Call me a dweeb, a nerd, a geek, or whatever--the books I most fondly remember from my childhood are my school textbooks Fun with Dick and Jane series. Not too many will remember their school textbooks fondly, but I loved the stories about Dick, Jane, and their dog, Spot.
Today, more than likely, these books would never be allowed to be read in a classroom because they are not diverse, or they stereotype by gender, or someone might read the book and feel bad, or not be able to relate because the perfect family lived in a perfect house with perfect children and a perfect white picket fence and a perfect dog named Spot.
But for all those reasons above, every one of them, is why I loved those books dearly. I didn't read these books because I thought the characters should look like me, act like me, or have the same living situation as me. I read these books because they had something I didn't have. They had things I could read about that were only a dream for me, but at least I could read about them and . . . dream.
Jane had a brother named Dick and a sister named Sally. These three had great fun playing together with their dog Spot. I had no brother, a sister who hated me, and no family pet to play with so I enjoyed living vicariously through the pages of these books. The stories talked about the kids' father and mother who played with them and made them feel safe and loved. They had a grandmother and grandfather to visit where they could help make and eat glorious homemade cookies.
I had no father, a single mother who worked outside the home, and was raised by my single grandmother who never baked a cookie in her life. I lived all my adolescent years in apartment housing. The closest I ever came to having a pet was chasing bats around the courtyard of my apartment building in the evening hours with other poor neighbor kids.
But thank goodness for Dick, Jane, Sally, and Spot. People who didn't look like me, act like me, live like me, but allowed me to read about their life and I could hold out hope that maybe someday, somewhere, sometime, I just might be able to be that character who has a loving family unit, live in a loving home, with loving pets and great friends. And maybe, just maybe, some day I could teach my grandmother how to bake delicious homemade cookies.
Causes Dawn Meier Supports
All children's causes.