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Little Bee and Hot Topic

February 23, 2012

Hey everyone! It’s ALMOST Friday!!! Who’s excited? I sure am! My plans this weekend? Other than running 13 miles (PDR!) and getting plenty of school work done (ugh…) I am doing… NOTHING! I am going to attempt to relax, maybe take a nap! Haha I’m pumped.

But before we get to the weekend, I have a couple things to share. First of all, I’ve recently decided to make a point of reading for pleasure more. I really LOVE to read fiction novels and miss it during the school year. My classes this semester happen to have less reading than most semesters, so I’ve started to read other books during my commute to and from school.

One book that I just finished is called Little Bee by Chris Cleave.

photo (50)

I have to say straight off that I didn’t love this book. I started it about a month ago and kept putting it down because I’d get bored with it. Although it picked up as the book went along, it was really hard to get into in the first place.

The book is told from the point of view of Little Bee, who is a Nigerian girl who escaped her country and headed to England. She left Nigeria after having witnessed her village being torn apart and people killed by an oil company. Before she left she ran into a woman and her husband, who were on vacation, on a beach. She then managed to find them in England, after spending two years in a detention center.

The novel spoke a lot to finding your own strength, being true to yourself, and doing what makes you happy. Although it also showed that people need to be selfish and look after themselves, it also showed the amazing connection that can occur between strangers and what people would do to help others.

The overall message of the book was enjoyable and many parts got me thinking, for example, someone points out that yes, they might be able to help Little Bee, but there are thousands of “Little Bees” out there and you can’t help all of them. If you’ve got the time and patience to get into the book, I do recommend reading it. However, if you need something more gripping to keep your interest, then this book might not be for you.


I also read an article recently that sparked some interest and a conversation between a friend of mine and I, which was about childhood obesity. Since becoming more interested in nutrition and fitness, childhood obesity has become something that is very important to me. I don’t really know how to improve things or make a difference right now, but I feel like somehow it may become part of my future because I really do feel passionate about the issue.

The article, which was on CNN, was called Obese Children Outgrowing Kids’ Clothes and Furniture by Madison Park.

These chairs from Academia Furniture Industries show the range of sizes from 12 to 19 inches. One thing that I found interesting in the article is they discuss that larger children are given special desks and chairs that are being made to look like all the other chairs (or they replace all the desks and chairs) in a classroom to make them feel less ostracized: “At all age,s kids don’t’ want to feel different.”

Now, I completely understand not wanting to make children feel bad about themselves for being different. I do, however, have a problem with people masking the issue of obesity with just buying larger chairs. I don’t believe that children should believe that it’s okay to be obese. I realize that this is a controversial statement, but let me explain myself.

I think it’s incredibly important to boost self esteem and not make kids worry about their weight or how they look, that can lead to very unhealthy mental and physical issues as they get older. I was a camp counselor at an all-girls camp and am all about making children feel good about themselves and believe that they are capable of being and doing whatever they want.

However, I also think it’s important to emphasize health. By covering up the issue of childhood obesity with buying larger furniture, schools are spending money in the wrong place. They should be putting their resources towards healthier foods, more recreational activities, and teaching about healthy lifestyles. The article states that “In the past five years, the biggest seats have been selling better than the standard sizes… These items also cost more.”

I’m not saying that we should point out the differences in obese children and make them feel bad about themselves, I’m saying that we need to find better ways to help them onto a better path for health, otherwise they will always have lower self-esteem as well as many health issues throughout their lives. The key is not to mask the symptoms, but fix the issue at hand.


Whew! I ended up going on about that much longer than I had planned! Sorry for the serious post, but it was something that really got me fired up when I read it! And I don’t live in La La Land, I realize that changing school programs and food is a huge hurtle, but these are just my thoughts!


Have you ever read Little Bee, what did you think?


What are your thoughts on the changing chair sizes, or childhood obesity? Feel free to disagree, I posted this for discussion!

15 Comments leave one →
  1. February 23, 2012 8:37 am

    I’ve done a lot of work with childhood obesity and I think some of the major issues are at the institutional level and have a lot to do with funding. For example, many schools in Illinois only mandate that children have PE once a week. I know that this is directly related to funding but kids need to move! Also, school lunches aren’t the healthiest, but again thats a budgetary concern.

