Maui Author's Diet Tale Sparks Uproar
A children's book author on Maui has set off a firestorm of controversy with a forthcoming title about a 14-year-old girl who finds her way to social acceptance through weight loss.
"Maggie Goes On A Diet" was penned by Paul Michael Kramer, who moved to Hawaii from New York about fifteen years ago. The synopsis for his illustrated, rhyming tale reads:
"This book is about a 14 year old girl who goes on a diet and is transformed from being extremely overweight and insecure to a normal sized girl who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self image."
To be sure, we should all be telling our kids to eat healthy and exercise, and First Lady Michelle Obama is spearheading a national, federal initiative to combat childhood obesity. But something about Kramer's approach is rubbing plenty of people the wrong way.
Here's some of the news coverage:
Outrage explodes over rhyming diet picture book (Associated Press)
Outrage over kids book: 'Maggie Goes on a Diet' (Chicago Sun-Times)
Fat At Four? A Diet-Book Fail (The New Yorker)
When 'Weight Talk' Becomes Problematic (Huffington Post)
Anger at diet book for kids (Stuff.co.nz)
New Children's Book Focused on Dieting Sparks Controversy (Fox News)
'Maggie Goes on a Diet' Author Defends Controversial Teen Dieting Book (ABC News)
In addition to dozens of critical comments on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, there's a "Boycott 'Maggie Goes on a Diet'" page on Facebook, and a #savemaggie hashtag on Twitter.
Kramer's bio on the Aloha Publishing site reads: "After being in Hawaii for almost nine years, Mr. Kramer's true passion in life dawned. That passion was and is writing children's books that deal with the issues that kids face today."
Suffice it to say, the issue he's tackled with "Maggie Goes On A Diet" has overshadowed some of his other titles, which range from bedwetting to personal hygiene ("Booger Bob") to sleep deprivation ("Zeep Needs More Sleep").