When I started this website, I was thinking of children’s books that would help struggling readers. For that reason, I purchased a copy of Judy Moody for a third grader I was working with. However, now that I’m in high gear with Litkidz.com, I re-read the same book in order to review it. And much to my surprise, it no longer met my standards for Literature.
Yes, it’s a funny children’s book. Yes, kids will laugh at it, identify with it, and learn to read from it. But no, it’s not really literature. And it’s not really the kind of children’s book that will truly make a difference in a kid’s life. Am I being too picky? too moody? Here’s why I decided against it.
Judy, like any normal older sister, is relentless in teasing and putting down her younger brother, who only wants to be with her. Yes, I suppose it’s normal. But, is it the model we need to offer kids? Each time she was somewhat mean to her brother, I cringed. Maybe because when I was younger, my brother teased me incessantly. But I don’t want to read it about. I want to read about kids who manage to somehow rise above the instinct to take advantage of others. I don’t mind Judy’s moods, and I think it’s great to show someone dealing with it. But her sibling teasing just ruins it for me.
So, bye-bye, Judy. I know kids will find the book themselves, and will love. But I also know now that my mission is not to promote that, but to find the ones that give a different possibility for how to be in one’s family. Call me moody, that’s okay by me!