Wisconsin school board member wants to ban the Muppets book 'For Every Child, a Better World' from the kindergarten curriculum.
Mary Carney, a teacher and chairwoman of the Central Wisconsin Tea Party, has a problem with the book "For Every Child, a Better World," USA Today reports. Carney is concerned that the book could traumatize kindergarten students with its depictions of children living in poverty, so she wants it removed from the Marshfield, Wisconsin curriculum.
"Unfortunately in this world there is a lot of war and strife and poverty; I understand that," Carney said. "I just don’t know how appropriate that is to be teaching that to five-year-olds."
The book, published in 1993 by Golden Press, is "written" by Kermit the Frog ("as told to Louise Gikow and Ellen Weiss").It was produced by Muppet Press (part of the Jim Henson Company) in cooperation with the United Nations, as a fund-raiser for United Nations projects. The book is dedicated to the memory of Audrey Hepburn due to her untiring support for children in need as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, and the fact that she was in need of food as a child.
"I can testify to what UNICEF means to children because I was among those who received food and medical relief right after World War II," said Audrey Hepbern in 1989, when she became an ambassador. "I have a long-lasting gratitude and trust for what UNICEF does."
After she retired from her acting career, Hepbern visited UNICEF’s emergency operations including Ethiopia, where years of drought and civil war had caused terrible famine. She testified before Congress and received the United States' highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in December 1992. During that year, even though she was ill with cancer, she continued working for UNICEF, traveling to Somalia, Kenya, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, France and the United States.
"For Every Child, A Better World" contains illustrations of hungry Muppet-like children without food. Although many would think these illustrations represent the hungry children around the world, they can also highlight the fact that many American children go to bed without food every day.
According to the Feeding America, 14 percent of American households were "food insecure" in 2014. In addition, NBC News reports that 25 percent of America’s military families seek food aid on a daily basis.
Another Marshfield, WI school board member, Amber Leifheit, defended the use of the book in the kindergarten curriculum. "I believe it shows compassion for people other than yourself. I think that's a good thing," she said.
Carney has referenced online reviews of the book to back up her claim that it is too upsetting for kids. On the book's Goodreads page, one user gave it a one-out-of-five star rating, writing: "The motivations and idea behind this book are laudable. That being said, this is easily one of the books that, had I found it as a three-four-five year old, I would have been traumatized by." The comments were followed by a "frownie" emoticon.
However, the book was reviewed by 14 users on Amazon, all of whom overwhelmingly approved of it.
One reader stated: "The illustrations... accurately depict the full implications of the straightforward, uncomplicated text without ever becoming too emotionally difficult or overwhelming for preschoolers."
We wanted to know what is so inflammatory about a Muppets book, so we looked up some photos online. In the book, an idea for what every child needs is introduced on one page and then followed up with a depiction of those needs as perceived in less fortunate conditions. The format repeats itself throughout the book and is followed by a two-page spread of Muppet-looking people working together to make the quality of life better for everyone around the world. The last two pages show updated thumbnails of each "needy" situation presented in the book. The Muppet-people in need are now accompanied by real-life organizations that are working to improve conditions.
Here’s a sample from the book –
What do you think? Have we reached the point in America where it’s time to ban a Muppets book? Or should we continue to teach kids that there are less fortunate people in the United States and throughout the world?
Shouldn’t children learn at an early age to be thankful for what they have and work toward making this world a better place? Sound off below!
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.
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