Sunday, August 22, 2010

Book Review: Don't Buy Kids This Ohio Book

Portrait of the States: Ohio
Don't buy this book.

I glanced at Portrait of the States: Ohio while shopping for books at a national chain recently.  I was horified at the thought that future generations would read this book as the source of what they need to know about Ohio.

The author, Kathleen Deady, is a prolific writer of non-fiction and fiction books for children.  She's written about all sorts of topics ranging from China to Ancient Egypt. 

I don't know how much knowledge she has of Shanghai or King Tut, but she doesn't know a thing about Ohio.  More than that, I'd say from my reading that she has a general disdain for the state.

Consider two excerpts.

See this labeled "Fun Fact" about Ohio for young children to read:

It says, "Angry miners set some of the mines on fire."  If this fact is fun, I'd hate to see the less-than-fun facts.

There's more.

Want your seven and eight year old kids to learn about Ohio's economy?  Here's an excerpt about the Ohio economy. 

This item covers the period from 1970 to today.  That's forty years of Ohio's economy in that paragraph.

Yikes.  What child could read this and want to stay in or move to Ohio?

To be fair, Ohio has problems.  It's biggest problem, though, is an image problem.

Every state in the Union has had economic issues, calamities, or other "facts" to seize upon. An author can choose to be negative or choose to be positive.  It's all about point of view and perspective.

Choosing the negative path when writing for kids?  That's just not right.

My take is that the author seized upon her New England-influenced view of Ohio to write a book about my state.  That's not fair.

How hard would it have been for the publishers to find someone from Ohio to write for a book that children read about Ohio?  It would have been easy.  The fact they didn't is just one more reason to not buy this book.

If I was ever for a mass book burning, this book would be the first one to hit the flames.

Short of that, I strongly urge that no one buy Portrait of the States: Ohio for his or her kids, especially ones that live in or might some day want to live in Ohio.

1 comment:

  1. Publishers want to put out the product in the cheapest way possible. They don't do any fact checking or check to see if the book is even readable.

    I am in the process of attempting to go through my granddaughter's 5th grade math book. It has so many errors. No wonder our kids have trouble with math. Publishers don't want to pay for quality work.