Links and Thinks

The Ukraine- this is really a helpful read.  And so is this, although you’ll probably still be just as confused about the issues when you’re done looking at both.

Weather hijinks- the met office predicted a dry winter for the UK.

Speaking of weather, oh, that awful polar vortex.  Yuck.  More than you ever wanted to know about Polar Vortexes. Me, I just want it to go away.  Somebody please dish me up a bowlful of delicious global warming.

Gay marriage in Massachussetts- I haven’t watched this, but a friend shared it and it looked interesting.

This is not exactly family friendly, but it’s straight out of a textbook that’s recommended to be used with 9 and 10 year old kids.  Thing have come to an ugly place, a very ugly place, if I can’t share material from a 4th grade public school textook on my blog because it’s too graphic.  And can I just say I love Matt Walsh’s unvarnished common sense?

 

Updated to add the following:

www.amazon.com

FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Introduces human sexuality, describes the changes brought about by puberty, and discusses sexual abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, and pregnancy.

 

It seems there was a large enough market to publish an edition designated for use in schools and libraries.

From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8-A wonderful guide for young adolescents setting sail on the stormy seas of puberty. Packed with the vital information they need to quell fears and make wise decisions, this “sex manual” uses of clever cartoons to enliven and expand the text. Frank yet playful, they portray a reassuring array of body types and ethnic groups and illuminate the richly informative, yet compact text, allowing readers to come away with a healthy respect for their bodies and a better understanding of the role that sexuality plays in the human experience. Birth control, abortion, and homosexuality are given an honest, evenhanded treatment, noting differing views and recommending further discussion with a trusted adult. The dangers of STDs, teen parenthood, and sexual abuse are examined. The inventive use of a bird and a bee that react to the topics throughout artfully contrasts the differing views of early and late bloomers. Like any book that depicts naked bodies and sexual activity, this one is sure to inspire a few giggles in the stacks and be likely to disappear. But what it offers in scope, currency, and a cheerfully engaging format is quite special. An ideal introduction to “coming of age.”-Virginia E. Jeschelnig, Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library, Willowick, OH
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews
Illustrator Emberley (Welcome Back, Sun, 1993, etc.) has teamed up with Harris (Hot Henry, 1987, etc.) to present more ethnic and sexual diversity than New York City’s Rainbow Curriculum ever bargained for as they battle all concepts non-PC: They take swings at ageism (“People have sexual intercourse well into old age”) and at homophobia in the military (pointing out that, in ancient Sparta, it was thought “that if a warrior was in the same regiment as his lover, he would fight harder in order to impress him”). But there’s more information than polemic here, as the reader is guided by a corny but never condescending pair–an uninhibited bird and a repressed bee–through puberty, anatomy, reproduction, and a sense of the emotional weight that accompanies sexuality. The book intelligently covers birth-control options, how to have safer sex, how to treat STDs, and, in an especially impressive chapter, how to combat sexual abuse–all without patronizing the pre- or post-pubescent. Emberley’s illustrations are often as funny as they are informative. With affirmations of homosexuality and masturbation–“it’s perfectly normal”–and a choice-leaning (yet cautious) discussion on abortion, this volume will be anathema to social conservatives. But for parents who fear that a school sex-ed class may not be informative enough, it will certainly aid that dreaded birds-and-bees discussion. A terrific teaching tool that just may help slow the spread of sexual diseases and ignorance. (Nonfiction. 10-14) — Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8-A wonderful guide for young adolescents setting sail on the stormy seas of puberty. Packed with the vital information they need to quell fears and make wise decisions, this “sex manual” uses of clever cartoons to enliven and expand the text. Frank yet playful, they portray a reassuring array of body types and ethnic groups and illuminate the richly informative, yet compact text, allowing readers to come away with a healthy respect for their bodies and a better understanding of the role that sexuality plays in the human experience. Birth control, abortion, and homosexuality are given an honest, evenhanded treatment, noting differing views and recommending further discussion with a trusted adult. The dangers of STDs, teen parenthood, and sexual abuse are examined. The inventive use of a bird and a bee that react to the topics throughout artfully contrasts the differing views of early and late bloomers. Like any book that depicts naked bodies and sexual activity, this one is sure to inspire a few giggles in the stacks and be likely to disappear. But what it offers in scope, currency, and a cheerfully engaging format is quite special. An ideal introduction to “coming of age.”-Virginia E. Jeschelnig, Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library, Willowick, OH

At Amazon reviews, a middle school student says it was in her school library.

