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MJWare
10-25-2009, 09:30 AM
Does anyone else get strange looks when they buy kid lit?
Ok, so I'm 35 and starting to loose some of my hair. Does that mean I can't enjoy Ronald Dahl or Meg Cabot?

No one's ever said anything, but I have had parents give me strange looks (even cold stares) when I browse the kids section by myself.

I take my daughter to Barns & Noble, but she's 2 and likes to take every book off the shelf. Which means she can't yet accompany me to used and independent book stores.

I can't really blame parents, what with everything that they show on the nightly news. It just always feel like I'm in the restricted section.

Maybe when I finally get a book published I'll get a t-shirt that says, 'Children's book Author, don't be frightened.'

Anyone else get this? Could it be my imagination?

Wayne K
10-25-2009, 09:33 AM
I can blame the parents. Now you can't buy a book for your kid without accusatory stares? I'd spit in someone's eye if they did it to me. Sorry, but I would.

thethinker42
10-25-2009, 09:34 AM
Does it occur to no one that you could be buying them as gifts?

Wayne K
10-25-2009, 09:38 AM
I could also make the argument that while stupid is staring at me their eyes are not on their child, during which time they can be abducted by an actual pedo, so it's bad parenting.

MJWare
10-25-2009, 10:33 AM
Maybe I should explain a little better. I live in a very conservative upper-middle class area.
They actually arrested an old man a while back for watching kids play at a public park, charged him to loitering (said he was looking at the kids funny, no joke).

So the indent that got me thinking/upset happened a few weeks back. I was at this small book store where the kid section is in the back corner, surrounded by bookshelves on three sides.
This little boy, I don't know 5-7 comes running over. Sees me and just stares like I'm the Jolly Green Giant. NP, he's a kid and I'm blocking the picture books, so I smile and move over. But as he's getting down to find a book his mom comes over and grabs him by the arm. She pulls him away while giving me an icy stare.

Maybe she didn't want to leave her kid there with a stranger and was ticked she had to take him with her. But I don't think so because...

I immediately headed over to the science fiction section but they didn't return to the kidlit until I was checking out.

Most (but not all) of the other strange looks come from staff when I ask them to point me to the latest Meg Cabot (her teen or MG stuff--that lady has a gift).

I've pretty sure I don't look like a pervert. Adults and kids always come up and talk to me outside the book store. I always figured it would kind'a suck to be big and tall, as little kids would be frightened of you.

My guess is it is just that strange upper-middle class fear, that seems to exist (even though the FBI rated my city as one of the safest in the entire country).

chocowrites
10-25-2009, 10:36 AM
Eh, don't worry about it too much. Actually, adults in the kids section don't seem strange to me at all--I assume that they're just buying gifts or that their kids are somewhere around the bookstore.

Actually, I get a lot of weird stares, since I'm a teen and I'm looking a books that usually are for ten-year-olds. What can I say? I like middle grade :)

thethinker42
10-25-2009, 10:38 AM
People are right to be wary, but this paranoia is getting out of hand.

I had a mother freak out at me because I a) grabbed her child and b) put my hand on the child's rear.

And she's right. I did.

Never mind the fact that her child was falling off a piece of playground equipment and I was trying to keep him from breaking his neck. Yes, in my efforts to break his fall, I ended up catching him with one hand on his rear and one on his arm. I didn't grab him. I caught him. Ungrateful bitch...

JoNightshade
10-25-2009, 10:44 AM
Yeah, I wouldn't worry about it. I get odd looks all the time. Honestly, you'd think an obviously pregnant woman would get a free pass from everyone, right? I mean, I'm mommy-to-be, all frail and delicate and all that. (Okay except when I'm using power tools or carrying a load of groceries, you get the idea.)

But nobody ever smiles back anymore. When I see a mom with a kid I will smile at the kid and then look at the mom and I always get a cold stare. What, like I'm going to do something? Or that it's weird that I might want to smile at a small child? I've been trying to get a smile out of the mom who shares my car park for several months now - no dice.

Seriously, people. Lighten up.

Wayne K
10-25-2009, 10:48 AM
The people who prosecuted that man should be ashamed of themselves. 70% of murdered children are killed by parents, so should we prosecute parents who look at their children with anger in their eyes? How about the ones who raise their voices to the kid?

Nivarion
10-25-2009, 11:51 AM
I normally get strange stares for walking up to the counter with a pile of thousand page books in one arm, and kids books in the other.

I like everything with a merit.

However, I think a lot of people are getting overly cautious of everything. As I understand it, things like paedophilia haven't really gone up since people started really paying attention to it. But its just so easy to hear about it now.

And then we have that joke of a sex offenders list, which is IMHO a load of libel, since it doesn't state the When/Where/Circumstances of the crime, or the circumstances of the perp, or even the crime commited. For all you know they were rude to an overly sensitive woman, or actually raped a child.

The list isn't that bad an idea, its just... half baked.

Also, I seriously dislike that they can arrest you for a look, or your location. Screams thought policing to me. He was arrested for what he might do, not anything he had done. For all they knew his doctor had told him to get more fresh air and sun.

Or grandson had a very long walk home.

Bluegate
10-25-2009, 11:54 AM
I'm going to be the turd here. While I sympathize with you and I definitely understand your upset don't you think your anger ought to be directed at the sick twisted fucks who rape, torture and murder little children and not at the paranoid frightened parents who honestly canít tell the difference anymore? I donít disagree for a moment that people can be a serious pain in the behind with misplaced fear and judgment. It can and does ruin many peopleís lives and that is a profound wrong of horrific proportions. Unfortunately parents see daily headlines of child after child gone missing and then found dead later at the hand of a monster no one ever suspected.
Maybe what we need is to start getting to know each other again. It seems that everyone is a stranger anymore. We talk to one another online all around the world but have no idea who the guy next door is. How the hell are people supposed to know who the bad guys are when they donít even know who the locals are?
:Soapbox: Ok, off the soap box. Thank you for coming. Iíll be here all week. Please tip your waitress

trocadero
10-25-2009, 12:43 PM
I know this is a serious thread, but Wayne K's statement made me chuckle:

70% of children are killed by parents...

thethinker42
10-25-2009, 12:44 PM
I know this is a serious thread, but Wayne K's statement made me chuckle:

70% of children are killed by parents...

