Maggie Goes On A Diet – A Children’s Book that Crosses the Line?

There’s a new children’s picture book hitting the shelf in October, but I’m not rushing to the store to buy it.
Maggie Goes On A Diet
by Paul M. Kramer

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A book about a 14 year old obese girl who is constantly teased every day, ridiculed for being fat, has no friends, confides in food to comfort her, but only dreams of being skinny. She then starts exercising and eating right and eventually loses the weight and instantly makes new friends and becomes the soccer star. Everybody likes her. 

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Is this what we want to teach our children? That if we were skinnier we would be liked more? 

When my niece was 10 or 11, I had a notebook she wrote in and I would provide a new question everyday. This helped with her writing and I enjoyed reading what she had to say. One day, the question was ‘What are 3 things you like about yourself, and 3 things you want to change’ and one of her answers was that she wished not to be fat. 
I was sad when I read that. She wasn’t fat. She was a little chubby, but when I was talking to her the other day about how unhealthy it was to be eating a handful of junk food, or 3 sandwhiches for lunch, she took it literally. Did she think I was calling her fat? 
Children are so literal, we need to be aware of what we teach them and how we do it. Each child is different, this is something i believe would be better TALKED ABOUT by the caregiver. 
After all, as children hit growth spurts, aren’t they supposed to get taller and leaner? That’s what I did. 
I then had to sit her down and talk to her about her sketchbook and why she felt the say she did. I explained that she was not fat. That if she kept eating the way she did, and not taking care of her body, that she could end up chubby, but she’s beautiful, no matter what she looks like. 

This is the message that we are supposed to be sending our children. That it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Why must looks be so important? 

Eating disorders in children under 12 have increased by 119% in the past decade – abc news
Over half of little girls ages 3 – 5 think they are fat, but how is that a surprise, when we have shows like ‘Toddlers in Tiaras’ and infant onsies that say things like “don’t feed the model” & “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” 

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What about the children who have disorders, who can’t help but be ‘big boned’? Does this book mention that? Or does it give children the impression that you are fat because you eat too much? 

It is our job as parents to teach our children to be accepting, and tolerant of others, to love one another, but that job becomes so difficult when you have commercials, movies, radio, school, and now children’s books, teaching them that looking good will get you far in life, everyone will want to be your friend if you are skinny.

What are your thoughts? Do you think the author has gone too far?


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Filed under Books, Bullies, child care, child safety, Maggie Goes On A Diet, Obese, Parenting, Paul M. Kramer

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