Scroll down to page 3 here for further information on the publisher’s recommendations for teachers, librarians and others to use the book with children (they recommend the book be put out on open shelving so the kids can pick it up and browse through it on their own).

Victoria Jackson, who posted the original story, explains (more at the link):

My understanding of the sexually inappropriate book, “It’s Perfectly Normal,” when it was shown to me at this gathering of concerned moms, and what I tried to convey in my post, was that; 1) It had been approved for use by teachers, because it is on their website, https://utextension.tennessee.edu/publications/documents/SP681-C.pdf , 2) that it was not “required” reading or a texbook, but that it could be currently in school libraries, and most likely will be in the near future, because it is listed on the University of TN Extension Website as an approved resource for teachers who work with our children at 4-H and other agricultural endeavors, 3) The current implementation of Common Core is in the math/reading phase. Soon, Common Core will implement other subjects including sex education. So, it is highly likely that this sexually explicit book, “It’s Perfectly Normal,” or one just like it, will be at your child’s school in the near future. I’m sure the public school system will not be using the Bible’s view of sex ed and it’s message to “Flee Fornication” and save sex for after marriage, and to someone of the opposite sex.
Read more at http://victoriajackson.com/10602/error-sex-lies-tn-textbooks-article#XwJaogxV35IASlRz.99

This book was on book of many mentioned in Jackson’s original post.  She says:

I hope the “sexually explicit” book didn’t distract from the rest of my article that proved Pearson Textbooks (“It’s Perfectly Normal” is not from Pearson) are full of errors, lies and propaganda. I am glad that this topic is now on everyone’s mind and lips. We need to protect our children from a government that is intent on indoctrination. It has happened in other countries and if we do not learn from the past, history will be repeated. (Go to ParentalRights.org)
Read more at http://victoriajackson.com/10602/error-sex-lies-tn-textbooks-article#XwJaogxV35IASlRz.99

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12 Comments

  1. Fatcat
    Posted February 21, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    http://www.tennessean.com/article/20140221/WILLIAMSON/302210098?sf23096407=1

    I heard it’s a hoax that the book is being used in public schools.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted February 21, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      You ‘heard’?

      Updated to doublecheck- neither Walsh nor the site he links from say it’s used in the classroom- both say it is on an approved 4th grade reading list for the state of TN. The site he links to says she got the book from a teacher. So ‘hoax’ seems to be an inaccurate term here, and the vagaries of having ‘heard’ this somewhere without citing where are obviously problematic.

      • Fatcat
        Posted February 21, 2014 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        Hoax was the word my friend used on Facebook when she posted the link where the schools deny it is used in the classroom. I admit I didn’t have the stomach to read either article, just kind of skimmed them. I was just trying to be helpful.

        Maybe “heard” was incorrect so please excuse me.

        • Headmistress, zookeeper
          Posted February 21, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

          “heard” isn’t so much incorrect as it is vague, and that was my point. “I heard that was a hoax” is really just a rumor. If your friend called it a hoax, she made a false accusation. It is a real book. Planned Parenthood recommends it. A careful reading shows that neither site claimed it was used in the classroom, they said it was on the approved reading list for fourth grade, which is something different, but still not acceptable.

  2. J
    Posted February 21, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Permalink
    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted February 21, 2014 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      LOL- It was a record for snowfall and ice here. We had extra people spending the night at our house because they couldn’t drive in it. We were stuck in the emergency room for hours waiting for an ambulance and news on a passable road and a hospital that could take us, because of the snow and ice and the related accidents that shut down major highways. We had colleges and universities shut down because of the blizzards, schools that haven’t closed in 30 years for a blizzard. We had major highways shut down many times. We had almost the entire state on lock down at one point- nobody was allowed to drive at all. I’m afraid the NYTimes totally misses the point (kind of like the METS office predicting the dryest winter for the UK)- it’s not about the temps, it’s about the snow and ice- and at any rate, the reason I want to shovel up some nice nice global warming is because we haven’t been able to get out of the house this winter more frequently than any other winter in the last ten years, and that’s the only perspective that matters to me right now.

