Maui-based author Paul Kramer is catching heat for his keiki book that’s yet to be released. Here are a few excerpts from a story that details the controversy, by Bonnie Rochman for TIME Magazine’s Healthland (please be sure to click through to read the entire piece).
‘Maggie Goes on a Diet': A Kids’ Book About Dieting? Not Without Controversy
“Poor Maggie. She’s an overweight 14-year-old character in a children’s book that’s not even due to be released until October, and already she’s stirring up controversy….
Paul Kramer, author of the upcoming Maggie Goes on a Diet, is an ex-New Yorker who decamped 15 years ago to Hawaii, where his “true passion in life dawned,” according to Aloha Publishers, Kramer’s self-publishing outfit. “That passion was and is writing children’s books that deal with the issues that kids face today.” …
So what’s the problem? The title sends the wrong message, emphasizing dieting instead of healthy eating, says Cynthia Bulik, director of the Eating Disorders Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “We don’t want kids to ‘go on diets,’ we don’t want kids to use diet language,” she says….
The plot — not to mention the title — speaks for itself. Stung after being labeled “fatty” and “chubby” by kids at school, Maggie decides to overhaul her eating habits, embrace nutritious foods and hit the exercise circuit, after which she becomes a soccer phenom. Here’s how it plays out, in dubious narrative rhyme:
Losing the weight was not only good for Maggie’s health.
Maggie was so much happier and was also very proud of herself.
More and more people were beginning to know Maggie by name.
Playing soccer gave Maggie popularity and fame.
Fat girl gets skinny and handy with a soccer ball, and popularity follows? Carolyn Becker, a professor of psychology at Trinity University in San Antonio who developed Reflections Body Image Program, which decries “fat talk” and promotes positive body image, says the book misses its mark….
The media attention has undoubtedly raised his self-publisher’s profile and guaranteed that more than just his neighbors in Maui will purchase the book once it’s available.