The new ending is published! The publisher and Author just sent the new edition to my daughter. I can't wait to check out a book store to see if it is out there too.
Thank you all for your support and efforts in getting this ending changed. There is no way they would have listened to 1 mom, but YOU made them listen.
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!! (sorry the picture is sideways... I couldn't figure out how to rotate it)
Please do not buy this book for your children. This very popular children's series has a horribly negative message toward anyone experiencing hair loss! I read this book to my daughter and REALLY wish I hadn't. Below is the letter I sent to the publisher (HarperCollins) and author (Jane O'Connor). Neither one has responded to me so I would like to share this with you with the hopes that you won't make the same mistake I made.
I am a mother to a 6 year old girl with Alopecia Areata who loves Fancy Nancy. My daughter, has the most extreme form of Alopecia which means she is entirely hairless. She is often mistaken for a child undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
My daughters preschool had a book fair this past fall where I bought the book Fancy Nancy: Fanciest Doll in the Universe. At first glance it seemed like the message was one of tolerance and embracing our differences, I couldn't have been more wrong. Below I've included the publisher's description that can be found on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble's listings.
"Fancy Nancy is back in New York Times bestselling team Jane O'Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser's picture book Fancy Nancy: Fanciest Doll in the Universe, about the love little girls feel for their favorite dolls—and their favorite sisters!
Fancy Nancy's sister, JoJo, can really be a pest sometimes . . . like when she put Easter-egg dye in the kiddie pool and dunked Frenchy in it! But this time she's done something really bad, and Nancy is livid—that's fancy for tres angry and upset. JoJo drew a tattoo on Nancy's precious doll, Marabelle Lavinia Chandelier! Even worse, it's in permanent marker. That means it will never come out! When Mom suggests a fancy doll party to make Nancy feel better, Nancy is excited to accept. But what if the doll drama isn't over?Fans of Fancy Nancy and fancy parties alike will delight in this story of how younger siblings can get on your nerves sometimes, but it always works out in the end. As always, the central theme of all the Fancy Nancy books shines through, showing how Nancy empowers girls with knowledge through her fascination with do-it-yourself fun!"
You can imagine my horror when my daughter and I read the book for the first time and it concluded with, “After all, it could have been worse. At least Marabelle isn't bald." I found myself stumbling over my words, trying to come up with a more positive ending. I refused to let my daughter hear her beloved Nancy proclaim those words.
Along with all parents who have children battling hair loss, our family works very hard to build a positive self-image in a world so focused on our exterior appearances. We strive to teach our children to embrace and celebrate our differences. It hurts to imagine the damage a single, careless sentence like this would cause them. Unlike a tattoo, the hair loss these children face is not a choice.
Please, I urge you: consider revising the ending to Fancy Nancy: Fanciest Doll in the Universe.
The ending should reflect the rest of the books message of tolerance and understanding. It is Marabelle's uniqueness that brings her back to Nancy, so shouldn't we be teaching our children to love that which makes us individuals? What, I ask, is wrong with being bald?"
Here are a few ways you can help me spread the word about this book and its hurtful message.
c/o Author Mail, 18th Floor
HarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022
Thank you so much for reading such a long post and any support you are capable of!!
A HarperCollins spokesperson e-mailed me back Monday evening with good news!
"We are truly sorry that we caused you any distress. You are absolutely right when you say that the Fancy Nancy books have a message of tolerance and embracing differences, which is why your email is so important to us, and we are grateful that you brought this to our attention. Please know that the ending for this book is currently under review."
When I asked what the review process included this was their answer...
"In terms of next steps, our editorial team is going to meet with the author and illustrator to discuss this situation. We know Jane and Robin will share our feelings that this needs to be addressed right away."
I'll be sure to let you all know the next time I hear from HarperCollins, but I think this is a great start!
Well said! My granddaughter loves Fancy Nancy as well, but we'll certainly avoid that one, and will go vote on the amazon reviews.
I am not usually a person who wants to ban books, but this book should be removed from all school and public libraries in my opinion. A book that included, "At least Mirabelle isn't handicapped, in a wheel chair, of (fill in the blank) racial/religious/ethnicity, blind, etc." would not be tolerated. Neither should this book.
Thank you for taking the time to compose a letter on such an emotional subject and sending it off to the publisher etc. I would love to know if they do indeed response. I completely understand your anger. I'm in my 40s but I have had alopecia universalis for the last 10 years. I absolutely dislike and resent any messages or statements like the one included in this book. Of course, it's a personal issue but my response is immediate and angry - people need to be made aware that there are actually people who are bald and it's not a subject of amusement. Or shouldn't be. The publisher wouldn't print a book that ridiculed or scorned a person with scars, wheelchair or various ethnic backgrounds so why the bald comments. Thank you for taking the time to compose such a letter.
As a teacher, I'm saddened to hear about your experience with this book. Our entire school studied the picture book Destiny's Purpose. (You can check it out here: http://www.bigtentbooks.com/search.aspx?find=destiny%27s+purpose.) I know that I may sound biased (since I wrote the book), but the reviews have really focused on the positive message in it. The book won the Canadian Dermatology Association's Public Education Award in 2011 (http://www.ballintotasalpacas.com/destiny.html). If you'd like a copy of the book for your granddaughter, I can provide you with a code so you can get the book for free and only pay shipping and handling. I think it's really important to combat negative messages with positive ones. Our entire school learned about alopecia, created buttons with Messages of Hope to share with children suffering from alopecia and sent our hair loss doll, complete with our hopeful messages (on buttons AND on a video), and a copy of the book, to the National Alopecia Conference. The students insisted we call the paper to get the word out about it. (Here's the link to the news article and photos: http://www.insideottawavalley.com/news-story/3926248-messages-of-ho....) There really are good things happening in schools around this topic. I hope that your daughter has a school that is supporting her in a big way. Maybe your school could also benefit from some of this positive messaging, since many schools are unsure how to address this issue. Good luck and thanks for being so proactive in standing up against the negative messages that can hurt our children.
Are you planning on attending the CAANF conference in Toronto?