Glad I'm not the only one who noticed that...LOL...

Wayne K
10-25-2009, 01:10 PM
70% of murdered children are killed by a parent.

Bluegate, I hear what you're saying, but lets apply that fear evenly. A large percentage of sexually abused children are sexually abused by parents. Do I get to speak up?
I'd really like to.
If they can give me accusatory stares, then I get to give them too. I get to call DCS if I see a parent look at their kid funny. It gets real bad from there. But hey, I'm playing the percentages. I'm being a stand up citizen.

kaitie
10-25-2009, 01:30 PM
I thought it was more like 90% but you have a very valid point. The vast majority of kids are sexually abused by people close to them. Family, teachers, etc.

I worked in a preschool once, and I know that the male teachers always had a harder time than the women. There was the question of "why would you want to work there?" For a woman, no one would ever think twice, but if you were a man, you were held to different standards. And lately there has been a huge increase in the number of female teachers abusing their students.

It's important to watch your children and be careful. I've known people who were abused, and I can definitely understand the idea that we should be wary of strangers. I also think it's sad, however, when a person can't buy a book without getting funny looks. I hate that people assume the worst of everyone.

Yesterday, I was running around outside the station with my neighbor's two-year-old daughter. She's an adorable kid, and she was playing peekaboo with a towel. There was another foreign guy who came over on his way past and picked up the towel and did a peekaboo with her. It was really cute, and she had a blast and just giggled like crazy at it. I have a really hard time seeing anyone doing that in America.

thethinker42
10-25-2009, 01:52 PM
I worked in a preschool once, and I know that the male teachers always had a harder time than the women. There was the question of "why would you want to work there?" For a woman, no one would ever think twice, but if you were a man, you were held to different standards. And lately there has been a huge increase in the number of female teachers abusing their students.


I've also read several articles that mentioned that men are backing away from teaching at all, at any grade level, because of this.

Wayne K
10-25-2009, 01:55 PM
I've also read several articles that mentioned that men are backing away from teaching at all, at any grade level, because of this.
A teacher in California was jailed because of false accusations. Even after the kids came forward years later he couldn't get work.

colealpaugh
10-25-2009, 02:01 PM
Maybe I should explain a little better.

Bah, you need to thicken your skin up a bit and just browse away for those books -- but with care. I'm a 40-something yr old guy in charge of 18 girls in a soccer club that runs from May until November. My girls are mostly 11 and 12, and the majority are showing signs (sadly) of not being little girls anymore. I don't slap them on the butt for scoring (like we do in our adult league), and we have a brief reminder about the evils of secrets. If I need to discipline a player, I have another coach standing with me. Yes, club coaches have background checks, but doesn't every sicko start somewhere?

Anyway, I guess I'm suggesting you do everything with the appearance of care. If a kid walks up to you in a bookstore, make way for them. Just take a step away, as if they have the flu. If they talk to you, talk back in a voice everyone can hear, or say "Sorry, I'm not sure". Really, you don't engage strange children in any way, or you're exposing yourself to defensive behavior from parents.

thethinker42
10-25-2009, 02:03 PM
A teacher in California was jailed because of false accusations. Even after the kids came forward years later he couldn't get work.

That's the other thing...all it takes is an accusation, and your credibility is toast.

Bluegate
10-25-2009, 02:10 PM
70% of murdered children are killed by a parent.

Bluegate, I hear what you're saying, but lets apply that fear evenly. A large percentage of sexually abused children are sexually abused by parents. Do I get to speak up?
I'd really like to.
If they can give me accusatory stares, then I get to give them too. I get to call DCS if I see a parent look at their kid funny. It gets real bad from there. But hey, I'm playing the percentages. I'm being a stand up citizen.

Oh hell. Let's just all turn each other in and call it a day. LOL
I get it. I really do. It is deeply offensive and insulting when a total stranger looks at you like you’re some kind of perve for no good reason. It's completely messed up on both sides.

Seems like for a long time no one did anything at all and kids paid the price and now there's too much being done and usually in all the wrong places. Kids still pay the price. I've just seen too much of this evil and it gets my blood boiling. You should be able to play with little kids or buy children’s books if you want. And you should be able to tell the neighbor kid or parent to knock it the f**k off once in a while.
Unfortunately there just isn't a look or type that you can pin down so everybody gets ID'd. Maybe we should just get all Clint Eastwood squinty eyed and start shooting. {Hypothetically speaking of course}
You get enough lead flying through the air and you’re bound to hit a bad guy eventually. Seems like that's the action plan we’re working with these days.

I meant no offense to anyone here. I just wanted to say that there were two sides to the issue.

Wayne K
10-25-2009, 02:22 PM
I didn't see anything offensive about your post. It does explain why parents like that act the way they do.

Hedgetrimmer
10-25-2009, 05:08 PM
This thread conjures old memories, but I'll leave it alone.

Ellefire
10-25-2009, 05:09 PM
I would assume the books were gifts and that you were a dad with some rare time away from the family. And even if I was wrong on that count, the likelihood of you trying to snatch my child in Waterstones would be pretty low. I would have probably talked to you instead of yanking my child away.

It's all very well teaching your kids all about stranger danger and innapropriate touching but you have to teach them the importance of communication too. The way things are going, you're going to need a police background check just to say hello to a child as you ring up the books they have bought at the check-out. It's wrong.

In my city a few years ago, there was a little boy of about 3 or 4 who wandered away from his mother, walked through the city centre to the train station and climbed onto the tracks. At that point someone finally thought to grab him. It made me wonder how many adults had seen the child on the the street and thought 'No way am I touching that child, I do not wish to spend the evening in a police interview room on suspicion of abduction'. The child was ok but so easily may not have been and who's fault (aside from the parent) would it have been?

I don't want my children growing up thinking that everyone is a peadophile. There's common sense and then there is paranoia.

Polenth
10-25-2009, 08:10 PM
I don't get looks from shopping. I get looks when I exclaim "Ooo, look at this one! It has sparkles! I don't have this one" to whoever I'm with.

I don't interact with the children though. I keep some distance, avoid getting into conversation and don't smile at them. It's not worth the grief from parents.

