There was a little girl who was at Target getting a reward for going poop on the poddy for a whole month. Her parents let her chose any toy she wanted. She chose a doll, that happened to be black. At the checkout, the cashier was very confused. She kept asking if this girl was going to a birthday party, implying she couldn’t have a doll that wasn’t white. When told the doll does look like her, the girl said, “Yes, she does. She’s a doctor like I’m a doctor. And I’m a pretty girl and she’s a pretty girl. See her pretty hair and see her stethoscope?” This experience and the book Read All About It!: A Kit Classic, both have similar representations of the keyword innocence.
Sophia, the little girl, demonstrates childhood innocence. Innocence, according to Gubar, is all about what you lack or what you can’t do. For example, Sophia was lacking the stereotypical knowledge or racism that the cashier had. One could argue that Sophia lacks the experiences that form the stereotypes that the cashier was demonstrating. This little girl was looking more at what the doll was scripting and her beauty, than her race. She wanted the doll partially because the doll was a doctor, just like Sophia. She also went on about how the doll was pretty, just like she was. This raised a question for me. We have been talking about the importance of having Ethnic minorities represented in books because it is important for children to read about people who look like them. It is especially important for their self-esteem and understanding of beauty. Does this girl see this doll as pretty because she has read books about African American’s, because her parents have taught her about accepting everyone, or for a different reason? Does this example prove the importance of having ethnic books, or disprove that need?
Kit from Read All About It!: A Kit Classic, also demonstrates childhood innocence. Her story takes place during the Great Depression and her father ends up losing his job. Up until the very end of the book, Kit is very positive her dad will get a new job. She is demonstrating innocence through a lack of knowledge. She does not understand how dire the situation is and how hard getting a job is. This partially has to do with sheltering done by her parents, but she also wants to believe nothing in her life her will change. At the end of the book however, she loses her innocence and has more of an understanding how life will change.