To the person who found my blog by searching “should you use the word fat when writing children’s books”:
Use the word “fat”. Use it as a descriptor. Use it positively. Say that a kid in the book is fat, along with everything else they are.
I grew up reading books with skinny, heroic kids, and fat, selfish, bratty bullies, fat villains, and fat, lazy kids clearly there to teach a lesson. These were books I loved – books I still love – but you don’t spend your entire life being told you’re the worthless sidekick or greedy villain without it taking its toll.
Write awesome fat characters. Tell fat kids that they’re awesome. Please, please, write books for fat kids, and help them grow up hating themselves a little less.
Write fat kids that are loyal and smart and funny and driven and kind. Write fat kids that love to read and that love to play sports. Write fat kids who go on adventures with their friends and save the day.
Write fat kids that are flawed and confused, not because they’re fat, but because being a kid is hard. Finding yourself is hard, and all kids get lost along the way.
Write fat kids that find their path again and come out the other side stronger, but not skinnier, than before.
Don’t tell fat kids that they’ll only be the sidekick or the villain or a teachable moment. Give them a fat hero to look up to. Teach them to be heroes.
And yes, please, use the word “fat”. Don’t hide their weight. Don’t use euphemisms. Don’t teach shame. Teach them to love themselves, whatever their bodies look like. Teach them to love other people, whatever their bodies look like.
Don’t tell them they’re beautiful just on the inside, but on the outside, too.
Please. Write fat kids.
A Fat Kid