In today’s society, children are faced with a dictatorship of appearances. Some are victims of fatphobia, a form of discrimination based solely on weight and height. To help children overcome teasing, on the show Well done for youthe literary columnist Nathalie Lebreton recommends with Julia Vignali and Mélanie Gomez three books to share to tackle this sometimes painful subject.
“At present, more than half of 6-year-old girls are wondering about their weight, their size or their appearance”, first remarks the children’s literature specialist on Europe 1. “It’s a wave that is annoying because it can create suffering.”
Lean into awkward sentences
In order to free children from this pressure, Nathalie Lebreton evokes book titles to leaf through. “First, for older women, from 9 years old to 15 years old, and even for young women or women who are a little more mature, we can read master girl which has just been released by Ricochet”, she says. “It’s a book by Alice Dussutour, who did the illustrations. It’s a kind of snapshot of girls today, in the world”, explains the columnist. “To each major region of the world, a story. It comes back to the patriarchy, to the rules … And to France, she chose the theme of grossophobia”, notes Nathalie Lebreton.
In this story, Jade, a rather cute and hyper-creative young woman, has ideas, wants to write, says Nathalie Lebreton, “and then out of the blue, we realize that she is going less and less well (…). His mother ends up saying to him: ‘You are still very fat for your age.’ When this sentence is combined with looks, possibly from boys or slightly mean girlfriends, Jade begins to feel bad“. This book focuses on mental and physiological health. “It is very important to stay tuned, to pay attention to our sentences of hurried and awkward adults”, notes the columnist.
Find a world without appearance criteria
For the youngest, little girls of 5/6 years old, Nathalie Lebreton highlights the book A tailor-made love, by Roland Fuentes and Alexandra Huard. “I love it because we come back to received ideas, the impossibility of being perfect”, lists the literary columnist. “It’s the story of a tiny guy who lives in the land of the giants, and a very tall girl who lives in the land of the dwarfs. They have no place in their home, they suffer ostracism, and they feel so bad that they want to leave the place where they are,” says Nathalie Lebreton.
“They will find a world where there are no longer these criteria, these cults of greatness, size, and they will live happily. This is an important message”, she underlines, “because life is on the side of crossbreeding, outside the standards. That’s what we have to manage to communicate to our children”.
Help children sharpen their critical thinking
Finally, Nathalie Lebreton discusses the book What do you think, released by L’Agrume, which helps children to claim who they are without being afraid of judgment, and which develops critical thinking. “It’s awfully good,” she says on Europe 1. “It takes a lot of life situations,” adds the columnist. “For example, a little girl loves her mother’s dress. She will go and draw it on a wall and will be argued over,” says Nathalie Lebreton.
In this book, “each time, there is a situation and several ways of looking at things. This is what this book offers us with the question ‘You, what do you think?’, so that the child formulates sentences, arguments, and takes flight, his freedom of thought”, explains the literary columnist.