Monday, February 29, 2016

More About Ageism in PBs & the Great Meme Hop



The reason I started posting about ageism in picture books is not that I write them, but that I love them. And, of course, because my interest has always been in the power of the word. 

The point in the studies I looked into last week wasn't that we see "old" differently as we ourselves age, but that if we present a negative view of aging to our young readers, that sends the very worst message to them. If old equates with sad and lonely, who in the hell can embrace aging? Not me.

Here's a great quote from Lindsey McDivitt's blog. 

"Many books for kids lead them to believe that old=bad. It’s not their natural inclination, it is us socializing them to believe it–by not showing them a more diverse older population."

Here's some good news. 

  • Although children are subjected to stereotypes of older people in their picture books, other mediums such as TV and films  still underrepresent and sometimes portray them in a negative light. So book writers aren't the only culprits here. Yay!
  • There are some excellent PBs out there that depict older adults in a positive light. I'm finding them and buying them. I want the kids in my family to have a positive attitude about growing up and growing old. It's a natural and wonderful process, not something to fear.













My Very Own Meme!
If I can do it you can too.

Hope you're ready to jump on board our Blog Hop and have some MEME fun. If you're not sure how to create a meme, here's a quick and easy--also free--site for you. Imgflip Now go and make something amazing and win books and $$ to buy some.






Quote of the Week: “The thing is, you can’t see people as fully human if all you can feel for them is pity.” Uma Krishnaswami, picture book author.

78 comments:

  1. Old will happen to them, so kids might as well see it in a good light.
    Good find with that image!

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  2. Yay! It's the Meme Blog Hop! Love the little raccoon! :) And thank you for the book suggestions. I want to nurture a healthy and respectful view of seniors with my son.

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  3. My thought is, if we love and appreciate old gnarled trees, trees that have survived lightening strikes and storms, trees that are scarred, then shouldn't we appreciate and love our elderly in the same way?

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    1. Absolutely. I'm an old gnarled tree on my way to older and gnarlier. I want appreciation.

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  4. Hi Lee - yes ... we can bring positive into ageism and show the kids of today old ain't old. I'd be old though sitting on your alligator without my life vest!

    Cheers HIlary

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    1. Isn't that the funniest image? I loved finding it.

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  5. So true about ageism. I remember reading my kids a Berenstein Bears book about a spooky old women who was rumored to be a witch. Turns out she was a nice lady.

    Cute Meme!

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    1. That's great how the witch turns out to be a nice person who just happens to be old.

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  6. Old happens to us all, so good to see it in a positive way indeed.

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    1. Yep. Hope you'll make those elder cats really special in your rhymes.

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  7. As I get older, I learn it is a privilege to do so. Many never get the choice. My 86 year old mother lives with me and I witness how people are so dismissive of older people. I recognize the process is occurring with me too.

    The quote that you can't change someone else but you can change yourself applies. I consciously choose to not do some older people behaviors which I am inclined to do.

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    1. Learning from our moms experience is interesting. I wish I still had mine. How lucky you are to live together.

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  8. Not only does the portrayal of the elderly affect how kids see old people, but it affects the elderly person's own self-esteem. When we start thinking only of what we can't do, the list of can'ts will start to multiply.

    I'm working hard on my memes. I will have them ready to post on Friday.

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    1. You bet it does. I like seeing older people doing things and smiling. It's affirmative.

      Looking forward to seeing your meme!

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  9. It is ironic how growing older is stereotyped. Sometimes it annoys me when movie goers attack movies for not taking them to a child like place or state. As if a movie showing the adult version of the beauty of cinema is a bad thing. Sorry but some movies are meant to be seen with an adult eye.

    C Lee that Meme was the bomb. "I need a hero" is playing in my brain right now. I did my meme with Photo Bucket (site).

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    1. I'm thinking of actors who have been famous in their youth and who are still out there as older actors. They are so wonderful to watch.