Day O'
10-25-2009, 08:20 PM
I would guess many people get weird looks when they're buying stuff from genres they're "not supposed" to read in. Imagine the looks a middle aged man gets when buying romance. Or the old lady buying erotica. So the clerk thing, unfortunately, is probably "normal".

Now, the parents are another matter. My sonís older now, but when he was ten and under I never let him out of my sight. If there was a man in the childrenís section, so what? I was right there. I certainly wouldnít be rude to him or waste my time imagining his reasons for being there. Spending time with your kids and being responsible is far better protection than giving people rude looks or trying to control who can go somewhere in a pubic place.

Millicent M'Lady
10-25-2009, 08:25 PM
People are right to be wary, but this paranoia is getting out of hand.

I had a mother freak out at me because I a) grabbed her child and b) put my hand on the child's rear.

And she's right. I did.

Never mind the fact that her child was falling off a piece of playground equipment and I was trying to keep him from breaking his neck. Yes, in my efforts to break his fall, I ended up catching him with one hand on his rear and one on his arm. I didn't grab him. I caught him. Ungrateful bitch...

What?! I mean, just... what?! She actually freaked out at you for that? What an asshat! Would she have liked you to stand by and watch while the kid broke his neck?!

I honestly do think this is an upper middle class thing. While working in grocery, I have worked in four different stores, with one of them being in the customers considered to be an "affluent" area. (Translation: a lot of them thought they were loaded and privileged and so looked down their nose at the staff.)

I lost count at the number of times I smiled or waved at a cute child whose parent I was serving or who was passing by and staring. This was all while I was in uniform. In the vast, vast majority of cases, I received dirty looks from parents, scowls or the child being dragged away while the parent eyed you suspiciously.

The horrible thing is that these kids were also unresponsive to friendliness and that, to me, is cruel. If you are teaching your kids to distrust everyone, you are doing them a grave disservice. How the hell can you expect a child to learn social skills if you are treating everyone like they are trying to steal/assault them?

Smish
10-25-2009, 08:33 PM
Until recently, I would have found it outrageous that you're given strange looks, MWare. However, now I have a different perspective.

A few months ago, I was at one of the large book stores. Like many stores, this store's children's section was seperated from the rest of the store, in its own sort of wing. It was mid-morning on a weekday, and there was no one in the area but me. So, I grabbed a bunch of books, found a cozy corner in the back, and plopped on the ground with my books.

Awhile later, a man sat down next to me and said, "I have $200." I stared at him blankly. He repeated, "I have $200." Congratulations? "Look, I'm cool, okay? Chris said I could find you here and you'd hook me up with some good shit." What?!

I told him I didn't know Chris. "He said you did, and told me exactly where to find you."

So, I had to explain to this man that I am not a drug dealer. I waved at all the books around me and told him I was a children's book writer and there to do research. He said, "Oh. I guess Chris's girl already left then." I guess so...

Anyway, I had to notify the store manager that drug deals were apparently taking place in the children's section of his store, and now I question the practice of keeping the kid's section somewhat closed off from the rest of the store.

BigWords
10-25-2009, 08:45 PM
It's not just bookstores where you can get funny looks from people for buying things that are seen as juvenile. I went into a well-known toy shop to buy some toys for my niece (I took a list with me so I got the right stuff) and I had a store employee follow me around every single aisle like a shadow... In that time I saw a little kid getting dragged around by their arm and a kid whose hand was slapped every time he tried to touch anything. The moron who worked for the store didn't even think to check that there wasn't a problem with those children, too intent on following me around everywhere.

Needless to say, I'm not entirely thrilled about shopping there again... I'm sure places where the staff act as if you're a child molester just because you happen to be in the store without a child are losing customers.

MsJudy
10-25-2009, 09:01 PM
I agree that it's a class/cultural thing. I live in an area where there are two towns. One is upscale, rich dads who commute to Silicon Valley and moms who devote their lives to Junior's every interest. The other town is the strawberry capital of the world (sorry, Oxnard) and chock-full of immigrants from Michoacan, Jalisco and Oaxaca.

Both towns have a dog park. In the rich town, I see few kids, and never unsupervised. Ever. In the Mexican neighborhood, half the time there's no grown-up to be seen, just a group of kids with a pack of Chihuahuas. They think absolutely nothing of coming up to a strange dog owner and striking up all kinds of conversations, and no one gives you a dirty look for answering them.

The thing about the OP's story that strikes me: Mom let the kid out of her sight. It's her own fault he got into a possibly dangerous situation. So it's a total projection on her part to give you the dirty look. It would serve her right if you gave her the perviest leer you possibly could, maybe even a nice "bwa-ha-ha." Then suggested she try to keep an eye on her demon spawn.

But then, I used to work in a bookstore. You'd be amazed at how many parents think it's really just a free baby-sitting service. "Stay here and look at the books while I run down to Macy's and try on a few dozen shirts, darling."

GraysonMoran
10-25-2009, 10:07 PM
I dunno, I kind of get the hots over Charlotte. Web porn before web porn was cool.

Seriously, I'm getting so I'm afraid to even look at children anymore. It's like there's all these vigilantes out there with really dirty minds.

scarletpeaches
10-25-2009, 10:11 PM
I have a friend (female) who really loves children. I told her once that if I saw a kid crying in public, I'd walk right on by. She was horrified. I explained, I wouldn't want to be accused of trying to abduct a kid, so it's up to the parents to make sure they don't lose their child.

My friend said no matter what the circumstance she'd make sure the child got somewhere safe and I said, "Fine, if you want to be accused of all sorts, that's up to you. You'd put the child first. I'd put me first."

It's a shame it's come to that, but that's how I'd act. Unless I knew the child. That would be a different story. Otherwise...I'd walk.

Kitty Pryde
10-25-2009, 10:25 PM
Something else frustrating: in LA, only the big main branch of the library has a good selection of YA novels. My local branch has a pitiful variety. The only problem is that adults aren't allowed to go into the YA section at the main branch! That's right! Not allowed to enter! To me this is crazy. I mean, it's possible that creepazoids could go into the YA section and bug the teens...but they let creepy adults lounge around in the kiddie section. Anyways. I would go in there anyways, because I look like a 15 year old, but I know someone who works there so my ruse would fail. The conclusion is that I have to request all my YA library books online because I am not permitted to browse the shelves.

