Rob Clough at High Low did a review of Bad For You

Now that’s my kind of poem. It’s always a pleasure to when Mr. Clough reviews one’s books in his typically incisive and thorough way. Some favorite lines:

“While aimed at a young-adult audience (complete with a glossary of terms in the back to help younger readers understand certain historical, legal and philosophical terms), there’s no mistaking this book’s bold, anti-authoritarian stance. ”

and

Bad For You‘s arguments are well-built, the content is well-organized, and the book has a sense of humor about itself while being utterly serious in its goals to demolish a fear-mongering culture of rigidity and give kids the ammunition with which to do so.”

Read the full review (HERE)

OH BROTHER!

Young Adult sci-fi novel, Little Brother, was recently booted off a Florida high school summer reading list. According to the novel’s author, Cory Doctorow, the school’s principal “cited reviews that emphasized the book’s positive view of questioning authority,” as the problem. Guess “questioning authority” is an idea that the students at Booker T. Washington High couldn’t be bothered with over their break. An affirmative view on “hacker culture” was also troubling. “In short,” Doctorow said, “…the book was being challenged because of its politics and its content.”

To protest the principal’s decision, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) sent a letter to the Pensacola Florida school board asking that Little Brother be returned to the reading list. “School officials are bound by constitutional considerations, including a duty not to give in to pressure to suppress unpopular or controversial ideas,” said Executive Director Joan Bertin. “Cory Doctorow’s work as an author and activist engages with the realities today’s young people are confronting on a daily basis as citizens in their own right,” Charles Brownstein explained, who is another Executive Director, this time of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund—which is partners with the NCAC on The Kids’ Right to Read Project (KRRP).  “We hope the concerns expressed by all of us at the KRRP will lead school officials to honor the rights of their students by reinstating this valuable book, ” continued Brownstein.

BAD FOR YOU also adds it’s voice of support to Doctorow (and not just because of the great review he gave us at his amazing website BoingBoing.net).

GOOD NEWS/“BAD” NEWS

Time for another BAD FOR YOU roundup of reviews (excerpts included; follow link for full post).

From graphic novel writer/researcher/editor Paul Buhle’s review for The Comics Journal:

“For a book aimed at kids, this one is chock-full of information, but presented so well in comics (and also charts and info-graphics) that the details are destined to move easily, and usefully, into young minds.”

From comic legend Tony Isabella’s blog Tales of Wonder:

“This non-fiction book combines comic-book storytelling – art by Pyle – with graphs and prose articles in a delightful journey through the centuries. … If I ever write a sequel to 1000 Comic Books You Must Read, you can bet Pyle and Cunningham have earned themselves a place in it.”

From a “Young Adult/Children’s Librarian in Indiana” blog:

“This is a cool exploration of the many ways that adults have tried to take away fun from kids and teens.”

And from a self-described “ artistic queer vegan feminist librarian” at the blog Glitter and Dirt:

“AHHHH! This book is awesome!!!

The whole of the piece is a testament to the historical and present American mistrust and mistreatment of youth– it’s totally great. I read it straight through.”

Our interview on the Geekdad site “Video Games, D&D, and Farting on the Bus: Bad for You Is Good for You,” got a discussion going about the once vilified game of chess.

That exposure lead to a post on a gaming website Gamasutra –  a coveted spot in the eyes of the authors, since BAD FOR YOU features a whole section on the debate about the impact of video games on kids.

“Like video games, chess was once decried as a time-waster that kept kids entranced at a desk for hours when they could have been outside playing or studying something useful.”

BAD FOR YOU even appears on a website about “BIGFOOT” and “THE PARANORMAL.” It’s a blog by the author of Legend Tripping: The Ultimate Family Experience. The website features an excerpt from the book about, big surprise, Legend Tripping.

Why Chess Will Destroy Your Mind

It seems our book inspired another characteristically insightful rumination by author Clive Thompson:

“So what’s more interesting here isn’t the critique of chess. It’s the yawning cultural gap between the author and our own age — evinced in the behaviors we applaud and revere. Today, chess is regarded as a deeply virtuous activity, because it supposedly helps develop a Jedi-class control over one’s attention. But laser-like focus wasn’t always regarded as such a terrific thing.”

