Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Weekly Geeks (Social Issues)

This Weeks Weekly Geeks activity is all about political and social issues.
1. Choose a political or social issue that matters to you...

2. Educate readers about your topic by telling us a little about it and any involvement you've had in this issue.

3. Find books addressing your issue; they do not necessarily have to be books you’ve read. They can be non fiction, fiction, poetry, etc...Give a little synopsis of the book or a link to the description.

4. Use images which you feel illustrate your topic.
At this point in my life, I don't have one particular political or social issue that I feel strongly enough about that I want to blog about it here. Foremost on my mind lately are the social issues that relate to the kind of son I want to raise. In considering possible topics to write about for this week's challenge, I considered peace/nonviolence generally. I discovered this brilliant Dr. Seuss tale about the Cold War. Published in 1984, it is probably familiar to many of you already, but I couldn't remember having read it before:

The Butter Battle Book: (New York Times Notable Book of the Year) (Classic Seuss) (Hardcover), by Dr. Seuss. This cautionary tale of escalating armament between the "Yooks" and the "Zooks" (who believe so vehemently in their bread buttering methods that it leads them to live on different sides of "the Wall") is full of Seuss's characteristic rhyming and fun, with a not-so-hidden serious message about the follies of war.

Excerpt:

"'My wonderful weapon, the Jigger-Rock Snatchem, will fling 'em right back just as quick as we catch 'em. We'll have no more nonsense. We'll take no more gupp from you Yooks who eat bread with the butter side up!'"

Bookworm's interest at 15 months: I didn't even try; this is best suited for an older child.




This also seems a fitting place to review some Todd Parr books I've had lying around here for awhile waiting for me to blog about them. For those who aren't familiar with them, Parr's bright, bold illustrations accompany text that encourages messages about tolerance, individuality, and peaceful coexistence, among other things. I like the idea of them, although the illustration style isn't my absolute favorite. The bookworm (at 15 months) doesn't take to them at all, but that might change. Parr has written more than 20 children's books. Here are the three we read this week:

The Family Book (Hardcover), by Todd Parr. This Todd Parr book is all about families -- big, small, clean, messy, noisy, quiet... messages about tolerance of atypical family arrangements ("Some families have two moms or two dads") are mixed in with sillier text ("Some families look alike/Some families look like their pets"). Ultimately (as the book concludes), the message is that "your family is special no matter what kind it is."

Excerpt:

"Some families have a stepmom or stepdad and stepsisters or stepbrothers. / Some families adopt children."

Bookworm's interest at 15 months: Not too much yet.




The Peace Book (Hardcover), by Todd Parr. The subject of this Todd Parr book is "Peace," defined generally through a series of typically bright, multicultural illustrations of various activities. Among other things, apparently "peace is reading all different kinds of books."

Excerpt:

"Peace is keeping the water blue for all the fish / Peace is listening to different kinds of music"

Bookworm's interest at 15 months: Not much yet, although he did do the sign language for "hat" when he saw the turban on the cover.

Parent's Peeve: Sometimes I think I like the loose definition of peace, and sometimes I just want to say, "No, that's not peace, that good environmental stewardship or kindness or..."




It's Okay To Be Different (Hardcover), by Todd Parr. Like Parr's other books, this one mixes commonplace tribulations ("It's okay to wear glasses") with more serious issues ("It's okay to be adopted," "... to have wheels" (on a wheelchair) or "... to be a different color"), with a little silliness thrown in ("It's okay to eat macaroni and cheese in the bathtub").

Excerpt:

"It's okay to come in last."

Bookworm's interest at 15 months: Not much yet.


For another recent post I did about a feminist Easter book, look here. I think that might be as far as I take this week's Weekly Geeks activity. I look forward to reading other Weekly Geeks posts. (You can find links to everyone's posts each week on the Weekly Geeks site).

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