This children's book hasn't even hit the shelves and already it's stirring up plenty of controversy over what some would say it's mixed message. In the book, we see a 14 year old girl who is overweight and being teased and bullied by other students, doesn't have friends, and eats to make herself feel better. She decides to exercise, eat right and even joins the soccer team. Now she is thin, happy, star athlete and here's where some of the issue comes in "popular."
The author advocates that her source of happiness comes from the fact that she achieved her goal through hard work.
“If one is obese, and one loses a bunch of weight, and one becomes fit, I think the rewards of just accomplishing that is good enough,” he said.
Others feel much differently about the overall message.
The book has a reading level best suited for kids 4-8 years old. Should we be using terms like "diet" with kids this young? Many say the fact that Maggie equates her happiness to being thin perpetuates this self body loathing among girls and women when sometimes getting healthy may not always mean losing weight.
And what about this line from the book:
More and more people were beginning to know Maggie by name.
Playing soccer gave Maggie popularity and fame.
Does this emphasize valuing people for their size and appearance rather than for who they are? When eating disorders among kids less than 12-years-old has risen 119 percent in the last 10 years it's certainly something parents are sensitive to.
But are we being hyper-sensitive ... scrutinizing every last detail when maybe the solution is quite simple. If our kids are overweight who is to blame? McDonald's? Advertising? Kids Books? or Parents?