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Wwyd: children's (Jewish) books- bad message

 
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amother




OP
 

Post Sun, Jul 25 2021, 10:02 am
Hi ladies,
My son loves reading. And gets very involved with the stories. Recently he found a jewish children's series he really enjoyed. Typical stuff, about practicing good middos especially in a challenging situation. For his bday, he got 2 more of these books from friends. Anyway, I realized these books are putting negative ideas in his head. Despite their messages of sharing and including others, the expectation is that the childs original inclination would be to steal or exclude someone who looks different or tease them. Now he asks about this, and its just heartbreaking. Its like hes getting the opposite message out of them.
Wwyd?
Ty!
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cnc




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jul 25 2021, 10:05 am
Throw them out .
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amother




Lightblue
 

Post Sun, Jul 25 2021, 10:10 am
Do you own a chumash? Maybe towards the beginning you'll see the phrase כי יצר לב האדם רע מנעוריו. And as you keep reading, the stories will become more ethically problematic.

Hashem made a deliberate decision to share difficult stories with us. Sure, not everything is appropriate for very young children, but taking away the very idea of decision making is not helpful.

Because, yes, children do want to steal things and hurt people when they are mad. Letting them know that these impulses are normal but can be overcome is an important part of chinuch. Just because a child is talking about these issues now just means he has the vocabulary for the discussion - not that the ideas were planted in his head by the books.
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imasinger




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jul 25 2021, 10:14 am
How old is he?

I wouldn't necessarily throw them out, but maybe put them aside for a while.

Because everyone has a yetzer hara. Thinking that it's abnormal to have those thoughts and feelings might not be good in the long run.
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hotpretzel




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jul 25 2021, 10:26 am
Perhaps you should read the books before allowing your child to read them, sometimes books are not age appropriate or you know your own child wont understand the message...

Sometimes children books are so bizarre I really wonder why the story line is so strange and why the examples are so extreme, other times the story is so hard to follow because of the rhyming

Maybe we should come up with a list of nice jewish childrens books that give over a nice message (without mentioning ones we dislike of course)
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amother




OP
 

Post Sun, Jul 25 2021, 10:28 am
1. He is just been home, and he has an extensive vocabulary and understanding. Hes a very bright boy. He is younge enough that he still thinks out loud. He will even say, I am mad at younger brother... Want to hit him- so I give him drums and he will go hit those till he calms down. I assure u the idea of not including someone, or stealing is not one he has ever had. I normally screen his books (I just started reading,the last 2 as I was ok with the others in the set).we don't have t.v., he doesnt watch anything, his play dates are supervised and bh wonderful. Hes a naive and sweet little boy. I wonder if any other mothers have ever felt this way about these books. Ps yes I do own a chumash. Tanach, shas, and many seforim but many of those stories arent geared to little kids, even older ones in fact, get a more colorful version of the story. Lets chill
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amother




OP
 

Post Sun, Jul 25 2021, 10:29 am
hotpretzel wrote:
Perhaps you should read the books before allowing your child to read them, sometimes books are not age appropriate or you know your own child wont understand the message...

Sometimes children books are so bizarre I really wonder why the story line is so strange and why the examples are so extreme, other times the story is so hard to follow because of the rhyming

Maybe we should come up with a list of nice jewish childrens books that give over a nice message (without mentioning ones we dislike of course)


Love this idea!
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amother




Orchid
 

Post Sun, Jul 25 2021, 10:37 am
I agree. So many of the frum literature, when not badly written or plain stupid, has downright harmful messaging. Especially the little kids books about midos. It's like they deliberately write the most backwards, non psychology approved messaging. (yes I can provide titles to prove this point...)
Honestly I wouldn't buy them. There are secular books that are parve or beneficial in comparison.
I had to go anon bc I rant and rave about this and am considering writing the publishers themselves.
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amother




Narcissus
 

Post Sun, Jul 25 2021, 10:38 am
Does he go to kindergarten? Even if he didn't think of not sharing, stealing or jealousy, he's going to see other children doing it. It's hum nature and we send them to school to teach them how to behave. As parents, it's our responsibility to teach proper behavior . Reading such books with him and discussing the issues is actually ver important
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amother




OP
 

Post Sun, Jul 25 2021, 10:47 am
amother [ Orchid ] wrote:
I agree. So many of the frum literature, when not badly written or plain stupid, has downright harmful messaging. Especially the little kids books about midos. It's like they deliberately write the most backwards, non psychology approved messaging. (yes I can provide titles to prove this point...)
Honestly I wouldn't buy them. There are secular books that are parve or beneficial in comparison.
I had to go anon bc I rant and rave about this and am considering writing the publishers themselves.


Thank you ! I feel like you totally understand me. Especially as I have put down so many of them, for absolutely awful writing, and mediocre storyline. I guess I will have to screen better, and not specifically try to find these types of middos books for my child. Would love to hear about some books you recommend!
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amother




OP
 

Post Sun, Jul 25 2021, 10:56 am
amother [ Narcissus ] wrote:
Does he go to kindergarten? Even if he didn't think of not sharing, stealing or jealousy, he's going to see other children doing it. It's hum nature and we send them to school to teach them how to behave. As parents, it's our responsibility to teach proper behavior . Reading such books with him and discussing the issues is actually ver important


