My nine-year-old son is overweight, and he knows it. He has a yet to be diagnosed muscle condition that makes it difficult for him to run or jump, so he does not participate in team sports, although we make sure he walks and swims.
When he went to his last annual check-up, his pediatrician suggested that I take him for a follow-up appointment with a pediatric neurologist at a local children’s hospital. I called, and was not able to get him in with the specialist he had seen before, but they scheduled him with another provider at the same facility.
What a mistake this turned out to be. Immediately upon our arrival, the neurologist pegged my son as lazy, and began to fat-shame him. He did not do it in the way that most doctors will, which is via veiled comments about the child getting more exercise and choosing healthier foods. No, indeed; he verbally abused my son for at least ten minutes, causing my boy to squeeze his eyes shut, cover his ears, and bend his head towards his lap as he attempted to shield himself from the doctor’s callous words.
Clearly, I should have stormed out of the office with my son, but I was caught off-guard. As awful as this experience was, it gave me the idea to write the eighth book in my children’s picture book series, Tales of Bark Story Land.
The book is called Dot and the Nutrition Club and it tells the story of Dot, a bulldog, and two other animal children who are called into the nurse’s office at school because their BMIs do not fit in with the school’s weight chart. The nurse tells them they are the charter members of the new “Nutrition Club,” and advises them to eat fewer than 1,200 calories a day, and drink only water.
Dot lives with her aunt and uncle, who quickly understand what is going on, and convince the school to change the “Nutrition Club” to the “Cardio Club,” and open it up to everyone. The animal children gather after school for active games and fun, and Dot feels better about herself, especially when she is asked to model a tutu in her dance studio’s fashion show.
I wrote this for all overweight children everywhere. My daughter, who is now a gorgeous 16-year-old lacrosse player, slender and fit, was fat-shamed when she was younger. She literally grew out of her puppy fat, but there were several years when she left the doctor’s office in tears. At one point, the pediatrician, who was well-intentioned but wrong, in my opinion, sent her to a nutrition specialist. She was the only non-anorexic girl in the waiting room, and the nutritionist said she was the healthiest child she had seen all day.
This topic brings me to tears, even though I have never been overweight myself. I hope this book inspires doctors and other adults who work with children to be sensitive when talking about weight, and to remember that everyone’s body is different.
Poor Dot learns that she does not fit into the numbers on the school nurse’s weight chart. When her Aunt Darling learns that Dot has been put in the school’s “Nutrition Club,” she sends her husband, Officer Caramel, down to the school to investigate. Soon enough, the Nutrition Club becomes the Cardio Club, and all animal children are welcome to join, regardless of body type.
Buy Dot and the Nutrition Club from Amazon
I live in Windermere, Florida with my husband and three children. I have owned and operated a wholesale automotive fleet leasing company called Courtney Leasing, Inc. since 1991. I just started writing in January 2016.
I have a degree in English and a master’s in secondary education, both from the University of Florida.
I am writing a series called The Grace Family Chronicles. it is historical fantasy in that the history is accurate, but the characters have special powers called “Graces.”
I also write a children’s picture book series called Tales of Bark Story Land.
My other books include two additional children’s picture books, and two middle grade books. I am working on converting a book I wrote blog-style into a middle grade novel.
Thanks for your interest. NSR (Never Stop Reading.)
Visit Courtney online at her Amazon Author Page