Ellefire
10-25-2009, 11:41 PM
Surely that's discrimination Kitty? *shocked face*

sydney
10-26-2009, 12:06 AM
Omg Kitty that's so ridiculous!

To the OP, I'd just say don't take it personally. I know it's not easy to thicken your skin, but you can't blame parents for being overly cautious. I mean, the whole Garrido thing that came up a couple months ago is scary as hell.

ResearchGuy
10-26-2009, 01:09 AM
Does anyone else get strange looks when they buy kid lit?. . .
Never noticed. But what the heck, I have grandchildren, and a bunch of nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews, so who knows (or should care) whether I am buying YA (or younger, like Van Draanen's "Sammy Keyes" books) books for myself or for the kids, or both? Just yesterday my wife and I bought some books (author was there signing) from our long-time friend Linda Joy Singleton (http://www.lindajoysingleton.com/). Linda Joy pointed out that her books are only nominally for kids. They are really for everyone, and she writes to please herself. (Must be doing a good job of it.)

--Ken

MJWare
10-26-2009, 01:20 AM
Something else frustrating: in LA, only the big main branch of the library has a good selection of YA novels. My local branch has a pitiful variety. The only problem is that adults aren't allowed to go into the YA section at the main branch! That's right! Not allowed to enter!

My library has the same thing. All the YA and Upper MG is in there. I'm not sure if it's really off limits, but it does appear that way.

Bluegate
10-26-2009, 01:26 AM
Just wondering...are these libraries still letting NAMBLA meetings take place?

Ken
10-26-2009, 01:37 AM
... several years back I took a free writing class in the basement of a city library. After class, I browsed through books in the children's section. Not finding what I was looking for I asked the librarian, and mentioned I was an aspiring writer, when questioned about why I wanted books from the section. "Oh," she said. "You're an aspiring writer. When I spotted you in the children's section I thought you might have been a ...!" Can't really blame people, though. Crazy world we live in, these days.

wyntermoon
10-26-2009, 02:14 AM
Good discussion but I'll be moving this to the Roundtable for a broader audience.

Mr Flibble
10-26-2009, 02:36 AM
I've been thinking about this a lot just lately. Parents are constantly bombarded with messages about how their little darlings can be hurt - by anything - junk food, pollution, peados, seat belts....you name it, it's a danger, and after a while it becomes a concious effort NOT to worry. My and the Old Man have made an real effort not to wrap our kids in cotton wool. But it's hard sometimes. Every time my boy walks the dog there's that tiny little voice at the back of my mind....But he still walks the dog.

And for some parents, everything is a danger. I take our dog for a walk ( and bear in mind he's the soppiest half spaniel idiot who ever lived). He loves kids - if only because they're normally covered in sticky stuff that he likes to lick off, and they're generally good for a pat - but he gets within ten feet of a kid and I get 'the stare'. The 'OMG YOUR DOG IS IN A PARK AND WALKING!!!! KEEP HIM UNDER CONTROL BEFORE HE RUNS AMOK AND EATS MY CHILD!!!!' stare. Poor little sod, he's only walking along and the parents almost yank their kids away. Any wonder they get to six or so and scream if a dog, any dog, is anywhere near them? Probably associate dogs with having their arms ripped from their sockets.

When we first had my son my Old Man hated having to push him around without me - he'd get the 'you abducted that child!' looks at every turn. Because ofc no man with long hair ever had a kid....

I remember talking to my dad about this, and he told me about the time he was at the cinema with his aunts in teh Thirties. The guy next to him started getting a little, ahem, fresh. His aunts didn't make a fuss - they just swapped seats so my dad wasn't sitting next to him. It went on, but you didn't hear too much about it other than rumours.

Nowadays, it's too easy to see and hear about the stories that don't work out so well. The Sarah Payne's ( and that hit home when some of her clothes were found on the road I grew up on), the Jamie Bulgers. It's hard not to think that the whole world is just waiting to get your kid. It's hard - but so is being a parent.

So frankly I feel sorry for these parents -- and their kids. They live lives of perpetual fear.

Xelebes
10-26-2009, 02:39 AM
I personally don't get the glances or stares. Mind you, I don't find myself in the yound adult or kid section often but whatever.



The paranoia reminds me of my sister's friends from years back who she no longer talks to, whose mother was all paranoid about paedophiles and would accuse everybody who chanced a glance at her children of being such. Turns out she was sleeping with her son whenever her husband would spend the night out at the bar.

Cyia
10-26-2009, 02:53 AM
My library has the same thing. All the YA and Upper MG is in there. I'm not sure if it's really off limits, but it does appear that way.

The closest non-school library here (not even in my town :( ) doesn't have a separate room for kid/MG/YA lit, but it is sort of sequestered into a "reading area" in the back. IMO, that doesn't make much sense. If the library feels there's reason to keep an eye on the kids, then their section should be closest to the librarians' desk.

Assuming anyone in the kiddie area of a bookstore is just stupid. The person could be a parent shopping for their kid, someone buying for a book drive at school, a teacher who's checking to see what's new, or any number of other things.

HelloKiddo
10-26-2009, 03:34 AM
adults aren't allowed to go into the YA section at the main branch!

Wow! That is seriously weird. Sorry you have to go through that. Do they allow kids in the adult section?

I don't usually enter the YA or kids section, except on rare occasions when I'm terribly bored and just start browsing to see what's new and wander over there mindlessly. On the rare occasions I do enter the kids section to find a book I feel slightly weird, like I'm buying porn or something.

I can see why they want adults away--having the adults there intimidates kids. When I go over there I'm careful to keep a distance from the kids so I don't bother them, but I can tell they feel shy, like they always have to be submissive to the grownups and let us go first. It's supposed to be "their" section, they should be able to walk around freely without feeling uncomfortable.

Still, adults often read kids and YA books. There's nothing strange about that.

thethinker42
10-26-2009, 03:41 AM
What?! I mean, just... what?! She actually freaked out at you for that? What an asshat! Would she have liked you to stand by and watch while the kid broke his neck?!

I actually asked her that. All she could do was scream at me that "how dare I touch her child like that" and threaten to call the police. I shrugged and said "better to call the cops on me than the paramedics on him, I guess", and walked away.