No he doesn't go to school yet. And yes, I know that the more social/peer interactions he has, will increase the chances of this behaviour and absolutely agree that its my job to help and educate him. However- perhaps it's time to think about how certain negative behaviours start to begin with. What are these younge Children copying, where did this idea come from? His parents and baby sibling arent doing it, his current friends arent either, he doesnt watch anything. My point is, If the child wasnt ever exposed to, these middos books, can really provide the wrong message. I guess this is turning into a PSA. These books assume your child is dealing w certain problematic behaviours, but id like to argue and even warn, that they may never have had this inclination prior to the exposure to that book. So don't do as I did, and a assume a "good jewish middos book", the right choice for your child.
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southernbubby




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jul 25 2021, 11:15 am
Some topics are for the age where a child starts to discriminate against differences. A little kid will usually accept everyone but eventually they begin to notice and reject differences.
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amother




Apricot
 

Post Sun, Jul 25 2021, 11:18 am
I had this same question. My parents bought my sister's kid a "new baby" book when she had a baby. The kid chose it at the bookstore. My sister didn't like it so my parents asked if I wanted it. I said sure. My kids were so excited for me to read it to them and I did without thinking much about it. It turns out it's about a kid feeling all jealous and kvetchy because she has a new baby in her house. My kids were so surprised and confused! We had never had any jealousy over new babies, only excitement, BH. They really liked the book so we kept it, and we spoke about how the girl is feeling and how we feel with our new babies. I see how this book is useful for a family with a jealous kid, but I'm not sure I would have read it had I realized in the first place. I do have other "new baby" books, both Jewish and not, that speak about a new baby in an exciting and informative way instead, and I much prefer those. I did debate though- jealousy is a normal feeling and maybe it is important for kids to get that kind of exposure to different feelings and behaviors. I dunno...

In terms of stealing and leaving out kids who are different, I think those are 2 different categories. Stealing, everyone knows about because you have to also sometimes be careful NOT to steal. When my kid found a lollipop on the floor of the store and asked if it's okay to take it, I told him no and praised him for being so careful to take only what's his and not chas v'shalom stealing. So for him to hear about a child tempted to steal, I wouldn't be so upset- it is tempting but B"H he doesn't seem to have such a yetzer hara. For the including different kids, I'm more on the fence because for a kid who includes everyone, why bring that to his attention? But you know what, maybe it is also okay. If the kid in the book doesn't want to include a kid with glasses and your kid would never think of that as an issue, praise him for that and maybe mention a different kind of difference that you've seen him notice. Like chassidish/litvish/sfardi/black. Your kid sounds very sweet B"H and pretty naive. But he's going to be exposed to this one day, and might as well teach him how to do it right, no? Again, I don't really know...
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southernbubby




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jul 25 2021, 11:24 am
At some point, kids will encounter other kids who are jealous of the baby or reject a classmate for being different so even if they don't have such feelings, they need to know that they exist.
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amother




Wallflower
 

Post Sun, Jul 25 2021, 11:26 am
Never heard of that- we are all big readers and the frum lit has the best messages about good middos development try hachai books and note which authors you like in general
Hatxlocha
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amother




Tulip
 

Post Sun, Jul 25 2021, 11:03 pm
It sounds like these books are for an older child. Even a year on he may relate more to the behavior.
I bought a book for my daughter, and held off on the story where a classmate calls the little girl ugly. I knew that she didn't hear this type of talk and there was no sense putting ideas into her head.

Lo and behold, it is quite a relevant story now.
No, I don't think she's been called ugly specifically, but the behavior is there in her peer group now.

There was a book that I did encounter, where I felt there was an unhealthy way of talking about feelings - it was just off in it's definition. That book went in the garbage, because I felt it could be damaging.
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amother




Mint
 

Post Mon, Jul 26 2021, 2:04 am
There is one Jewish children’s book where a grandmother is babysitting her young granddaughter, and the grandmother put up a kettle of water for tea, then she falls asleep in the chair. The young granddaughter sees that the kettle is running dry and it looks like there’s real risk of a fire in the house. She tries to think of creative solutions to this dangerous situation that would avoid waking her grandmother, because she knows it’s against the Torah to wake a parent or grandparent. The whole book is written in the tone of praising her good middos of finding a way to not wake her grandmother. This is the most horrifying young children’s book I’ve ever encountered.
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amother




Lightblue
 

Post Mon, Jul 26 2021, 2:08 am
amother [ Mint ] wrote:
There is one Jewish children’s book where a grandmother is babysitting her young granddaughter, and the grandmother put up a kettle of water for tea, then she falls asleep in the chair. The young granddaughter sees that the kettle is running dry and it looks like there’s real risk of a fire in the house. She tries to think of creative solutions to this dangerous situation that would avoid waking her grandmother, because she knows it’s against the Torah to wake a parent or grandparent. The whole book is written in the tone of praising her good middos of finding a way to not wake her grandmother. This is the most horrifying young children’s book I’ve ever encountered.


To counteract that, may I suggest The Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen. No, it's not a Jewish book, but it deals beautifully with the dilemma of sometimes having to break the rules.
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amother




Wallflower
 

Post Mon, Jul 26 2021, 2:08 am
Then get rid of it and screen books first

Especially in this day and age I’ll stick with Jewish books for the right message and look for the good ones

Hatzlocha
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lucky14




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Jul 29 2021, 11:19 pm
amother [ Mint ] wrote:
There is one Jewish children’s book where a grandmother is babysitting her young granddaughter, and the grandmother put up a kettle of water for tea, then she falls asleep in the chair. The young granddaughter sees that the kettle is running dry and it looks like there’s real risk of a fire in the house. She tries to think of creative solutions to this dangerous situation that would avoid waking her grandmother, because she knows it’s against the Torah to wake a parent or grandparent. The whole book is written in the tone of praising her good middos of finding a way to not wake her grandmother. This is the most horrifying young children’s book I’ve ever encountered.


yikes.
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