Thursday, October 16, 2014

Kids Library Books

Now that my daughter visits the school library with her class I have little say in what she brings home, all I can hope for is that she is happy with her choice.  Sometimes I wonder how she ends up with the books she brings home... was it purely based on the cover picture... did the mom helping out that day ask her about her interests... are they only allowed to choose from a limited selection?  (Keep in mind she is 5yrs old.)

She's allowed to bring home 3 books every week, and with enthusiasm we read one per night, then revert back to our home collection for the other 4 night time stories a week.  Unfortunately, often, the books don't send the message I hoped.  I'm not looking for profound child philosophy, but more so a nice simple way to explain life to my child.  I noticed this last year at her Dutch school, and thought maybe the problem was my Dutch language skills, that I was picking the wrong books.  But I'm seeing the same problem at her new English speaking school.

Let me give you an example.  (I only chose these because she recently checked them out.)
The Trouble with Dogs - the book starts out great, the family has a naughty dog and they want to do something about it.  They hire someone to come in and teach the dog standard commands, and he is fairly successful.  The family then thinks these rules have sucked the fun out of the dog and decide to quit with the lessons.  Now what exactly is this teaching my child?  To give up?  That animals don't need to be trained?  That's not how things work in our house.
Eat Your Peas - ah, finally book to help my daughter realize how important it is to eat her vegetables.  Oh, not quite.  After multiple tantrums and endless unneeded promises/rewards from the parent the child turns the table and suggests that the mom eats her brussels sprouts.  How did it end?  Neither one ate their vegetables!  What is this teaching my child?  Bribes are an option?  Back talk is o.k.?  That if you flip out long enough mom will give up?

I'm not putting down the authors, I find writing children's book to be quite difficult.  It has to be simple, light hearted, and yet still send a good message, and hopefully a laugh along the way.  I'm more so just wondering why they ended the way they did.  I feel in life, if you don't like it, don't subject yourself to it.  (This goes way beyond books.)  But see, like I said, I don't have a choice in the books she happily brings home.  At least they opened up a good conversation, about how things work different in every home, and how things work in our home.

It wasn't just these books.... last year I remember checking out a book to help her get through nightmares.  What happens?  The tough kid gets scared, the book is full of scary drawings, and inevitably just upset her more.  There was also the book about feeling left out and making friends, in the end it offered no real solution a child could relate to.  I checked out a book about bullying, and again there was no real message by the end of the book.  It makes me wish I could write my own children's books, but like I mentioned, it's harder than you think.

Maybe I'm wishing she brought home fables... maybe I should pre-screen the books better... or maybe authors should think about the end result.  Again, I'm not bashing anyone, just raising awareness.  Any of you run into these issues?

Bye! Dag! Adios! Namaste!
:) Danica

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