A few days ago I set up a simple survey about It’s a Book by Lane Smith. It is admittedly a very unscientific survey, but it gathered some information, and that was the intention. (Here’s my original post and the survey. Opinions are still welcome.) Here is a summary of the results.
All the respondents were either teachers or librarians, but several people checked numerous boxes, like the teachers who are also parents.
Completed Surveys = 32
Was it funny? Yes = 31 No = 1
Have you read the book? Yes = 25 Read about it = 7
Should it be in a school library? Yes = 11 No = 16
Should it be in a public library? Yes = 28 No = 2
Teachers who would read it aloud to their class: Yes = 1 No = 7 Yes, but edited = 16
Librarians who would read it aloud to a group: Yes = 1 No = 5 Yes, but edited = 2 Maybe = 1
Parents who want the book read in their child’s class: Yes = 0 No = 4 Yes, but edited = 3
About half of the respondents left comments, and most of them focused on the use of the word Jackass. Here’s a sampling:
- I’ll use it as long as I don’t have to deal with any angry parents. I already have enough to do.
- Teaches them slang. Throw it out!
- Concerned about the word "jackass?" Nope. WE HAVE TO MAKE OUR KIDS WANT TO READ BEFORE WE CAN MAKE THEM READ WHAT WE WANT THEM TO!
- Is that kind of book "commentary" really meant for younger kids? I don't think so…I think we should discourage the use of disrespectful language and labeling, which I think the use of the word jackass exemplifies.
- The Jackass aspect ruins the book instead of making it better. It wasn't necessary.
- I feel that it is a funny premise, but it is divisive. It seems to miss its audience and therefore misses the point. I don't think most children would get anything out of the book other than "jackass." I love what he is trying to do, but I don't see how his message will get to the masses when teachers and school librarians can't read it aloud or stock it in their library. Having the book in schools is a fight many librarians will choose not to start. I am sure they push the boundaries as far as they feel they can with many of their choices. There's no point in unnecessarily ruffling feathers WITH A PICTURE BOOK. Could he have gotten his point across any other way? I think if he had chosen any other humorous joke, it would have made the point because he is LANE FREAKIN SMITH!
Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond. Anyone who would like to share their opinions can still complete the survey or leave a comment below. Thanks again.