Sharing your love of reading with your children has innumerable benefits. We know that reading to children can give them an academic advantage, it helps to develop their vocabulary, it can create a wonderful bonding experience between parent and child and it can foster a vivid imagination. One teacher recently bought a book of children's poems for her own kids, excited to have a new book to share with them, and was mortified when she saw one of the poems that were included in the book. She's sharing her experience with parents to let them know what to expect if they happen to come across this same book.
Kayla Sykes was shopping at her local Costco when she came across the book No More Poems: A Book in Verse That Just Gets Worse. While reading the book with her children she discovered a poem that she felt was so violent in nature she wanted to warn other parents. "If you happen to shop at Costco please do not buy the children’s book “No More Poems,” she wrote on her now viral Facebook post. "It includes a horrifying poem with specific details on how to kill your younger sibling. It’s absolutely disgusting."
Sykes included a picture of the poem in question that is written from a parent's perspective, encouraging an older sister to be kind, or at least tolerant, of her little brother. However, throughout the poem, the parent asks the daughter not to drown, smother or execute her brother in any number of ways. In the end, the poet writes, "and so I beg you, Honey Pie, ignore your dark desires."
"Talk about putting ideas in a child’s head. I’m so disgusted this was even published," Sykes added to her post that has been shared more than fifteen thousand times. While many commenters were equally disgusted by the poem included in a children's book, some have taken issue with Sykes calling the book out on social media. In an update to her post, the mother and teacher notes that she has been receiving "obscene phone calls" about her complaint.
She explained that she feels so strongly about how inappropriate this poem is not because of how it could have affected her own kids, but any child who may have come across it.
"There are so many children in the world that do not have adequate supervision," she writes."Many children are bounced around foster homes, have parents that absolutely do not care; or are not properly educated to care for children. Many children have been exposed to SO many horrific events in their life that a lot of us (adults) will never see. These are the children that suffer from ‘satire’ material like “Brotherly Love.” These children very often do not know right from wrong, nor do they have someone that can tell them right from wrong. Words like those smack dab in the middle of a colorful picture book of poetry can absolutely do harm."
Sykes, who noted that the author of the poem, Rhett Miller has blocked her on Facebook, says she doesn't want the book banned but would have appreciated a warning of the content she felt was inappropriate with possibly a disclaimer posted on the cover, or better yet to have this particular poem pulled from future printings of the book.