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One teacher's perspective on 'It's a Book'

Posted by Rob Anderson  December 16, 2010 12:01 PM

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its-a-book-20100902-201708.jpgThe editorial board weighed in yesterday on the controversy in Cape Ann sparked by a somewhat naughty word published at the end of a children's book called "It's a Book." The board said the controversy is "overblown," and added that "given the current tenor of pop culture, including a hit pop song by Cee Lo Green with an expletive in the title, the term 'jackass’ feels quaintly innocuous."

Today, a teacher who read the book to a class filled with young students shares her opposing opinion. "When I was reading the book," she writes, "I had to quickly close it at the end when the donkey, who didn’t know the value of a book, was called a jackass." She continues:

The students all were anxious to know why I closed the book, and what it said. The kids go crazy enough over words like “underwear’’ (they love the book “Walter the Farting Dog’’). The last thing I want in my classroom is students thinking that “jackass’’ is an acceptable word to use. Most kids in lower elementary grades do not have the maturity to understand the distinction between the animal and the slur, and, in fact, the author intended the derogatory meaning of the word.

Kids who read the book will remember the word choice on the last page much more than the overall message of the book. I will not be reading this book to my students again.

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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