      I'm coming over to see your meme!

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  10. It's so interesting to read about ageism. Now that I'm old, I need to think about these things. Great idea for a blog hop. It's so fun and easy.

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    1. I give the credit for this hop to Tara and Christine. They're the idea people here.

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  11. Loved your meme. Funny how you really don't know agism feels like till you get there. Great post.
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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    1. Exactly. I'm now wondering if I was guilty of stereotyping the elderly. Hope not.

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  12. My boss is 74 years old and she runs around the kitchen like it's nothing and the other day my co-worker and I were discussing that, saying we both hope we can be that active when we reach that age too.

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    1. I'm firmly convinced that chronological age isn't what we should be remarking upon, but how a person acts and what a person does. So many seniors are active and doing things even younger people can't.

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  13. I agree 100% with Elizabeth's comment. My mom is turning 70 in August and she is not looking forward to it. She says she doesn't feel that old and I tell her all the time she's not.

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    1. It's how old you think you are that counts. I do believe that.

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  14. that coon riding an alligator is the coolest of the cool coons ever.

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    1. That's one of my alligators, DEZ. He gives very smooth rides.

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  15. So true about the elderly often being portrayed in a negative light. I agree that kids aren't naturally inclined to think that way, that our society ends up warping their views on aging. (Like, I remember asking why there weren't any Grandma Barbies as a kid, and I was told no one would want to play with a doll that looks old.) I think it's great how you're tracking down and supporting picture books that actually portray aging positively. Looks like you've found some awesome ones already!

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    1. A grandma Barbie! I love it. Kids could make up some wonderful stories about her and have her interact with the youthful one. BTW I read they're coming out with a size 16 Barbie. At last kids will see another role model and not only the Twiggy type.

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  16. I think that ageism is the most neglected of all the ~isms.
    When we were kids, 50 seemed really, really old. These days, they say that 40 is the new 30. So maybe there's a shift in perspective.
    I need to learn how to make a meme! You mentioned a program called Imgflip...have to check it out.

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    1. All the other -isms are ahead of this one. That's for sure.

      Let me know how Imglip works for you. I thought it was really easy.

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  17. I suspect the ageism issue could get worse over time as we live longer and the gap between ages is even bigger. We need to stay conscious of the problem--including TV and movies where we want to see ourselves portrayed as we age.

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    1. Books are only one medium. Movies and TV are often even more into showing aging in a bad light.

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  18. Enjoy the hop, Lee. And yeah, we should do our part to portray ageing not as the worst thing in the world, but as gaining more experience and a chance to work toward our ambitions.

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    1. You write romance. How about a love story about an older couple? That might be interesting.

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  19. Old is better than dying young. Of course, the young don't typically see that the same way. I enjoyed the meme you created. The raccoon looks like he could use a life vest. He's living dangerously. :)

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    1. Let's hope that guy gets a smooth ride!

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  20. Cute MEME! And interesting point about PB. I have two younger kids and had noticed a while back that older people are often shown as scary (as in the mean neighbor) or infirm (parents explaining to their children why grandma or grandpa can't do something).

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    1. Like any stereotyping, it takes awareness to change it. Thanks for posting this comment. Really appreciate it.

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  21. Great job on the meme! Too funny. And yet you are wrong, even though you could do it, I know I still can't LOL. I have tried and I am so hopeless! :D

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    1. Outside of crawling on my belly for hours through the swamp, then waiting behind a mossy tree until the perfect photo op sailed into view, it was really easy. :-)

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  22. Its just as well that raccoon isn't Captain Kirk or he would have activated the self destruct by now - all raccoons abandon ship!

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    1. I'm thinking just how brave it would be for Rocky Raccoon to abandon ship in that water. Hmmm.

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  23. Another interesting post about this. Funny how kids can be conditioned like this and we don't even think about it.

    Love the meme!

