5 ways to get a book advocating child abuse off the shelves

8 November, 2013

Once, when I was a kid, my Sunday School gave me and my sister and three best friends the chance to run it for a session. It was probably meant as a beautiful gesture that would help us realise we were good and responsible and would forever more behave ourselves. But what happened is that, while the five of us were sitting around planning it out, we got into a massive argument (“NO, NOT A HYMN THERE, A PRAYER!” “A HYMN!” NOOOO, A FRIGGING PRAYER!”) and I ended up grabbing the nearest thing and walloping my sister right over the head with it. The nearest thing? Er, well it was a Bible. One massive Bible. Wallop.

Those were my Bible-bashing days. *comedy drum noise*

But seriously, no, truly, really, serious now… *Serious face*

The absolute worst case of Bible-bashing I have ever seen has galloped into the lime light over the last day or so: a book available on Amazon, entitled To Train Up a Child, written by a pretty famous Christian author, that advocates some incredibly serious physical discipline. I used the Look Inside function and was horrified. One paragraph that I read with my six month old baby Juno grabbing at my phone advised wiggling your glasses in front of your BABY to tempt them, then when they grab for them, as babies instinctively do, slap their hand. Continue to do this until they learn not to touch precious things.

There is so much to say about this, SO FLIPPING MUCH, about how parents who take this advice are effectively training their child out of all of their natural, wonderful urges. About how it is simply parenting by fear alone. About how if this was being advocated as an adult to adult interaction it would be seen as entirely absurd and outrageous, but it has wallowed so long, and he has been taken seriously as an author steadily for many years, simply because it is violence against children who must be something other than human.

I can not fathom physical discipline. People mindfully hurt their precious children? It goes against both love and logic. The things we sow in our children’s lives will be reaped by society later. They will learn violence and cruelty, I am absolutely sure. But this book goes way beyond even smacking. It suggests using implements, pinning down. It is undoubtedly abuse.


Banning books though?
Sally, of the top blog
Who’s the Mummy posted about this yesterday, making the point that books shouldn’t be banned for having an opinion different to yours. Of course not, and there is some very serious contemplating to be done about banning books (I found Mahfuzur Rahman a bit persuasive on this…. Just not enough.)

However, I am also a pragmatist and this is a parenting manual. Written and marketed as a guidebook for parents. Sales of this book result in children being physically wounded and damaged for life. The presence of this book influences parenting norms; it impacts the whole sphere of parenting making mere smacking seem moderate. Children are often powerless and often voiceless and sometimes harsh action is required to protect society’s most vulnerable. This book incites violence and should actually be seen as law breaking, and treated as such.

I could go on and on. But I think instead I will simply suggest you take a look at the Look Inside function, decide how you feel about this book, and book banning in particular and then, if you want to, take action. What is with me and book activism at the moment? It is like becoming My Thing. I don’t know how I feel about that. Saaaave meeeeeee.

Perfect Timing
I haven’t blogged about this book before as I just felt a bit hopeless. I was fairly sure that Amazon wouldn’t listen. That it was a thing so deeply embedded in American culture that it couldn’t be touched. But with the force of Nadine Dorries’ office behind it- she has been calling Amazon all day- I think Amazon might respond. It’s the perfect case of people campaigning quietly for many years and then a politician giving it just the momentum needed. And we live in such a globally connected world that I am ADAMANT that a big hooha here can nudge away at parenting norms in other corners of the world.

5 ways to take action and help get this book banned
Milli Hill of the excellent blog The Mule, first brought this to my attention last year and she created a petition. Sign it here.
Email Amazon asking the title to be removed. There is an inspiring letter to get fired up on over at Spencer’s blog
Tweet about it, the hashtag #lovenotbeat is being used.
Tweet Nadine Dorries a bit of encouragement, she won’t give it up if she feels there is a crowd behind her and she will be certainly picking up some major flack over it from the ban-the-book-banners posse.
Facebook about it- share this post to give people the low down and ideas for action.

Get on this banning band wagon before this Bible bashing horse bolts the stable.

(Lulastic: messing up metaphors since 2011)

PS For more parenting/ travelling / thrifty blogging follow through Facebook or Bloglovin or even just enter your email to get them pinged into your inbox. I don’t rant and rave THAT much…

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  • Jem 8 November, 2013 at 8:12 am

    I think there is a difference between BANNING the book, which is what Nadine Dorries seems to be advocating, and stopping SALE of the book, which is one of the things I RTed yesterday.

    I don’t agree with banning books – any book. I 100% agree with Sally in that instance: just because something offends us doesn’t mean it should be banned. However, I think taking off your shelves (physical or virtual) is an entirely different matter and should be the decision of an individual retailer. That way the book is still going to be available *somewhere* should someone be insane enough to want to buy it. Should Amazon decide to remove the book in question from sale? I’d support that.

    P.s. some of the comments on the HuffPo piece are awful. 🙁

    • Lucy 8 November, 2013 at 8:30 am



      I think it’s just a communication thing, as far as I’m aware Nadine was specifically trying to talk to Amazon about it?

  • Circus Queen 8 November, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Yikes! As a Christian who grew up in a society that was very accepting of hitting children (and still is, I think) the glasses thing just shocked the heck out of me! You forget that some people would actually read something like that and think it makes sense.

