Sunday, May 03, 2009

FEMA Pulls Controversial Coloring Book

Maybe it’s not a laughing matter. It strikes me as ironic, though, that on May 1st -- Free Comic Book Day -- USA Today should report that FEMA had a removed a “controversial coloring book,” from their Web site for fear it would prove upsetting to some children. From USA Today:
But Rose Olmsted, coordinator of the Freeborn County Crisis Response Team that produced the book after tornadoes hit Glenville, MN, in 2001, defends the project. She tells the Tribune that it was clearly made “as a tool for parents to use with an adult to help children put meaning to what has happened because words are hard to come up with.”
The cover of the coloring book shows a twister carrying away the roof of a house, a sedan that’s been completely crushed and the World Trade Center with one of the towers in flames and a plane on the approach. Inside, similar images wait for children to add color of, I suppose, varying lurid hue, depending on their own mood and temperament.
“We removed the content from our Web site after reviewing for appropriate material,” said FEMA spokesman John Shea in a statement. “FEMA for Kids assists children in understanding disasters and we will continue to post appropriate material that supports its mission.”
Oddly, I’m a bit torn on this one. On the one hand, governments pulling books for any reason always make us look askance. And a pause is definitely the correct response. And a question.

On the other, I’m not sure a coloring book is really a very good tool for helping children bring meaning to frightening world events. How is coloring discussion? And can’t we just sit down with our kids and talk? Why do their need to be tools involved? In my own experience, children have a lot more going on between the ears than we tend to give them credit for. Trusting them with actual information and engaging them in conversation can be a surprising and bonding experience: enriching for both parties.

Meanwhile, if you want to download the comic for yourself and have a peek, The Smoking Gun ran a link when they broke the story. USA Today’s story is here.

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Blogger Wayne Allen Sallee said...

This way of thinking baffles me. I have nieces that were two when 9/11 happened and they have no recollection of the events. So, if they needed to "cope" with, say, a tornado--one of the twins is afraid of tornadoes even though we live in Chicago--why subject them to images like the one of the WTC? You are right, too, in saying discussion is better than pulling out the Crayola box.

Monday, May 4, 2009 at 10:55:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Color Online said...

Why is it an either or situation? And we're assuming discussion is better because?

Art therapy is has been proven to be very effective and can be used as a tool to helping people including children to express how they feel.

I've learned through volunteering a youth agency that art is very useful and not just for the very young. I was initially surprised but have learned that older children and young adults crave artistic outlets. They don't always want or can articulate how they feel by talking.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 1:15:00 PM PDT  

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