Not Fat Because I Wanna BeWritten by: LaNiyah Bailey
Publisher: Createspace/Bright Girl Publishing, Inc
ISBN Number: 978-1461006763
Publication Date: March 2011
Genre of Book: Children’s Picture Book
LaNiyah Bailey is a 6‐year‐old author with a message for children like her – just because you are bigger than other kid, that doesn’t mean that people have the right to bully you.
In her debut book, Not FAT Because I Wanna Be, LaNiyah details the struggle of Jessica, a fictional girl who has an underlying medical issue that causes her to gain weight. Bullied by her peers, Jessica learns to accept her body and eventually opens up about her condition to her classmates.
LaNiyah is not only speaking to other children through her book, but has become anadvocate for anti‐bullying organizations.
With a message that words can hurt and that not all weight gain is due to an unhealthy lifestyle, LaNiyah hopes her book will enlighten and entertain her young readers.
“I just wish this book can help other kids like me...and I wish it can help people see that [even though] you might be big that you are not unhealthy or… a monster like people may make you feel.”
Not Fat Because I Wanna Be is about a 6 year-old girl named Jessica who is overweight. She watches TV and hears that if children eat healthier they are less likely to become obese. In Jessica’s case, she’s obese, but it’s not because she doesn’t eat healthy. This confuses her. Her mother talks to her about how there are many things that make a person special, like hair color, height, freckles, etc…
But being obese is not the only thing that is bothering Jessica, it’s the teasing and bullying she’s receiving at school. Even teachers made rude and hurtful comments as she walked by. Each and every day held some new pain for Jessica. She would talk to her parents, and though they would reassure her that beauty comes from within, and for her to look at all the blessings in her life, it didn’t always help.
Her mother and father took Jessica to a doctor who might be able to identify any problems that might be causing her obesity. Sure enough, apparently she had quite a few problems, but the story focuses on a main one. Jessica gets an x-ray taken, as well as some blood. Not fun for a young child, but the doctor and nurses made her experience more delightful then it could have been.
Having trust in her doctor, and liking the way he treated her, not as a person who was obese, but like the wonderful child she was, really turned Jessica’s attitude around. He discovered that she had constipation and her colon was extremely swollen, which caused her stomach to stick out abnormally. Jessica learned what she had to do to keep it to a normal size as well as what to eat and what not to eat. But after she tells the children in her preschool about her condition, will they just tease her more, or will her bullying problem ever cease?
This is a story written my LaNiyah's mother, Latoya M. White, but embodies LaNiyah's experiences, thoughts and emotions. The moral of this story is for everyone to treat each other with respect no matter what they look like. As we all know, beauty fades, but what we are on the inside will always make us beautiful. Jessica had to learn to accept herself and her flaws. She put too much emphasis on what other people thought when she should’ve been more concerned with how she thought of herself. As individuals we must feel comfortable and happy in our own skin. If we are not happy with how we look or act, then it is up to us to fix it. In this case, Jessica’s family wanted her to be healthy and happy, so they took her to a doctor to identify any problems so they could be fixed, but it is up to Jessica to fix her self esteem.
Believing in yourself and what you can do is very important. That confidence is often blossomed at home; the sad fact is that some parents aren’t aware of what their children are doing or saying. Bullying is a big problem everywhere, even adults can get bullied, but that behavior is stemmed from somewhere and when children are younger, it is when they are the most impressionable, which makes parent’s responsible for setting their child straight on how to treat others. We should always remember the golden rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated.
Children from the ages of 4-8 who have had experience with bullies, will be able to empathize with Jessica’s plight and will hopefully learn something about themselves at the same time. There is no better strength then the one we find in ourselves to endure and overcome when times are difficult. It is that strength that people will see.
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