Amanda Jolley

Studio Joy

Disappointed in the library

My daughter won a prize! Both my kids enroll in the summer reading program at the library because they enjoy the coupons they receive as rewards. My daughter was also entered in a drawing for each hour she read, and she won.

Her prize was 4 Royals baseball tickets and the an autographed hardback, The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. On the cover of the book is a seal displaying the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature from the American Library Association. And the first three sentences of the book:

“Froggy Welsh the Fourth is trying to get up my shirt.
This is the third Monday that he’s come over to my apartment after school. Every week we go a little further…”

My daughter will not be reading this. We all agree (including her) that it is not worth her time, nor would there be any edification in reading it. 

My opinion is that the library could have done much better in their selection of literature as a prize. How about a classic? Or a thought provoking novel about current events that does not include some boy putting his hand up the girl’s shirt? I’m sure the library’s position is that this is the sort of novel to which teens relate. This in itself is a sad statement to the drivel our children are expected to read and are being raised to enjoy. And I am glad to say that my teen cannot relate.

So, I’d love to hear how you would handle this. I know what we plan on doing with the book, but would love to hear other viewpoints.

0 Comments on “Disappointed in the library”

  1. I can’t really engage since I’m just borrowing someone else’s laptop, but I have one word to say for now,

  2. I have read your post at least 3 times today in my online peeks throughout the day and I am still as repulsed now as I was when I read it earlier. Unfortunately, I truly believe that our culture has lost a sense of division between age levels. Little girls are encouraged to dress like big girls and even within literature what is now passing as award winning literature gives little thought to the mental growth and development of our young ones.

    I do hope that you share your family’s feelings with the Director of the library, your local council person, mayor, state reps, and congressional reps. Also, the American Library Association.

  3. How sad. First, the title is offensive. Second, it amazes me that someone actually chose that as a gift for a child, that they actually put thought into it and said “let’s pick THIS one”. I would definitely go to the library and talk to the director, at the very least. It may not change anything, but maybe they will give it more thought before they do it again.

  4. Ok, that is ridiculous. First of all, nice title – I think even just in the title we can see that it is inappropriate. Next, uhm…why did it win an award? It doesn’t sound in the least bit “Educational” in the sense that these books usually are, and third, you have got to be freakin’ kidding me about the first lines of the books!

    Our children participated in one in our area too. (we also won Cardinals tickets). My two oldest got to choose a book twice – once because they completed 24 hours of reading and once because they wrote a review on a book that they read. Both times they were able to choose the book that they wanted, and the books were “classics”. So it wasn’t like they were going to find a piece of garbage amongst it.

    I don’t understand the library and why that would have been a prize. *shaking head*

  5. I definitely would take this up with the Director of the Library, find out who signs their checks–and take it up with them. I would also read the entire book to find out what is actually in it.

  6. You know, I have to agree. We did the summer library reading program locally, and the kids got to choose from a selection of books after they read a set number of books (of their choice)on a list. They could do up to five lists. Dog-loving daughter read four lists, and sometimes the book selection was quite dubious. She didn’t pick anything questionable, and she would have read anyway, but, it is sad that the library has such low standards.

    Did I say anything? No. I am still quite thankful that we get to use the library *FOR FREE*, and I think it is just a sad reflection of our society. I don’t have the time or energy to fight it on a grand scale.

    Once she even had a book on hold, and the book that came was some trash-romance novel that just happened to have the same name as a children’s novel that was quite tame that she wanted. When I walked up to the counter and took a look at the cover, I said, “I don’t think that’s the right book.”

    The librarian laughed and said, “Oh, I’m so glad. You restored my faith in humanity today!”

    It is hard to tell who is making the choices on these “gift” selections. Perhaps a better question might be to ask who is making the selections, and is there a way to influence their choices.

    Just my thoughts.

  7. Well, I did look a little further into this book last night. It gets worse, not better. It promotes promiscuity to “fit in.” There is even a list of rules that in essence states that a chubby girl must give even more sexually to make up for her size!

    Yes, I’ll be drafting a letter. My first target is the Director of the Library. We’ll see where it goes from there. I think sending it to the American Library Association is an excellent idea.

    Thanks for all your input. Appreciated.

  8. We were just reading a very excellent and touching book titled “Who Owns The Sun?” and I was surprised to find out that the author was 14 when she wrote it. Wow! Our children are so capable of greatness and yet society dumb them down by such writings.

    This reminds me of the quote Sandi asked me about: “For lack of biblical conviction, you’ll go the way of culture.” And look where the culture is now! Sad.

    But I’m thankful for parents like you, Amanda, and your commenters, and for thoughtful children like yours- they are the ones who could make a difference now, and in the generations to come. Think how much worse things would become in our children’s time and their children’s, if no one stands up now!

  9. It’s great to see parents involved and interested in what their kids are reading. However, I really hope you will read the ENTIRE book before writing it off based on one sentence (and some change). It is a story of growth and emerging maturity. The list you cited goes on to be contradicted point by point as the young protagonist grows to love and respect herself – a good lesson, I think. She figures out it is more important to love and respect herself than to look like everyone else. Before firing off letter, please finish the book.

    Thanks for the advice, Meghan. I did read more of the book and did enjoy the writing style. The issue here is not how good the book is or whether the girl’s outlook changes by the end of the book, but rather that it is not appropriate content for my 13 year old daughter to be reading. My daughter has not had experiences like the girl in the book, nor will she probably ever deal with these issues because of our chosen lifestyle. Now I personally can relate to some of the issues looking back on my own life and my own experience in public school. I think this book is better read by an audience that can empathize or a mature audience that can filter through the sexual thoughts and experiences as culturally relevant. My daughter is not this audience, and in my opinion, the library needs to be more thoughtful and attentive to the content of prizes and to the participants of their programs, especially to children and young adults.

  10. Really good thoughts shared here. I too would draft a letter. However, keep in mind that libraries are in no way bound to a Christian moral standard and what some may find offensive, others may find insightful. It’s another way it is our job as parents to look out for our kids and it’s sad that there aren’t more people wanting to engage in that venture with us. What happened to the “It takes a village” mentality?

  11. Yes, and for the very same reasons that I understand so much of what that whole scene is like (sadly), I understand also that I do not wish to have my children exposed to such stuff. I can read it, and think, “OH, MY, How AWFUL”. But is it truly edifying, even in that sense? NO. Do I read the things my children are reading to know the content? YES. I found that even Huckleberry Finn was not something I wanted my almost 15 year old son to read, simply because I didn’t want him to become immune to the EXTREME use of derogatory terms in the book. I want those things to be offensive, and certainly by the end of the book, they most certainly will not be. Good literature? not in my opinion.

  12. What was the rest of the book.
    I far as I would go to say is that, you need to read the entirity of a book before you judge it. I think that it is good that you like to make sure that you know what your doughter is and is not reading. But in my personal oppinion I would make sure that what ever you do regrading you daughter makes her happy.

    If your daughter does not understand the world then when she enters it there will be nothing but shock and that is not what one need to be acting under when they are in a new situation.

    Look, Listen, and Judge. (it is what we all do.)

  13. This Book Was amazing i just finished it the other day…i injoyed evey minute of it thankyou!!..i would totally recomend this book to every1

    You are ever so welcome. So glad it does have an audience that appreciates it.

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