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  24. Incredibly empowering what you have to say about old does not equal bad. How many 'old' characters can i think of who are portrayed as bad. So many...

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    1. So now we have to step it up and be sure our characters don't fall into that category. I just read a story and here's the phrase, "drooling grandpas." My grandfather never drooled and he worked and played hard up to the day he died.

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  25. I think oftentimes our life vest is our inner strength.

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  26. It's important to see old age in a positive light since we'll all be there. We also need to respect people of all ages.

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    1. Exactly! And of all colors, sizes etc.

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  27. The older I get, the younger an age looks to me. I agree that books about older people should show them active and fun. Those are cute picture books. Great quote too.

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    1. So right on. Let's just show people as people and work harder at the craft of characterization without stereotyping.

      Glad you liked the quote.

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  28. I remember thinking all grandmas had curly white hair, glasses, and sat in rocking chairs knitting! Now, not so much! :)

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    1. Thank heaven that's not grandma anymore. Still I love the idea of my grandma's wonderful full lap.

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  29. Age is considered a bad word which is wrong. Older people are often not respected and, when the film stars keep having Botox, plastic surgery, etc... To try to keep young, the youth think the best is when they are really young. I am glad books are trying to dispel all the crap. it's just not nice at all.

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    1. Cosmetic surgery doesn't make you look younger. It makes you look like you've had cosmetic surgery. Talk about issues with bulimia or anorexia, let's take a look at what's happening with this issue.

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  30. I really enjoyed this post. It's an overlooked issue in much of our society.
    The meme was cute.
    Love the quote.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to stop in and comment on this one.

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  31. Love your meme, BUT, what I really like are your ideas and attitude about 'OLD'.

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    1. Thanks, farawayeyes. I think this is a very important issue.

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  32. With age comes wisdom. My grandfather is 95 and I talk to him every day.

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  33. I hadn't really considered ageism in PBs. Something to really think about.

    And cute meme :-)

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    1. Hi and thanks for the visit. We should be aware about what we present to our kids. That's really important in my way of thinking.

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  34. I LOVE A Sick Day for Amos McGee. That's great that there are some PBs out there with better representations of older men and women, but it's true it needs to be portrayed better in all entertainment mediums.

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    1. I haven't gotten my copy yet, so I'm looking forward to reading it.

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  35. I do think entertainment media of all kinds is starting to get better about portraying aging people, but it's an uphill battle to combat society's ingrained love of young and beautiful.

    Consider all the horrible things people said about Carrie Fisher's appearance in The Force Awakens. The movie producers chose to portray Leia realistically. It was the public who were critical of that choice.

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    1. You're right, and they probably grew up reading PBs about how terrible it was to be old.

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  36. I'm glad you've raised awareness of this issue. It's not something I ever would have thought about otherwise, but it's so true.

    Well worth supporting the authors who are bucking the trend!

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    1. I love to support authors who are bucking the trend. I have a few favorites, too. Here's to more awareness.

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  37. More please. It's so important to teach our children that old does not mean bad.

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    1. I'm thinking of doing one more segment on this next week. It seems worthwhile.

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  38. What a great idea. Life is a journey and we should embrace all the stages.

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  39. I hadn't heard of Henri's Scissors before- but I just saw it on an awards list today. Glad to hear it is a good one and doesn't promote ageism. :) Thanks for sharing these books with us!
    ~Jess

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  40. It is great that you are researching the topic of ageism in children's literature. I think I have been sensitive to ageism for many years, long before I became older myself. It is like any other prejudice. People from diverse races and ethnicities decry any negative depictions or images of their particular group and changes have been made. I think ageism is one of the last areas where changes need to happen. You only need to watch TV or movies and see all the negative depictions of older people and jokes made at their expense. This has just started to change a little with some recent films that depict older people as multi-dimensional, complex and interesting characters. Yes it does influence children if all they see and hear about older people is negative stereotypes.

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