Pepper
10-26-2009, 04:04 AM
Wow. I wonder if this is an American thing or what..... I've never not once had any of the issues you guys have mentioned.

I worked at one of the major theme parks on the Gold Coast for a year as a ride operator. Ride operators always start in the kiddie area of the park because those are the easiest rides to be trained on. Maybe I just looked too unassuming. I'm a shortass for a start at 5'2''. I have a great big smile and I was stuck in a uniform that was too big for me. And I'm a bit of a girly girl.

There were HEAPS of times where I "should" have gotten death glares from the parents.

~ I had a mother just casually pass me her toddler to hold (like it was a backpack or something) while she climbed into the ride.
~ I've grabbed and even picked up many toddlers as they tried climbing out of the ride by themselves (and looked like they were about to fall face-first into the concrete)
~ I've smiled and even talked to many little kids. They all treated me like I was their new best friend. The parents would just smile and sigh at how outgoing their little one was.
~ I had a little girl hold my hand. No reason. She just walked up to me and held my hand and smiled at me. I had to search the queue line for the mother, who just laughed and said thank you when I told her what happened.
~ I had a crying toddler in my arms- that's right, my arm was under the kid's butt- while I tried to find the parents who'd let the kid wander off.

I've never not once got a glare. I've even smiled and talked to kiddies in the shops. Nothing.

Maybe it's an Aussie thing. Or maybe all you guys just look creepy :D :D

Michiru
10-26-2009, 04:07 AM
I go both ways on this.

On one hand, I can hardly blame parents for trying to protect their children. There are dangerous people in the world, and you can't tell who they are just by looking at them, so it makes sense that a parent would want to get to know who their kids interact with while those kids are young.

HOWEVER. I see a lot of ignorance and stereotyping in glaring at grownups in the kid section. As a writer, it's annoying that people assume that YA is sanitized, silly schlock, which no adult could ever be interested it. I remember when Madonna published her kids books, she talked about how easy it was because there wasn't any substance in them. I have friends who are flabbergasted when they hear that YA has swearing and drug use in it. What era are they living in?

And as a human being, it's annoying that men who like kids are automatically assumed to be weird. It's true that most pedophiles and rapists are men, but that doesn't mean a majority of men are sick that way, particularly not strangers--it shocks most people to find out what was already pointed out in this thread, that people are usually assaulted by people they know. If these parents are so interested in protecting their children, why haven't they bothered to learn stuff like that?

JoNightshade
10-26-2009, 04:23 AM
In my city a few years ago, there was a little boy of about 3 or 4 who wandered away from his mother, walked through the city centre to the train station and climbed onto the tracks. At that point someone finally thought to grab him. It made me wonder how many adults had seen the child on the the street and thought 'No way am I touching that child, I do not wish to spend the evening in a police interview room on suspicion of abduction'. The child was ok but so easily may not have been and who's fault (aside from the parent) would it have been?

This is just unfathomable to me. It's the ultimate example of the pendulum swinging so far to one side that the opposite affect results. Everyone gets so paranoid about kids and pedophiles that we actually stop looking out for each other.

I don't care where I am, a park or a mall or anything - if I see a small child who appears to be alone, I am WATCHING that child like a hawk until I identify the parent/guardian and make sure they are tended.

I do as much for dogs, actually.

Pepper
10-26-2009, 04:28 AM
I don't care where I am, a park or a mall or anything - if I see a small child who appears to be alone, I am WATCHING that child like a hawk until I identify the parent/guardian and make sure they are tended.

Ditto

sydney
10-26-2009, 04:35 AM
Well, I think it's easier for women to be around children and not get harassed. They still do, yeah, but not as much as men. From what I've seen, at least.

And seriously--not all YA is squeaky clean. Plenty of adults read it and, well, write it :)

colealpaugh
10-26-2009, 05:25 AM
Just wondering...are these libraries still letting NAMBLA meetings take place?

I just ran that question past my wife, who is a library director, and her answer was a resounding no. Here's the policy which such a gathering would violate:

"The Community Room may not be used for any event that includes sexual behavior, performance or other acts that are deemed harmful or inappropriate by the board."

Her board also denied a minister who wanted to hold meetings for "former" sex offenders. I applauded their decision. Imagine having twenty "ex" pedophiles come meet in a room right next to a children's reading area? Jeez, and a few people called the board Nazis.

thethinker42
10-26-2009, 05:27 AM
Something else frustrating: in LA, only the big main branch of the library has a good selection of YA novels. My local branch has a pitiful variety. The only problem is that adults aren't allowed to go into the YA section at the main branch! That's right! Not allowed to enter! To me this is crazy. I mean, it's possible that creepazoids could go into the YA section and bug the teens...but they let creepy adults lounge around in the kiddie section. Anyways. I would go in there anyways, because I look like a 15 year old, but I know someone who works there so my ruse would fail. The conclusion is that I have to request all my YA library books online because I am not permitted to browse the shelves.

Erm, don't they know that kids/teenagers have been known to molest other kids??? Wouldn't it behoove them to allow, oh I don't know, parental supervision?

KTC
10-26-2009, 05:41 AM
I can blame the parents. Now you can't buy a book for your kid without accusatory stares? I'd spit in someone's eye if they did it to me. Sorry, but I would.

I'm with Wayne here on this one. FUCK them. I have every right to buy any book I want to buy.


I check out kid-lit too...and I don't remember ever feeling this way...or seeing looks. I would probably say, "Have you got a problem? Do you want one?"

scarletpeaches
10-26-2009, 05:43 AM
I'm gonna start hanging round bookstores just to hear you say, "DO YOU WANT SOME? COME AND HAVE A GO!" Kevin.

Kitty Pryde
10-26-2009, 05:48 AM
Erm, don't they know that kids/teenagers have been known to molest other kids??? Wouldn't it behoove them to allow, oh I don't know, parental supervision?


Good point. It's just so crazy to me, because you could be, oh I dunno, a YA author, an aspiring YA author, or a parent/big sib trying to get some books to get a teen into reading, or picking up books for your kid's school assignment, but sorry you can't get in.

They do have adult supervision in the section in the form of numerous librarians specifically working in YA.

The same library lets adult homeless men lounge around in the KID'S section all day. Logic fail.