    • Lucy 8 November, 2013 at 8:30 am

      I know. It is worse than dog training.

    • Lucy 8 November, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      Thank you, that’s interesting… Did she make it? Is it a picture from the book? Bit confused?

  • MummyNeverSleeps 8 November, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Oh this whole thing makes me feel so ill. There’s no question this shouldn’t be for sale, removed from the shelves and given the widest of berths. I’ve shared and totally agree that if something IS going to happen about this, it’s needs to be done pronto before it’s forgotten about again. Great post dude x

    • Lucy 8 November, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      Yeah, I think people have campaigned for years and no change so this could be one of the last chances.

  • Jenny from Cheetahs In My Shoes and Just Photos By Me 8 November, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I was RT’ing on Wednesday after Spencer wrote his post and then thought long and hard about it all. Freedom of speech is wonderful. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion – wonderful.

    People should have a choice over which books they buy – absolutely. But books that advocate violence and what amounts to physical abuse – I really struggle with that one. Then if this book genuinely has been cited in court cases – why didn’t the court do something about it?

    Amazon is a massive revenue generating machine, it gives a whole new opportunity to those who want to self publish. But if they do have any Corporate & Ethical Responsibility policies, I’m pretty sure that allowing books that suggest training children using physical violence wouldn’t be on the list. Perhaps they need to look at it in that way

    • Lucy 8 November, 2013 at 8:48 pm

      Yes, it came up in a famous child murder case recently too.

      It is absolutely sickening.

  • Thalia 8 November, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Thanks for this, Lucy.

    I’ll add a #6 for those who only have clicking energy just at the moment: I just clicked ‘yes’ to answer Amazon’s repeated question ‘was this review helpful to you’ on a few dozen of the 1-star (minimum) reviews that are posted under the product on their page. You have to log in to do so, but otherwise it’s just a matter of clicking.

    Also, I resisted the enraged temptation to click on all the things Amazon thinks I might like if I look at this book! A book list for the anti-feminist wife, anyone!?

    • Lucy 8 November, 2013 at 8:44 pm


      Nice one with Número 6 🙂 xx

  • Jess @ Along Came Cherry 8 November, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    This is just so shocking, I only found out about it yesterday and signed the petition. I agree with the comment above about not being able to stop it being made but being able to stop companies like Amazon enabling people to buy it. I honestly can’t believe the thing about the glasses, I was holding J as I read it, he grabs everything and the thought of doing something like that to a baby his age brings tears to my eyes x

    • Lucy 8 November, 2013 at 8:49 pm

      Me too, that you’d want to squash the life out of a baby – they advocate using implements from 4 months old.

  • nada 9 November, 2013 at 2:29 am

    May I use share picture you put of the child “what you do to children …” on my facebook? I really love it and wanted to share it with others.

    • Lucy 9 November, 2013 at 7:06 am

      Of course, please do x (Can you link back here though? Thanks!)

  • Karen 9 November, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Glad to see that someone is finally trying to do something about this book! I read an article last year about it and had a look around at a few things related to it, was obviously shocked and disgusted just like the majority but was unaware of any campaigns or move,nets to do anything about it, like you I figured Amazon wouldn’t listen to a few complaints so thank you for highlighting some of them here, I will be doing my bit!

  • ThaliaKR 10 November, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Also just checked the library catalogue for all the authors mentioned in the petition. VERY pleased to find Wellington Library system doesn’t have anything by any of them.

    The search kept coming back saying ‘Sorry, we don’t have anything that matches your search.’ And I was like, no, don’t apologise!

  • Jo Cormack 10 November, 2013 at 8:54 pm


    Just stumbled across your blog and it’s ace! Love the combination of vintage & feminism, two things dear to my heart 🙂 So I was just wondering – in Scotland it’s illegal to physically punish a child, so what’s the deal with this book being for sale there? You can’t publish a book advocating becoming a terrorist or any other illegal activity. I suppose my stance on the banning thing is that it’s about competing rights. For me, the rights of children not to get treated in such a horrible way trumps the right of the authors to ‘have their say’…

  • Libby 11 November, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    I have just emailed the Christian bookshop Wesley owen after searching on their website and seeing this book listed. Hopefully they will remove it from their shelves and website. As a Christian this sort of book hugely saddens me and is so far removed from the God I know and what I believe.

    • Lucy 11 November, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      Oh no, they sell it? That is awful. Thank you for emailing them x

  • libby 11 November, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Wesley Owen have replied straight away and apologised and are going to get it off their website. Fantastic response! I would be very surprised if amazon pull it though, amazon are the people who only pulled the how to be a peadophile book after intense pressure, and even then were reluctant apologise for ever stocking it, similar with the keep calm and rape her tshirts. I abhore amazon, they can’t always stop people adding things for sale but they could listen to people, pull things from sale, apologise and take responsibilty. But they don’t, horrible company.

    • Lucy 11 November, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      Wow wow wow!!! Amazing!

  • To Train Up A Child Being Pulled? | Why Not Train A Child? 24 December, 2013 at 5:59 am

    […] However, Lulastic tells us that some other online retailers have decided to pull the book.  She also discusses her reasons for trying to get the book pulled and gives us some ideas for how to help. […]