Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Editing Emotions

Little Critter by Mercer Mayer
Parenting Works posted an edited Little Critter page that went viral.
The original page read "I wanted to cry, but I didn't. I was brave instead."
The edit read "I wanted to cry, so I did! I was brave and sad."
While many commenters embraced the thoughtfulness of the message, others questioned why you would pick a book 
you have to edit before you can read it.
As a mother, I'm all about giving my kids the best emotional grounding I can. As a reader and a writer I am less sympathetic to those changing the words. Write your own books.
It takes forever to get the words just right.

This particular edit is sweet, but I think would confuse kids, 
especially some with autism who are only just learning what "brave" means. 

By all means, let your kids know it is okay to cry. And perhaps choose another book, because this one tells a different story about how sometimes we feel like we have to not cry.

The educator who writes Parenting Works explained that this
was one of her childhood favorites, and that she lacks the time
to bring just the right library books home. Instead she edits her own book collection. While I admire her dedication, her calm intelligence, and her emotional understanding, I don't really get why that is better than talking about the ideas in the book (after all, Little Critter is crying in the picture. Why not ask, "Why do you think Little Critter says he didn't cry?") or reading a book that fits her ideal of emotional intelligence.

Yet there's an idea in this post for all of us trying to connect our kids with books. Judicious edits may help avoid problems or improve messages. With the Froggy books I edited out the rudeness as much as possible. If a book is almost perfect for your child, what's wrong with a little tweak? But I still prefer judicious selection of books to editing the text. Not only are you reading what a gifted author wrote (and with so many wonderful books in the world, why bother with anything less?), you also avoid having your hyperlexic detail oriented child with autism obsess over why you changed the words. 

Here's a link to the Little Critter page edited by Parenting Works and featured in Elevating Child Care.

Spectrum Mom

1 comment:

  1. What an incredible conversation. I myself often edit books as I read them to my kids (I am an editor [and professor] by trade), but I never really thought about the implications. Thanks for sharing!

    Full Spectrum Mama