KTC
10-26-2009, 05:52 AM
I'm gonna start hanging round bookstores just to hear you say, "DO YOU WANT SOME? COME AND HAVE A GO!" Kevin.

i'm tough when i need to be

Silver King
10-26-2009, 05:57 AM
Never noticed. But what the heck, I have grandchildren, and a bunch of nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews, so who knows (or should care) whether I am buying YA (or younger, like Van Draanen's "Sammy Keyes" books) books for myself or for the kids, or both?
I was just about to say the same thing, word for word except for the author names and book titles.

Who cares about "icy stares" from parents, or anyone else for that matter? I don't look at most people for that long to notice anyway.

And if a kid wanders into my field of view and gets close enough, I might offer a kind word and acknowledge his or her presence. And if the parents don't like it, well that's tough shit for them.

And I say this as the same person who would throw himself in front of a speeding bus to save your precious child's life, never once looking toward you to make sure my actions were acceptable.

HelloKiddo
10-26-2009, 05:59 AM
I'm with Wayne here on this one. FUCK them. I have every right to buy any book I want to buy.

I check out kid-lit too...and I don't remember ever feeling this way...or seeing looks. I would probably say, "Have you got a problem? Do you want one?"

Yeah!


The same library lets adult homeless men lounge around in the KID'S section all day. Logic fail.

Hmmm...there must be a reason adults aren't allowed in the YA section then. They must have had some type of trouble that forced them to implement this new policy. You should ask. I'm curious to know now.

blacbird
10-26-2009, 06:13 AM
Does anyone else get strange looks when they buy kid lit?
Ok, so I'm 35 and starting to loose some of my hair. Does that mean I can't enjoy Ronald Dahl or Meg Cabot?

No one's ever said anything, but I have had parents give me strange looks (even cold stares) when I browse the kids section by myself.

I do this all the time (grandkids now; before that, kids). Never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever noticed such a thing happening. Maybe because lots of other parents/grandparents were in shopping for kids' books, too.

In addition, my wife and I own a toy store which features a book room, regularly visited by adults, alone.

Frankly, this sounds like nonsense. Are you sure you're not overreacting/imagining? Really. Think for a moment. A pedophile is going to attract a child with a book?

Somehow . . .

caw

HelloKiddo
10-26-2009, 06:17 AM
A pedophile is going to attract a child with a book?

Pedophiles try to get themselves where children are.

Silver King
10-26-2009, 06:25 AM
Pedophiles try to get themselves where children are.
That's true, and it's high time we lock children away from the rest of the world for their own good. Seriously. Without prey, the hunter will starve.

Flint
10-26-2009, 06:26 AM
Are you sure you're not just projecting these feelings onto others? Why would anyone give another person a strange look just because they're picking up children's books?


Yeah!



Hmmm...there must be a reason adults aren't allowed in the YA section then. They must have had some type of trouble that forced them to implement this new policy. You should ask. I'm curious to know now.

That's an interesting theory. There's really no logical reason why an adult can't sit in the YA section. Especially considering that most YA sections are empty anyway of teens. Heck most libraries are empty of teens.


Something else frustrating: in LA, only the big main branch of the library has a good selection of YA novels. My local branch has a pitiful variety. The only problem is that adults aren't allowed to go into the YA section at the main branch! That's right! Not allowed to enter! To me this is crazy. I mean, it's possible that creepazoids could go into the YA section and bug the teens...but they let creepy adults lounge around in the kiddie section. Anyways. I would go in there anyways, because I look like a 15 year old, but I know someone who works there so my ruse would fail. The conclusion is that I have to request all my YA library books online because I am not permitted to browse the shelves.

That makes even less sense than forbidding adults from sitting in the YA section. YA books make up a good portion of books most ppl read. In any case most libraries don't have adequate selections anyway. The only time I go to browse is when I'm in the library picking up my reserved books. I do it just for the hell of it. The great majority of the time my browsing doesn't result in anything. But if you must browse my suggestion would be to starting wearing your hair in pigtails and get out that old catholic school girl uniform you haven't worn in years. They'll never spot you!

HelloKiddo
10-26-2009, 06:30 AM
Why would anyone give another person a strange look just because they're picking children's books?

There are people who think adults who read kids books are weird. I've decided they're weird. And annoying. Some people are slaves to marketing departments. If it's "for" kids why are adults there? Something must be wrong with that adult.

Smish
10-26-2009, 06:37 AM
Especially considering that most YA sections are empty anyway of teens anyway. Heck most libraries are empty of teens.

I'm not sure where you live, Flint, but that hasn't been the case in any of the cities where I've lived. After school hours, the libraries are full of teens. In fact, my current city has an entire branch devoted solely to YA novels.

Today's teens read. I promise.

thethinker42
10-26-2009, 06:37 AM
There are people who think adults who read kids books are weird. I've decided they're weird. And annoying. Some people are slaves to marketing departments. If it's "for" kids why are adults there? Something must be wrong with that adult.

There will always be people who think people who do X, Y, or Z are weird.

I write erotica. People think I'm sick, perverted (okay, they've got me there...), someone who shouldn't be around children (I'm serious, one person stopped just short of telling me I was on the same level as a sex offender and at least one person won't let me alone with her kids now), a porn addict, clearly not getting enough sex in my own life, a victim of childhood abuse, someone who condones objectifying men/women...you get the idea.

Can't please everyone, apparently.

scarletpeaches
10-26-2009, 06:41 AM
I think some people just can't stand to see others enjoying their work and having a good time and experiencing success.

maestrowork
10-26-2009, 06:49 AM
That's the other thing...all it takes is an accusation, and your credibility is toast.

Yup, I've known a few cases where the teachers were ruined if after the kids 'fessed up and said they made everything up. It's really a horrible way to live and work, constantly worrying about if your friendly pat on the shoulders would be seen as inappropriate. Not to mention hugs -- teachers are now advised or even forbidden to hug students. And don't even think of being mean to your students or flunking them -- they will take revenge.

It's absurd to think any adults without accompanying children would be potential molesters... People buy books for their children, nephews, etc. And you know what? Be a parent and keep your children safe around you at all times. Once I was at a coffee shop and this 7 year old boy was left at a table all by himself. Where were his parents? Oh, right, she was too busy chatting at the counter with a clerk.

scarletpeaches
10-26-2009, 06:51 AM
Primary school teaches in this country are discouraged from hugging a distressed child. If they fall over in the playground they need someone else present while they put a plaster on their knee and god forbid they give a hug.

