Tackle Block Stop
Evidently, Mr T was the star of a few children’s books that featured some of the pressing issues of the day. We featured this gem around in 2010. Again Mr T was advising on bike theft. Today’s selection is a quick lesson about sexual abuse. Bottom line: tell your parents. The end. We never do learn if our protagonist was believed or if the perp was “given help”.
More kids in trouble:
Gayness explained (so awful, you must see to believe!)
The 1980s seem to be full of the “stranger danger” books. My personal opinion is that the McMartin Preschool trial brought this subject to near hysteria levels by the late 1980s and 1990s. I remember there was hardly a day that went by that wasn’t filled with all sorts of bizarre cases.
Regardless, this book is probably a result of that hysteria. This one also has the requisite creepy situations and people, too. (Note the porn stache on the guy trying to get these kids.) The solution is say “don’t” and then run away (where is not specified). Having seen quite a few of these types of books float through this site, I will say this isn’t the worst. Check out the links below.
Submitter: Once again this book was found in the last weeding of the children’s room collection. It was found located in the parenting section and not regular picture books, but that is no excuse. If you just go by the cover, it comes across as just another book about elementary school, but that is not the case. It is the story of a new teacher who teaches her students about personal space, self-respect and the dangers of bullying, but then it becomes clear that one student, Regina, has a very, very, horrible problem…she is being molested by her father. There is actually a 2 page spread of the student at home! One side she is playing with her naked Raggedy Ann doll in bed and on the other side, she is huddled under the covers crying as the dark shadow of her father walks away. It is truly disturbing and dark and one wonders who this book was published for. On the one hand, it does encourage children being abused to tell a trusted adult (like a teacher) if they are being hurt BUT you can’t just read this to any child – it would have to be a very specific child in a very specific situation or else you could be causing nightmares, I would think anyway. In the end, the reader is led to believe that Regina gets the help she needs, but honestly I was too creeped out to read every page to get the whole story. I think that 2 page spread will haunt me for awhile.
Holly: There just aren’t any good ways of writing children’s books about difficult subjects, are there? They all include some sort of creepy picture that hints at the dark situation. I don’t know enough about child development or child psychology to say, so my question is: Do small children NEED to see pictures like these to understand and/or identify with the story? It seems to me that they would need to see the actual thing happening, which no publisher is probably going to include in a picture book (although we’ve seen some incredible things here at ALB…). That’s why doctors and counselors use puppets to indicate “bad touches” – so the child can actually SEE the body part being touched without having to experience it themselves. No? So do books like these do more harm than good because they aren’t explicit ENOUGH, or do they cross a line by being TOO explicit? My second question, then, is: Do these pictures only creep out adults who understand what’s being implied in them?