight.
I’ve written a lot of book reviews over the years, and this book receives my most scalding critique. Do not waste your money or time on it, and don’t damage your children by reading them this garbage.
- ‘Diet’ picture book for girls: Bad message or positive? (msnbc.msn.com)
- Outrage over rhyming ‘diet’ book for kids (parentcentral.ca)
- Outrage Explodes Over Rhyming ‘Diet’ Picture Book (abcnews.go.com)
- Outrage explodes over rhyming `diet’ picture book (sfgate.com)
- Outrage explodes over rhyming `diet’ picture book (seattletimes.nwsource.com)