Silver King
10-26-2009, 06:57 AM
I was just thinking about something that might be of interest: In Florida, where I live, the two greatest threats to children's lives are drownings and car accidents. So if parents spent less time trying to identify shady characters in book stores and more time learning to drive properly and teach their kids to swim, the mortality rate for children would drop dramatically.

Flint
10-26-2009, 07:22 AM
I'm not sure where you live, Flint, but that hasn't been the case in any of the cities where I've lived. After school hours, the libraries are full of teens. In fact, my current city has an entire branch devoted solely to YA novels.

Today's teens read. I promise.

I live in manhattan and while I do see the occassional teen or teens in the libraries when I go there, 99% of them are not there to pick up the latest Stephen King novel if they're there at all. Most of them are on the net just like the adults. However the YA section is almost always empty or nearly empty. If teens are reading I'm not seeing it and statistics in england and australia and god knows whereever else that suggest that kids are reading much less these days must all be wrong.

benbradley
10-26-2009, 07:36 AM
This thread conjures old memories, but I'll leave it alone.
I remember THAT (those?) thread, I was thinking of it before I got to your post, but if you don't want to go there, ...

At least let it be said that this topic has been discussed before.

benbradley
10-26-2009, 07:49 AM
Let's see, if I were going to be evil and lure a child away from some public or semipublic area, what would I use to entice them:

A book meant for children?

A hand-held electronic game/toy?

Candy?

If anyone deserves funny looks you'd think it would be adults who buy products in the last two categories. Buying books for children should be applauded for attempting to increase their literacy. Last I saw, with all the other distractions available to children these days, it's harder than ever to get them to READ BOOKS. But when it comes to parents and their children logic goes out the window to be replaced by paranoia.

Serious Desi
10-26-2009, 08:16 AM
I was a nanny for the summer and on my off weekends I'd browse the children section at the bookstore and I know what you mean, mothers give the dirtiest looks.


I found it unbelievable, my cousins and I were allowed to roam small stores and the book section when we were five or six, I'm not saying that's a good thing, but it happened.

Priene
10-26-2009, 10:13 AM
Once I was at a coffee shop and this 7 year old boy was left at a table all by himself. Where were his parents? Oh, right, she was too busy chatting at the counter with a clerk.

Are you saying that 7 year olds are so immature they shouldn't even be allowed to sit on their own for a few minutes?

MJWare
10-26-2009, 10:35 AM
Bah, you need to thicken your skin up a bit and just browse away for those books

I wasn't complaining (OK, maybe I was a little). I just wanted to see if I was the only one that saw this. Apparently I'm not.

blacbird
10-26-2009, 11:00 AM
There will always be people who think people who do X, Y, or Z are weird.

Well, Y is weird. X and Z are okay, but that damn Y, hey . . .

caw

blacbird
10-26-2009, 11:02 AM
Let's see, if I were going to be evil and lure a child away from some public or semipublic area, what would I use to entice them:

A book meant for children?

A hand-held electronic game/toy?

Candy?

If anyone deserves funny looks you'd think it would be adults who buy products in the last two categories.

For God's sake, people, I own a TOY store. Adults buy these things for children every damn day. Candy, too. Geeeezus. Let's get real. Start a thread about something serious. Lindsay Lohan or something.

caw

AllieKat
10-26-2009, 11:21 AM
I'm sorry so many of you have had this problem.

I don't talk to other people's kids, or usually smile at them, but little kids are cute. I'm just not comfortable about it, because I know how I'd feel if I was a parent. (Probably a little paranoid. I think a lot of it comes from how much the news media focuses on getting people terrified, frankly. I know, I know--different discussion.)

I go to the YA and even MG sections of the library and book store frequently. I don't get funny looks (to my knowledge), and I avoid interacting with the young people there.

But I probably really don't get looks in these sections because I look young. Yeah. Maybe I'm lucky that way after all.

(Side note: I remember the first time someone mistook me for a college student instead of a teenager. I was almost grinning from ear to ear and I wanted to thank her so much!!!)

I think it's difficult to be friendly to kids you don't know these days. (It's been a couple of years, but I used to volunteer to help with the younger kids for VBS down at our local church, and there was never any awkwardness about being nice to kids there. I remember some of them just wanted to be hugged constantly, but it was O.K., it was a safe place for that.)

I hope if I'm ever a parent I won't make my kids super-scared of strangers. It's good for kids to be cautious, but not afraid to be friendly in a normal, little-kid way. Really small children wave and smile at everyone. You almost can't help but smile and wave back. It would be nice if children could keep some of that innocent friendliness. We need more friendliness in this world, not less.

Bartholomew
10-26-2009, 11:21 AM
Does anyone else get strange looks when they buy kid lit?
Ok, so I'm 35 and starting to loose some of my hair. Does that mean I can't enjoy Ronald Dahl or Meg Cabot?

No one's ever said anything, but I have had parents give me strange looks (even cold stares) when I browse the kids section by myself.

I take my daughter to Barns & Noble, but she's 2 and likes to take every book off the shelf. Which means she can't yet accompany me to used and independent book stores.

I can't really blame parents, what with everything that they show on the nightly news. It just always feel like I'm in the restricted section.

Maybe when I finally get a book published I'll get a t-shirt that says, 'Children's book Author, don't be frightened.'

Anyone else get this? Could it be my imagination?

I treat every child I encounter the way I would treat a bear cub. Give it a wide berth, and don't let the mother see you too close.

(1 - They're germ riddled.
(2 - Their parents are nearby and in a bad mood. Always.
(3 - It may start crying, and if this happens while you're close, your only hope is to flee, or to have a keenly honed ability to teleport.

trocadero
10-26-2009, 12:38 PM
I suspect that the real reason adults would be banned from the YA section in the library is because there are usually way fewer titles than in the adults' section and they want YA readers to be able to access them.

timewaster
10-26-2009, 12:53 PM
I wasn't complaining (OK, maybe I was a little). I just wanted to see if I was the only one that saw this. Apparently I'm not.

