Every time it rained and we couldn't go outside for recess, we watched either Free to Be You and Me, Paddle to the Sea or Really, Rosie. I think they were the only films the school owned. It was tough back then. The movies were probably expensive to buy, and showing them required setting up both a complicated projector and a screen. (The first time I remember a grown-up saying "shit" was an afternoon when my first grade teacher dropped a heavy film cannister on her toe.)
I loved Free to Be, and still do, even though "William Wants a Doll" was sort of a cop-out because the ultimate message was "It's okay for a boy to play with dolls as long as it's because he wants to practice being a daddy." This did nothing to help those of us who wanted Barbies so that our G.I. Joes would have somebody to go shopping with.
As I don't have children, naturally I'm not so in touch with what's out there for them these days. So I was most interested to run across Birdfarm's post about games and books for kids with problems. Problems too big, presumably, for Barney's sage wisdom or even a Very Special Episode of "Rugrats."
Birdfarm thinks that some of the titles suggest a series, including one called Sammy's Mommy Has Cancer. She's absolutely right. Write these titles in light verse, and illustrate them with whimsical pen-and-ink sketches, and Sammy might turn out to be the next Madeline.
Sammy's Mommy Has CancerI smell a Newbery Medal.
Sammy's Daddy Has a Mistress
Sammy's Big Brother Deals Drugs
Sammy's Special Secret Game with Father Murphy
Sammy's Unusual Rash Down There
Sammy's Birthday Pony Falls Over Dead and Squashes His Pet Kitten
Sammy Flunks Fourth Grade
Sammy Gets Bashed in the Shower for Looking at Fred
Sammy Says Yes, Please to Heroin
Sammy Goes to Juvenile Detention
Sammy Is Unemployable with that Felony on His Record
Sammy Meets Betty Ford
Sammy Ends Up Dying Alone in a Cardboard Box Under a Bridge