Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"New Children's Book, "Maggie Goes On A Diet" Raises a Storm of Protest Here and Abroad

Have you seen this book advertised or discussed in articles and blogs yet?  It's the one with the conundrum following it like the tailwind of a Sahara sandstorm.

 An overweight young girl with braids, stands in front of the mirror holding up a too-small pink dress and sees a new and improved version of herself. The girl looking back at her is thin.

This book that many find disturbing at best and harmful at worst, will be in bookstores on October 16.  It was written and self-published by Paul M. Kramer.

Amazon recommends the book for children beginning at age six.  The beginning grade recommendation is First Grade. The Amazon description reads:
"This book is about a 14 year old girl who goes on a diet and is transformed from being extremely overweight and insecure to a normal sized girl who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self image. 
Teenage Weight Issues Teaching kids to make healthy lifestyle choices from an early age is a worthy endeavor.  And childhood obesity is a serious public health issue nationwide. According to the CDC, approximately 17% of children in the US are overweight.  This is over triple the rate a generation ago.

But Maggie isn't dreaming of being a soccer star. This little girl is driven to get into the pink dress. The book is selling skinny first with everything else to follow.

Just as childhood obesity is on the rise, eating disorder rates are climbing alarmingly and are affecting younger and younger kids. Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported a 199% increase in the number of eating disorder-related hospitalizations for children under the age of 12.

Whether the book sells well or is effective in its message, remains to be seen.  This blogger, though, will leave her readers with one notion.  The emphasis is misguided from the beginning of the book.  Children are not the ones to be targeted and certainly not children as young as six! It is, in fact, parents who need to be educated and become proactive about this national epidemic. Only then will there be any hope of eliminating such an emotionally wrenching and potentially life shortening problem.


  1. I like the concept that she works hard to reach her goal -- whatever it is, as I obviously haven't read the book yet. Losing weight and getting fit is hard work, so if the author gets that point across, then that's good. I never struggled with my weight as a child, but I have as an adult. I know how society treats people different when they're heavy or thin, so I can relate to that part very well. It's a cruel fact, even when people aren't trying to be that way.

    I don't like the age group it's geared for. I first thought this was a MG book, but then saw it was hardcover and 44 pages. I'm curious if it's a PB considering it's geared towards 4-8 year olds. I don't know what to think of that. This is one book I'd really have to see to make up my mind. I do believe healthy eating and good exercise habits need to be formed in the home, not because of teasing or forced upon by the school system of what they think are healthy choices.

  2. Yes, Rena, I completely agree with everything you've said here. This is both a complex and personal issue, as well as, sadly, a national one.

    I do think it's incumbant on parents, particularly for children as young as six, to educate their children about good eating habits-and to see that nutritional foods are available, knowing they are a bit more expensive.

    At least, the book is sparking a national conversation. That in itself cannot be a bad thing!

  3. They say even bad publicity is good publicity. I'm going to wwwwatch Amazon and see what happens to pg rank.

  4. You might want to compare it with the book I read about on another blog this morning. Here's the URL:

  5. Yes, Jan, I've read about this book and the rave reviews it has gotten. Seems to be a world of difference between this and trying to get into a pink dress!