Thursday, December 31, 2009

Open Letter to Kim Wayans

Dear Kim,

I was so excited when my daughter was given to of the Amy Hodgepodge books for Christmas.  I am a Twitter friend of yours and learned about your books that way. My sister in law saw them at Target.  As a self-described protective parent, I read the books first.

For a non-librarian, I think I read a lot of children's books.  This is for two reasons, first because I homeschool my daughter and have to create lesson plans and worksheets.  Secondly, because she is only 5 years old and we have recently started the process of me reading chapter books to her a chapter at a time. 

Though my daughter is not what we term bi-racial, I understand how all children need to see themselves reflected in literature and films and appreciate the storyline of the multi-racial Amy. I get how many of Amy's new classmates are portrayed as being mean.  This is real.  Also I like that there are some children who are above the teasing and come to befriend Amy.  Overall, great story lines.  So far we have books 1 and 2.

Where the books lose me is the homeschool storyline.  Homeschool is portrayed miserably in these books.  In the first book she explains why she is entering school for the first time in her life and says, "I wanted real, non-dog friends."  Her not having friends can't be blamed on homeschool, can it?  Is gaining friends the only reason she is being sent to school?

Then in the next book Amy talks about having quiet birthdays. "That's because I'd been homeschooled my whole life and didn't know many other kids."  What?  Don't children make friends in thier neighborhoods, at thier house of worship, with thier parents children, in girl and boy scouts?  Again, is homeschooling always lonely?

I think that she could have easily been a military child who changed schools frequently.  Maybe you could have better developed the sub-story and explained why the child did not have friends, does the mother speak English?

I'd just like to know why homeschool was thrown under the bus in an otherwise smart and funny book series?  Right now,  I have to say that I wouldn't read either of these to my daughter for this reason.


Don said...

i see you do NOT play when it comes to how homeschooling is portrayed.

i think public school is looked upon as a place where students meet friends. it would do wonders if kids stopped thinking like this.

did you ever attempt to send this letter to Kim?

Girl of a thousand names, including Sister P said...

Hey Don, Me and Kim are Tweeps and I tried to get her come over here and check it out. I am about to email it to the generic email on her website and see what happens. I hope she's less generic on the response that Soulja was when I went off about her latest book LOL She gave me some half canned response last year.