It discusses a very controversial issue – dieting among children. Maggie Goes On A Diet is targeted at a 4-12 year old audience, according to Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
A 14 year-old girl who is harassed by classmates for overeating and not being the same size as them decides to change her image, not by crash diets or pills, but by replacing her former eating habits with healthy ones and also by exercising.
“Maggie is accepting that kids are mean and kids can be mean and she has decided to do something about it, to take things in her own hands, try to change her own life, try to make herself healthy by exercising. She does want to look better. She does want to feel better and she does not want to be teased.”
It is being criticized for many reasons, mainly it’s title and cover art, but also for the fact that it does not actually empower kids to change, and is unrealistic.
Paul Kramer can defend this book all he wants, and whether or not his intentions were good in origin – this is a bad reflection of society that he shouldn’t perpetuate.
It also doesn’t help that the book is written by a man, who couldn’t possibly understand female body issues.
Kids shouldn’t have to worry about their weight at this age, and even though I know many children do struggle with weight, it’s not helpful to publish books about it. You are never born with an idea like that in your head, it is flung at you by teachers, parents or other children.
It is up to parents to introduce healthy eating to their children in a non-derogatory way, not Paul Kramer.