      P.S. I just looked at the links again because I wasn’t really sure what ‘perspective’ you think a NYTimes article added. I still don’t see what it has to do with the links I shared. One is about the failed predictions of the METS office in the UK and how harmful that failure was. The other two are not really anything about global warming or record temps. One is from a fairly mainstream, albeit slightly left source that simply says winter isn’t over yet in spite of the two day thaw we’ve had, and the other, while from a normally skeptical about global warming as politics site, actually is a fairly neutral post explaining what a polar vortex is.

  3. Cat
    Posted February 22, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    “A Tennessee Department of Education official has confirmed that book is not on any state-approved list of textbooks.” from The Tennessean here: http://www.tennessean.com/article/20140221/WILLIAMSON/302210098

    The Planned Parenthood site bills this book as a book for family discussion.

  4. Rachel
    Posted February 22, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I think the grade-by-grade goals in National Sexuality Education Standards are really disturbing–and I have a pretty liberal view of sex ed. There’s a link in this op ed:
    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/05/07/at-what-age-should-sex-education-begin/schools-should-start-sex-education-in-kindergarten

  5. Roxie
    Posted February 22, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I read on more than one blog that ‘it’s a hoax” about the It’s Perfectly Normal book being used in the TN curriculum, also. Here is one blog link for you –

    http://naturallyundomestic.com/2014/02/22/perfectly-normal-book-hoax/

    And on the other link, posted by FatCat, I read this statement of the same denial:

    http://www.tennessean.com/article/20140221/WILLIAMSON/302210098

    Director of Schools Mike Looney issued this statement late Thursday: “This accusation is simply not true,” Looney said. “Some people are spreading false information claiming that Williamson County Schools uses the book “It’s Perfectly Normal.” These individuals appear to be maliciously maligning WCS for personal or political gain. This book is not a part of the school district’s curriculum and is not in any of our school libraries. Students have no access to this book through Williamson County Schools. False claims such as these interfere with the work of the district.”

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted February 24, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Sigh. We, and the people whose blogs and facebooks you read, must define ‘hoax’ very, very differently. Piltdown Man was a hoax. The Tawanna Bradley rape that brought Al Sharpton to national attention and resulted in the murder of an innocent person was a hoax. The LaCrosse team rape of that stripper was a hoax. These are hoaxes.

      It’s not a hoax just because somebody dislikes it. It’s not a hoax when somebody is mistaken. It’s not a hoax just because the wording is unclear. I see no evidence of a hoax, although the accusation that this was a hoax comes close.

  6. Cat Morris
    Posted February 23, 2014 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for adding more information to your post. The information you added states clearly that the book is recommended for use in schools.

    That said, I wonder how many schools use the book. I would bet you that any elementary school using it would do so selectively, and as part of the puberty talks given (usually) by the school nurse. These typically require a note home to parents, an invitation to review materials, and a permission slip. Maybe some schools are using the book and making it available as part of classroom libraries, but I doubt it. As someone who grew up in public schools, sends her own children to public schools in an urban district, and teaches in an urban school in a tough part of town, I can say that no teachers–and no elementary library I know of–has this type of material available for students sitting out in the classroom. No way. What are people doing elsewhere in the country? I can’t say for sure.

    I don’t really see a problem with this book being on shelves and accessible to teenagers, just as I wouldn’t worry about teenagers roaming freely and accessing such material in public libraries.

    I don’t object to the content, for the record, but I would object to it being offered without parental consent.

  7. Donna
    Posted February 24, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I don’t know about temps where you are but the day, or rather, night, that they tried to send my dad home from the hospital was the coldest it had been in 30 years

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