Joy Berry is a regular here at ALB. We have posted some of her stuff before here and here. Usually, these books are about a specific problem from a child’s point of view. Today’s “We can’t afford it” title is about budgeting and making money. I just cringed when job loss was just another day at the office, and garbage collectors were dissed. I also kind of wanted to slap those kids upside the head for being complainers. (Probably not a good idea…)
Submission: The definition of “tween” varies from person to person but generally refers to ages 9-12 or so. This book includes a chapter on potty training, suggests telling tweens that their mothers have eggs in their “tummies,” and that sex is a “special grown-up cuddle.” These things might even be forgiven if it weren’t for the heading on Chapter 40: Wicked Stepparents. Harry Potter did not have a wicked stepmother, since he didn’t have any stepmother at all. All in all, this book is fine as a parenting book for raising preschoolers. The title, however, is very misleading.
Holly: Pre-teens need [true] information about sex and their changing bodies. They need to be heard and understood when it comes to step-parents. They need boundaries, safety, and technology guidance. I bet this book from 2004 doesn’t mention social media, and probably barely mentions cell phones. Potty training? Eggs in tummies? Lame. They’ll see right through it, and parents should too.
Submitter: I found this book while skimming through my local public library. The book is nearly 55 years old, and giving out information on how to handle your difficult teen. The chapter about television is particularly bad. None of us have heard of the TV show Bus Stop. A quick google shows it lasted one season in 1961/62.
Holly: Fred Hechinger was an education editor at the New York Times from 1959 to 1990. By 1990 he must have been absolutely mortified at teenage manners and morals (or the lack thereof!) Kirkus called it both forthright and relevant, so it definitely had an audience in the 60s. I can’t think of any reason to keep it on a public library’s shelves in 2016, though!