Thursday, September 3, 2009

Why Do Cancer-Info Books Talk Down to Children?

Whew!! Can I pick'em! I went online to find books that help explain cancer to my three year-old. There does not seem to be a happy medium. They are either too sophisticated or filled with euphemisms that appeal to toddlers but really don't explain anything.

The book, Our Family Has Cancer, Too!, has cartoons that aim for the K-3 set. However, the info inside is meant for 4-6th graders. It's a long read and goes into detail. "Metastasize" sounds like a form of aerobic activity to little kids. Our Family Has Cancer, Too!

The other book I ordered When Someone You Love Has Cancer, is couched in very delicate euphesmims. Too delicate. Oh, and the drawings are of elves. Yes, you read that right. Elves with cancer.

Anyhoo, not only do elves get cancer but sometimes "they don't get better" and "then they go to heaven." Uh, hey, author, excuse me-the monk who wrote it- doesn't actually mention the words, "die", or "death." The result being if a preschooler reads the book, they might believe that sometimes, people with pointy ears (elves or Vulcans, pick one), get sick, sometimes don't get better, and then go immediately to a place called Heaven. Where you can't go. (It sounds supsciously like a wild club night in New York City or Dupont Circle, on Halloween.)

I've also noticed that cancer books for kids do not rate literary criticisms. They are judged solely on educational merits. No wonder these books can suck.

I'm still on the lookout for preschool-aged books about cancer that don't read like instructional manuals with character-names instead of part names.

1 comment:

  1. You are too funny! I want to read the elf book now.