Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Controversial Literature

Heather has Two Mommies
By Leslea Newman
Illustrated by Diana Souza
K-3rd Graders
5/5 *****

I thought that this was a very interesting book.  It is clearly a controversial book, but I think when used appropriately could be very beneficial in the classroom.  Using this book to help encourage kids to accept each other and each other’s families and to be proud of uniqueness or differences are some of the first things that come to my mind. 

This was not a complex book; I think Newman did a great job of really getting to the point.  I liked how she really got the little girl’s emotions across; it takes a special kind of writer to be able to do that.  In one of the classrooms I volunteer in, they study several different units and “Family” is one.  I think this would be a good book to include, because it not only talks about families with 2 mommies, but it talks about so many different kinds of families.  I think it could reach a variety of students, and that is ultimately what is most important.

I’m sure that many parents would have a problem with this book, although because of the way it is written, I highly doubt that any school aged child would feel uncomfortable while reading or listening to it.  I think that because it teaches such a valuable lesson, a teacher could argue that it is necessary to read to children in order to encourage acceptance of everyone and to show diversity. 

Mommy Laid and Egg
By Babette Cole
3rd-4th Graders
3/5 ***

This book was slightly appalling.  Clearly a controversial book, this book gives slang terms for breasts, explicitly talks about sex and shows lots of different graphics of people having sex.  While I think it is very important for kids to know about sex and how men and women are different, I don’t think this book did the best job of it.  While it is a humorous book, I’m not sure that when first introducing sex education that humor is the way to go.  While I don’t think this book should be banned or anything, because it is not offensive to specific groups of people, I think it would make some young kids a little bit uncomfortable to read. And I’m sure that parents probably wouldn’t be thrilled to have their kids read it at school then come home with lots of questions. I think parents (and teachers) should have a chance to talk about sex before kids just go to the library and check out this book.
I don’t think that a teacher could defend this book to a parent, because there are so many other sex education books that would probably be a better choice. This book starts out saying that Mommy laid an egg, instead of going straight to the truth; this could confuse kids.  There isn’t really a major plotline, theme, or many literary devices in the book, so I don’t think that would help defend the book.  While I personally thought it was funny to read as a 20-year-old, I don’t necessarily think it is the best choice for young elementary students. 

No comments:

Post a Comment