I'm middle aged but female and I think people assume I'm buying for my own kids. I did experience something similar though in the library when I was browsing picture books. The Mums reading to their children were curious rather than hostile but they definitely thought I was a little odd and kept their children close.

Linda Adams
10-26-2009, 02:43 PM
I can go into the kid's section at the bookstore without any problems. Spent quite a while there picking out a book for one of my cousins. The local library--that's okay, too. The YA section is right next to the sci-fi section.

But the main library ... I have to go to the librarian at the desk and be escorted in. It makes it hard to browse for possible research books when someone is hovering behind you. I finally started just looking online and requesting the books be held. Much easier and less hassle.

Then, of course, this particular library also had a problem with the homeless coming in to stay all day.

Phaeal
10-26-2009, 06:43 PM
The media's delight in covering sensational stories gives the public the impression that murderers, pedophiles, etc., are lurking everywhere. And now every innocent passing balloon is going to be suspected of abducting a six-year-old kid.

Having worked for years in a mental health facility, I know only too well that the vast majority of abuse comes from people the victim knows well. So if people were being reasonable, it would be their family and friends they'd eye suspiciously. But, you see, people aren't reasonable. They want to believe it can only be the Big Bad Stranger who could do them and theirs harm.

GraysonMoran
10-26-2009, 07:03 PM
That's a really good point, Phael. And much of the well-meaning (slash exploitative) writing on the subject tends to create this drooling, creepy character lurking around the bushes.
When actually the danger is from the kindly pastor, hearty coach, revered priest, or just daddy and big brother.

It seems to me that the biggest thing people can do is to simply talk to their kids, listen to their kids and make their kids beleive that they can share things with them safely.

MGraybosch
10-26-2009, 10:51 PM
Does it occur to no one that you could be buying them as gifts?

That would require that they actually stop being paranoid for a moment and think.

MGraybosch
10-26-2009, 10:58 PM
I dunno, I kind of get the hots over Charlotte. Web porn before web porn was cool.

Chances are that somebody else has thought the same thing. Rule 34 is a harsh mistress.

MGraybosch
10-26-2009, 11:03 PM
I have a friend (female) who really loves children. I told her once that if I saw a kid crying in public, I'd walk right on by. She was horrified. I explained, I wouldn't want to be accused of trying to abduct a kid, so it's up to the parents to make sure they don't lose their child.

My friend said no matter what the circumstance she'd make sure the child got somewhere safe and I said, "Fine, if you want to be accused of all sorts, that's up to you. You'd put the child first. I'd put me first."

I agree with you, and that's exactly how I act around strangers' kids. If I see a kid crying, I turn my back, turn up the volume on my iPod, and walk away. And sometimes I'll change the song to "Dead Babies" by Alice Cooper.

I'm a long-haired metalhead, and I know I don't exactly look wholesome or entirely trustworthy. I've gotten stares when buying a cute plush toy for my wife, and even had a Barnes & Noble clerk question my motives when I came to the counter with a copy of Charles de Lint's A Circle of Cats that I wanted to buy for my wife.

Bluegate
10-26-2009, 11:32 PM
My husband once came to the aid of a little girl, 5yrs old, when another kid, 11yrs old, was hitting her. The boy was a total jerk, cursed at my husband and continued to hit the little girl. My husband gently and I do mean gently tapped the kid on the head to get his attention. Remember, the kid's hitting the little girl. Well the punk runs home tells his strung out mother who phones the police then comes over and attacks my husband. Hubby pushes her off just as the police arrive and charge him with assault. He had to take anger management classes! If it had been me there would have been bloodshed and prison time involved.
The world we live in has gone insane. We have created an environment that rewards looking the other way when a person is in need. We teach each other that to help someone is to pay a price and that is an incredible wrong. My husband did the right thing and he says he would do it again. The little girl needed help and that was more important than his inconvenience. It may be that people are persecuted for innocuous or even well meaning efforts of assistance but that doesn't mean its right. It doesn't and shouldn't mean that we curl up with fear and let bad things happen because we're afraid of dirty look or even something worse.
The atmosphere of fear we are seeing is an evil seed of apathy and we should not suffer it to grow.
Oh, I loves me some soapbox. :Ssh:

MGraybosch
10-26-2009, 11:37 PM
Oh, I loves me some soapbox. :Ssh:

In other words, no good deed goes unpunished?

GraysonMoran
10-27-2009, 01:09 AM
Chances are that somebody else has thought the same thing. Rule 34 is a harsh mistress.

LOL
I'm looking for the smut site for Animal Farm.

lucidzfl
10-27-2009, 02:30 AM
My husband once came to the aid of a little girl, 5yrs old, when another kid, 11yrs old, was hitting her. The boy was a total jerk, cursed at my husband and continued to hit the little girl. My husband gently and I do mean gently tapped the kid on the head to get his attention. Remember, the kid's hitting the little girl. Well the punk runs home tells his strung out mother who phones the police then comes over and attacks my husband. Hubby pushes her off just as the police arrive and charge him with assault. He had to take anger management classes! If it had been me there would have been bloodshed and prison time involved.
The world we live in has gone insane. We have created an environment that rewards looking the other way when a person is in need. We teach each other that to help someone is to pay a price and that is an incredible wrong. My husband did the right thing and he says he would do it again. The little girl needed help and that was more important than his inconvenience. It may be that people are persecuted for innocuous or even well meaning efforts of assistance but that doesn't mean its right. It doesn't and shouldn't mean that we curl up with fear and let bad things happen because we're afraid of dirty look or even something worse.
The atmosphere of fear we are seeing is an evil seed of apathy and we should not suffer it to grow.
Oh, I loves me some soapbox. :Ssh:

That sucks. I tell you what I would do, honestly, knowing that anyone who could raise that little piece of shit vag-turd probably is a god awful parent....

Ask the kid where his mother is. If he won't answer or doesn't know, begin yelling loudly if anyone there knows whose child it was.

If no one answers, immediately call the sheriffs office and tell them that there is a child who has been abandoned and is abusing one of the other children.

They show up, take the child / parent into custody, parent loses custody of child, your hubby comes home with the satisfaction he's ruined someone's day.

Everyone wins.

Soccer Mom
10-27-2009, 03:27 AM
Sounds like we've run the gamut of discussion. Locking now.