Book It, which reaches about 22 million children a year, “epitomizes everything that’s wrong with corporate-sponsored programs in school,” said Susan Linn, a Harvard psychologist and co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.
“In the name of education, it promotes junk food consumption to a captive audience … and undermines parents by positioning family visits to Pizza Hut as an integral component of raising literate children,” Linn said.
This week, Linn’s organization called on parents to end their schools’ participation in the long-standing program.
Though some activists have previously questioned Book It, Linn said Friday that only after the recent upsurge of concern over child obesity and junk food did her group feel it could make headway with a formal protest campaign. She said many schools are trying to reduce students’ access to soda, and contended that Book It should face similar scrutiny.
Here’s a news flash for Susan Linn: Parents can choose freely what to do with their kids. They are not tools of any corporate mega-structure. Believe it or not, I actually read to my kids without offering them pizza! Let’s dispense with the self-serving angle that parents are being “undermined” or forced into a certain position. Free markets, people — if I think Book It benefits me, I’ll use it, otherwise I won’t. Why is this so hard to understand?
Also, don’t you think kids are eating pizza whether they read or not?