Submitter: This is a “sensitive” story about Rita who is overweight. Rita has to face being weighed in front of her entire class and being told she needs to go on a diet. She then is bullied by her classmates in art class and swim class. She uses food to deal with her emotions. But after some effort, Rita finally looses weight where she is told she is a healthy girl and no one bullies her anymore.
This book came to our attention after a horrified story time mom found it on the shelf. The book has not circulated in at least ten years. I took the time to read the book and the story has a lot of mixed messages. Childhood obesity is certainly an important, but complex topic, that would be difficult to tell in a short children’s story. A lot of things are glossed over like bullying and self-esteem. The doctor says she needs a diet at one weight and then after losing only 5 pounds she is suddenly healthy. I don’t know how one writes a book for kids on this topic, but this one is not it.
Holly: Books like this bother me more than just about any other thing. Jennifer Jean the Cross-Eyed Queen got her eyes fixed and suddenly had friends. Maggie went on a diet and suddenly had friends. Make it stopppppp!
Submitter: This book was weeded from our academic library collection a few years ago. I’ve kept it in my office for the last several years because it cracks me up. While the content of the book was probably good and relevant, you can’t help but say that title in a passive-aggressive, flippant tone. And the cover art is a joke.
Holly: I’m more concerned about the date of publication (though this is a pretty funny title and cover!). Head injuries are a big deal these days, especially in youth sports. It’s a good topic to keep up-to-date.
Submitter: What is worse than finding an awful library book on your shelf? Finding it because a patron tagged your library on Instagram!
This book was shelved in the children’s fiction area of a public library. There has to be better books on this subject now, especially targeted towards this age group. We were all collectively embarrassed when this appeared while searching for mentions of our library in Instagram. And our head of Materials Management immediately called for it to be weeded.
Holly: Here’s a good reason to always search for your library on various social media. People tag all kinds of things in all kinds of places – some good, some…less flattering. This is also another good reason to weed old stuff! Don’t give people ammunition for social media posting! AIDS research and treatment has come a long way since 1991. I don’t have any internal pictures to post, so I don’t know if there is flat-out wrong information here, but it still should be replaced with something from this decade.