As an author myself, I know how tough choosing a title for a book can be. It's a crowded marketplace, with plenty of other books competing for readers' attention. You need something snappy that will draw readers in and let them know what the book is about. A book's title can also spark a little outrage, generating buzz for a book that might easily be overlooked.

Such is the case, I suspect, with the forthcoming children's book, Maggie Goes On a Diet, by Paul Kramer. Yes, you read that right: A children's book. The story line, which is aimed at readers ages 4 to 8, is described in an Amazon product review as a book about a young overweight teenage girl who goes on a diet and, by doing so, is "transformed" into a "normal sized girl." The product review also says: "Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self image."

Talk about your mixed messages!

Fair warning: I have not read the book. It could be a wonderful and positive body acceptance message for young readers. But I find myself horrified at presenting young readers (mostly girls, I suspect) with the idea that an overweight teenage girl magically solves all her problems and becomes a popular athlete because she went on a "diet." Frankly, I cringe at the thought of even introducing the word "diet" -- as a verb -- to a four-year-old girl.

Yet, I find myself cheering a little at the idea of "Maggie" developing confidence and a positive self-image through exercise (and, hopefully, healthy eating habits and an attitude of kindness toward herself - though the review doesn't spell that part out). It's all in the delivery, isn't it?

I'm tired of the message that being less makes you more -- and, on the flip side, that being more (in body size, that is) somehow makes you less. If I could wave a magic wand and spread one message to kids, it would be this: Treat your body well, take care of it and use nice words when you talk about yourself and other people.

Come to think of it, there are plenty of grown-ups that I'd want to tell, too. But that's not exactly going to spark much outrage, is it?

You'd Be So Pretty If...

How to teach your daughter to love her body—even when you don't love your own.
Dara Chadwick

Dara Chadwick is the author of You'd Be So Pretty If… :Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies—Even When We Don't Love Our Own.

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