Read it all HERE

Bad For You Pyle chess

Geek Dad interview!

cropped-logo-geekdadBlogger and author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms Ethan Gilsdorf  had us sit down (at our computers- this is for GeekDad after all) and have a chat about Bad For You. Excerpt:

GeekDad: Now parents seem to lock in and dictate every waking minute of their kids’ lives. What do you think explains the rise of helicopter parenting today?

Pyle: I feel the media’s insatiable need to keep viewers on the hook is part of the dynamic, and it seems fear and anxiety are the emotions they are quickest to exploit. It’s the same with weather, crime, health issues, you name it.

Cunningham: Yeah, there are more sources for news and those sources are providing news 24-7–and they’re all struggling to grab the viewers’ attention. When there’s a tragedy, something such as a school shooting or a child kidnapped, the stories are examined in detail and repeated endlessly by various cable and internet new sources and the impression parents get from the wall-to-wall coverage is that these tragedies are constant and increasing with each year. In fact, statistics indicate that it’s the safest it’s ever been in America to be a kid and youth crime rates continue to decrease since they peaked in the early 1990s.

Check out the whole thing (HERE)

The Anti-Anniversary!

The country is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act this year, but on the other side of freedom, there’s another important anniversary to acknowledge as well: “On this day, in 1954, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency was closing out a second day of hearings.”

And, of course, one of the key speakers during the investigation was Dr. Fredric Wertham, who’s testimony before the committee helped to sway the senators to recommend the adoption of the comic book code, the self-imposed censorship that lead to the demise of much of the horror and crime comics from that period. What it didn’t lead to, though, was a decrease in juvenile delinquency. The numbers didn’t start to decline until the 1990s! The comic book code officially ended in 2012.

There has not been an increase in youth crime since the code was lifted.

In honor of this special day, we are reprinting our map of the comic book burning in America from the 1940s & 50s.

01.BFU.Comics

 

 

Document from the Dungeons and Dragons Hysteria

The “Studies in Crap” department at the Village Voice has a great post about Patricia Pulling’s 1989 moral panic book on the dangers of Dungeons and Dragons, ” The Devil’s Web.” Our favorite line from the commentary: “Note that there’s only three steps between enjoying Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and literal graverobbing. Seriously, if graverobbing becomes a “behavior pattern” the problem is probably your parenting.” Check it out (HERE)

Screen shot 2014-04-22 at 9.17.51 AM

And in case you want to discourage personality traits that would make your child vulnerable, look out for these:Screen shot 2014-04-22 at 9.11.16 AM

GOOD FOR US

It’s a BAD FOR YOU review roundup from the last few weeks. We’re really proud and pleased to have so many nice reviews and from a wide variety of perspectives. Abby Schachter, the first and most recent listed below, is a reviewer for the libertarian magazine Reason. But Bad For You‘s appeal also reaches vegan skateboarders. How do we know that? Because of the great review at Vegan Skate Blog!  

We have included short excerpts from the reviews below, but hope you’ll click the links and peruse them all the way through! Many thanks to the folks who have taken the time to read our book and write about it!!!

From Reason: “Bad for You isn’t a complete antidote to parental insecurity, but it does have a valuable lesson to convey: We don’t have to fall for every mass hysteria about the evils of texting, Marilyn Manson, Mortal Kombat, or Dungeons and Dragons.”

From Sandra Dodd: “I suspect this will be one of those books kids get in trouble for owning or quoting, and that will be shared around at school, hidden under desks, and confiscated by teachers. Knowledge is power, and ephebiphobics Do NOT want kids to have power.”

From Vegan State Blog: “The title and cover practically scream out to any skateboarder…who has dealt with cops, security guards or over-zealous citizen. The book not only covers skateboarding, growing fears of new technologies, but goes in depth on subjects like Zero-Tolerance policies that have resulted in children’s suspension from elementary school for possession of nail clippers.”

University Laboratory High School Library Blog: “In the technology chapter there are a number of delicious digs at Internet filtering software, one of my favorite things to demonize. The ‘Moral Panic Media Cycle’ and the ‘Techno-Panic Timeline’ pages are suitable for framing.”

From The Alliance Review: “If you’re a kid who’s ever been told that texting will rot your brain or pop music is immoral or video games are turning you into a zombie, you need to read Bad for You.”

And here’s an older one from School Library Journal we missed in December: “Classroom uses for this title abound. Teens, particularly fans of the graphic format, will glom onto this fascinating book, which will give them one more reason not to trust the “’establishment’.”