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For the Kids

Books for the kids

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Dr. Ruth Talks to Kids

Dr. Ruth Talks to Kids - coverDr. Ruth Talks to Kids: Where You Came From, How Your Body Changes, and What Sex Is All About
Westheimer
1993

Submitter: The cover image attached features an endearing but very old lady who looks way too much like my grandma.  I saw this one and laughed because I could just imagine talking to my grandma about condoms, wet dreams, masturbation… (shudder) The details in the book are surprisingly sensitive and well-written, so it was a hard decision to weed it.  Ultimately I weeded it because it’s dated, in both appearance and content.  I’m also enclosing one page from the section on contraception that shows how dated it is. Time to put this grandma out to pasture and make way for all the other beautifully-illustrated books we’ve gotten recently on sex and puberty.

Holly: The image below may or may not be NSFW, depending on your workplace. Dr. Ruth talks very candidly, with pictures, about contraception in that one. Dr. Ruth Westheimer is 88 years old, and while she is still alive, I don’t know that she is still the person kids turn to for answers about sex. (Or is she? I don’t have kids, and I’m not a children’s librarian either. What say you, parents and youth librarians?) She was absolutely groundbreaking, totally approachable and frank and honest. I’m curious to know if Submitter is familiar with Dr. Ruth? The submission is totally true – she looks like a very nice grandma, but I can’t tell if Submitter is aware of who Dr. Ruth is or not. This book was published in 1993, and I am a child of the 1980s, but this image is exactly how I will always think of Dr. Ruth. I would have asked her anything and not been embarrassed. She was that good at what she did. In fact, it was almost because she looks like a nice grandma that she was so approachable. That said, I’d probably still weed this book. There are different contraceptive options available these days, for one thing.

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What’s Wrong With Timmy?

What's Wrong with Timmy - coverWhat’s Wrong with Timmy?
Shriver
2001

Submitter: This book is part of a series by Shriver for helping kids accept the fact that bad stuff happens to people and no one knows why.  There is another book we own by Shriver about Alzheimer’s.  Kate, our main character, learns through colored pencil illustrations that Timmy may be disabled, but he tries his best to be just like everyone else.  The book is very wordy, definitely something I wouldn’t read to any kids.  But the kicker for me is that it uses the term “mental retardation.”  As far as I know, even as a medical term, retardation was not used as a diagnosis any more by 2001, though I may be mistaken.  I’ve included more pictures of the text, because the illustrations are rather bland and forgettable.

Holly: I have yet to see the perfect “explain our differences” picture book. They either have weird illustrations or too many words or questionable terminology. This one is better than many, I’d say, but I do agree that there are too many words per page. I think it could be said just as nicely in a sentence or two per page with words kids can understand (and words they should be encouraged to use).

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Kid’s Guide to Birth

A Look at Birth - coverA Look at Birth
Photos by Forrai, Text by Pursell
1978

Submitter: This book came from a small public library. We discovered it while deep weeding our children’s collection. The book is intended to be used by parents to teach children how a child is born through photographs and simple text. While the text is simple, the photographs are rather traumatic and confusing. I’m not sure what age the book is intended for and young children would not understand the pictures. The pictures are black and white and out of focus. The picture of the father in the waiting room “dragging” on a cigarette did make me laugh with the accompanying text. I feel terrible for the woman in labor in the pictures and I’m grateful most women do not have to be rigged up to some kind of medieval torture device and forced to work against gravity to bring her baby into the world. A hospital birth has certainly changed since this time. Fathers are often in the delivery room and the birth experience is not quite like this anymore. The last circulation dates were from the year 2000 and 1988. Should have been weeded long ago. BTW, at least one of these pictures is not safe for work.

Holly: Books like this can be beautiful and helpful and useful. This just looks old and a bit scary.

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