    Ultimately, we need to find a way to make being healthy affordable so that kids can eat nutritious meals and expend their energy (no one, and not just kids, should be forced to sit at a desk for 9 hours a day), otherwise I don’t think too much can really change.

    • February 23, 2012 11:43 am

      Budget is definitely a huge issue, haha which I know from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution! That’s my only “expertise”…

  2. February 23, 2012 9:50 am

    I agree with the school lunches. And some of this stems from home as well. Parents do not have the time or money or knowledge to make healthy meals for their kids on a regular basis. Therefor kids grow up not knowing the difference between healthy and not. This chair discussion is interesting. I had not thought about it on the k-8 level. I used to teach high school and I had a lot of large football players who could not fit into the desks. Definitely something to consider. Thanks for throwing it out there.

    • February 23, 2012 11:45 am

      Money and knowledge are definitely a key issue, some people don’t think they can afford it and some people just don’t realize what they’re eating!

  3. February 23, 2012 10:35 am

    So first on the Little Bee, I read the book almost on eyear ago, I was very excited when I got it, but I was disapointed, I think the concept was great, and I can feel the idea and the message I just dont think it was told the right way, I didnt like the style of the aothor, and something was missing everytime!
    On the obesity, I totally agree with you, I come from Eastern Europe, and when I look here how the goverment is spending the money not in the right direction it is just a shame, that should not encourage with their action the obesity in schools, they should focus on other things, like mayce changing the cafetaria food, or introducing some fun activities, like hiking or schools 5k with prizez so the children will be motivated to move, and will have fun at the same time, also a lot of children eat their emotions, so I think more money should be invested in programs about self esteem and respect!

    • February 23, 2012 11:46 am

      Yea, I heard the book was great but it just didn’t live up to the hype, it was hard to follow. And I love hearing what you have to say about schools, those are definitely things that would be great for schools to implement!

  4. February 23, 2012 12:31 pm

    I just think the whole issue with childhood obesity is sad! I truly believe it begins in the home (and YES, school systems and more money would be nice to help that out), but I think we need to educate and help parents know what to feed their kids and HOW. It is something that is lacking –so they turn to fast food and things like that. Just so sad! I want to change this….somehow… 😉

  5. February 23, 2012 2:14 pm

    I love that you are so passionate about this! It is sad how much of a rise we are seeing of obesity in children. I hope all children have the self esteem to feel good about themselves and know they do not have to fit into a certain image. But I do think it is crucial we emphasis the importance of nutrition as far as health. I am starting to see it tiny bit in schools more, but we really need to make a bigger change in schools and camps for our youth!

  6. February 23, 2012 2:21 pm

    The unfortunate thing is that the whole lunch thing at schools stems completely from funding. I grew up in an area where 65-70% of the kids I went to school with were either on free or govn’t assisted lunch programs. And the food in these assisted lunch programs are not very healthy. I’m talking chicken fingers, french fries, pizza, mystery meat, the works. The whole “pizza is a vegetable” thing was true in my school. If these kids were given healthy, balanced meals from the start (elementary schools) they would be better off, probably have lower instances of obesity, etc. Education is important. While a lot of it does stem from home environments, it should be the school’s responsibility to teach kids about nutrition.

    The sad thing is that in this country, wealth = better food. This really needs to be something that everyone has access too. If you’re growing up poor, you’re never going to be able to make good food choices because you can’t afford it. It’s a vicious cycle.

    • February 23, 2012 4:51 pm

      I’ve heard that schools consider french fries a vegetable, but pizza?? That’s crazy.

  7. February 23, 2012 3:31 pm

    I’m 100% with you on the child hood obesity thing, yes they shouldn’t be picked on or made to feel bad but its their size and health that needs to be addressed – and most of all the parents that are feeding them stuff to get to that size!

    • February 23, 2012 4:52 pm

      It’s true that it’s not just schools, parents are a big problem too! Some people just don’t know better who don’t want to take the time!

  8. February 23, 2012 8:10 pm

    I loved Little Bee! A great, quick read.

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