2 out of 4 stars
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If It Happened to You, What Would You Do?? is a brief, informative book for children by Leslie Wilkes. It covers the basic actions that should be taken in the event of an earthquake or in the presence of a school shooter.
The thing that I like most about the book is its brevity and simplicity. The sentences are concise, and the instructions are easy enough that even young children can understand them. The illustrations are well-executed and help to hold the attention of the reader.
I do not believe that the book was professionally edited. There were several minor errors in the text that I think an editor would have caught.
Although I appreciate what the book hopes to accomplish and think that its approach is effective overall, I found some issues that I feel must be addressed.
On page 21, the author states that the reader should “beware of odors from gas leaks” but does not go on to explain why. I believe that it is essential to explain that one should never use a match or lighter if they smell gas because it can cause an explosion. Further, it should be explained that if one is in an enclosed area and they smell gas, they need to get outside away from the gas because inhaling it can be fatal.
Young children are this book’s intended audience. The book encourages kids to take a first aid kit and go check on their neighbors. This would be an appropriate action for older teens who have first aid training. Young kids should be encouraged to always have an adult or older teen with them. A child should not be expected to render first aid to an injured adult.
On page 31 of the book, the author states that the reader will become “a hero in your community,” ostensibly by following the advice given in the book if an earthquake happens. I feel that this sort of encouragement is unnecessary and even problematic. One should not expect accolades for taking correct action and expecting such is certain to lead to disappointment in life. Children should be encouraged to do the right thing for its own sake, not because it will lead them to be viewed as heroes.
The aforementioned items are not what I disliked most about the book. The aspect that I had the most issue with was the organization to which the author is donating the proceeds of the book.
“100% of the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to WLL Enterprises Inc. WLL Enterprises Inc. is a Non-Profit Organization dedicated to fighting Childhood Obesity.”
I have multiple problems with organizations “dedicated to fighting childhood obesity” rather than with a mission such as fighting childhood hunger or insuring adequate medical care for children. “Obese” is a slur. People branded “obese” are dehumanized and othered. This is difficult enough for an adult, but it is devastating for a child. Being branded “obese” leads to low self-esteem and eating disorders. Many adults look the other way when heavy kids are bullied, justifying their apathy with the belief that shame will encourage the targeted child to lose weight, thus becoming socially acceptable.
One cannot “fight childhood obesity” without desiring the eradication of “obese” children. An approach that encourages eating nutritious foods (and helps children and their parents gain access to a dependable supply of nutritious foods) and encourages enjoyable physical activity (and gives children access to safe places to run and play) without focusing on a child’s weight is greatly preferable to an organization with a mission to “fight childhood obesity.”
My exception to the mission of the organization to which the proceeds of this book are being donated plays no part in my rating of the book. It is, however, the thing that I disliked most about the book.
I am giving the book two out of four stars for the fact that it was not professionally edited and for the problematic aspects regarding the advice on gas leaks, for the advice suggesting that children should be responsible for checking on their neighbors following a disaster, and for the text suggesting that being responsible and helpful will lead children to being seen as heroes.
The premise of this book is commendable and with a little retooling, it could easily become an indispensable guide worthy of a four-star rating.
If It Happen To You, What Would you Do??
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