Womans Guide to Handguns cover

Women’s Guide to Handguns

The Women’s Guide to Handguns: A Primer for Safe Self-Defense
Carmichel
1982

Submitter: First, this book is from 1982 and gun laws have changed in many states, especially our state of Massachusetts. That alone makes this an easy weed with a replacement. Second, I love how the opening starts out with scary statistics, a promise not to use fear in this book and continues on with more scare tactics. Not to mention condescending…

Holly: Handgun ownership by women is wayyyy more popular now than it was 40 years ago. This definitely needs to be updated!

make-up Magic cover

How about some make-up?

Make-up Magic
Van Hazinga
1987

What make-up goes best with big hair and leg warmers? For that complete 1980s look, you can learn some nifty techniques to make your eyes, cheeks, and lips ready for that next school dance or for an 1970s-80s David Bowie Cosplay.

Make-up, fashion, and hair books, need to be weeded more often than you think. Aside from changing styles, many of these books will reference products that are no longer available. This book is aimed at teen girls so being extra conscious of issues of body issues, diversity, inner beauty should also be considered. That said, this little artifact from the 1980s should be weeded from the collection as soon as possible. I doubt that Mom’s (or possibly Grandma) choices in make-up would be any teen’s first choice.

Meeting the challenge cover

Children with Diabetes

Meeting the Challenge: Children Living with Diabetes
Bergman
1992

Submitter: This book’s purpose is to show a normal kid living a normal life while managing diabetes, which is great, but managing diabetes looks a little different now than it did 30 years ago. This kid is still peeing on ketone strips to measure his blood sugar, which is pretty irrelevant in today’s world of nearly ubiquitous CGM (continual glucose monitoring—a sensor is attached to the body and provides real-time blood sugar readings via an app). Most kids today would also be using a pump rather than syringes, which are the only insulin delivery tool in the book, with the exception of one insulin pen.

The other odd thing about this book is the extended section devoted to a summer camp for kids with diabetes that the protagonist attends. The point is likely to show the kids doing all the kinds of things their friends can do, but it feels a little random and oddly specific to this one kid. Especially the counselor in face paint for some kind of activity, included in the pictures.

Holly: When a kid receives a diagnosis like diabetes and is learning to live with it, both they and their parents need current and helpful information. This offers neither of those things. Nice idea; past its prime.

vaccination and you

Vaccination and You

Vaccination and You
Cohen
1969

The info in this book is not that bad. It is geared to upper age elementary and it is pretty basic. It is simple enough that even some US governors, senators, and other leaders could grasp the concepts. With an update and more modern illustrations, this could work in 2021.

The photographs used were actually interesting. They also used a painting for the Louis Pasteur pages. Mrs Pasteur seems to be lurking in the hallway by his lab. Instead of a citation for the painting, there is a note that Mrs Pasteur is patiently waiting. (A quick search identified the artist as Robert Thom. This was from a group of paintings commissioned by Parke-Davis, later donated to the University of Michigan. You can see the collection uploaded here.)

Boy Scouts cover

Story of the Boy Scouts

Story of the Boy Scouts
Blassingame
1968

Submitter: Quaint Hardy Boys style illustrations and historical black and white photos accompany this book  about the history of the Boy Scouts. While there are a few pictures of African American children and a boy  with a turban on the cover, included also are some stories about the boys “howling like Indians” and “playing Indian” as they set up camp. One boy is described as a “cripple” who doesn’t look like “a man to lead” and grew up having to work with the girls in the sewing room rather than be outdoors with the boys. It’s a  snapshot of the times, but there’s a lot that has happened in the 50+ years that have passed since this book was published. The kids in our library need more up to date info on scouting, and more culturally sensitive language. Girls can now join the Boy Scouts in their activities, and are no longer confined to the sewing room.

Holly: WorldCat’s description of this book says: “Discusses the origin and continuing growth of the Boy Scouts, relates true stories of Scouting heroism and adventure, and describes the many activities of Scouting.” I’m all for a history of the Boy Scouts, but respectful language is a must. Kids interested in scouting activities can definitely do better than this!

Amos Fortune

Friday Fiction: Amos Fortune: Free Man

Amos Fortune: Free Man
Yates
1951

Submitter: Somehow this book from 1951 was still on the shelf, maybe because of that shiny Newbery sticker on the cover. Or maybe it just got overlooked. Either way, a story of a slave written in the 50s is likely going to be questionable today, and I would say this one is. Descriptions comparing Black characters to dogs and untamed animals are jarring. The idea that Africans needed to be civilized before they could handle freedom seems to be presented not as something that many people wrongly believed at the time but as actually being true. At one point it is spoken directly from the still-enslaved main character himself. With some guidance and discussion, this book could be instructive of assorted historical and current trends in racist thought and language, but the public library kids biography section isn’t the place for that.

Holly: No, it isn’t. Just because a book is an award winner does not mean it should be kept forever. Either put it in a special Newbery reference collection or weed it.

Mary: This was pretty much the only slavery discussion that was around when I was a child in the 1960s. I remember liking the story. However, it was written in the 1950s for a white audience and of course it sanitized the evil of slavery for said audience. Although Amos Fortune was based on a real person, it really is a biographical novel. I think this article can give people more to chew on if they are second guessing weeding a Newbery.

old testament toys

Put the Fear of God Into Your Toys

Making Old Testament Toys
Hutchings
1972

We have so many craft books featured on this site. Holidays? Pick your favorite. Can’t decide which craft to try? We have you covered here. Holly and I have personal favorite craft books on this site: Applehead dolls, Pantyhose Crafts, and Macrame, to name a few. Old Testament toys might also join this esteemed list of crafts.

Old Testament theme? Not my favorite theme for crafting, but I suppose that might appeal to some folks. The color scheme is ugly and the 2 pages of photographs are not even amateur level. But the crafts…

The feminine fix-it Auto Handbook cover page

Car Repair for the Ladies

Feminine Fix-it Auto Handbook
Ward
1974

I’m actually kind of a fan of this book. Aside from the dated advice, it is actually a pretty good book. It’s written without any cutesy condescending language.The advice is competent and not overly technical. It would be a good car book regardless of gender. The rather girly title isn’t my favorite, but for 1974 it probably worked pretty well.

I really do think the landscape for women having to talk to mechanics and car sales people is different. Granted, I have a built in shield with a automotive engineer husband. Back in the day (the 1980s) when we were car shopping, I was ignored, except when talking about colors. Same with mechanics. I was sure I would be taken to the cleaners with up-selling and unnecessary repairs.