14:14 NOT IN ROOM 204

14:14 Picture Book Challenge Day 11 Christie Wright Wild

2041 TITLE: NOT IN ROOM 204
Author: Shannon Riggs
Illustrator: Jaime Zollars
Publisher: Albert Whitman and Company
Year:2007
Word Count: 1079-words
Type: Fiction

Summary: A teacher tells the children in her class to talk to an adult if they are being sexually abused.

As I read this story, I teared up. I like that someone had the courage to address an issue that needs discussing, but people are afraid to address in picture books.

For this story, I will focus on the ELEMENT OF PLOT.

REGINA LILLIAN HADWIG (main character) is assigned to room 204, Mrs. Salvador’s room. Mrs. Salvador start off by telling her students that they may be able to get away with things – shoving dirty socks under the bed when you are supposed to clean your room and heap toys in the closet – but not in room 204. In room 204, they keep their desks neat. She stated that even though they do things and get away with it, not in room 204. She had high expectation for her students and they delivered. One day, she encouraged her student to let her know if someone touched them where “they shouldn’t.”
She said, “A stranger should not touch you anywhere a bathing suit covers.”
Regina Lillian Hadwig felt comfortable that the next morning, she went to school early and reported what was going on at home. I expected more from the ending. But it was not unpleasant. The author left it up to the reader to draw a conclusion as to what Mrs. Salvador did next.

I love the plot. I love the conflict of man versus self. The main character struggles with a secret she kept for a long time. A family member was sexually abusing her. I love how the author build up the trust between the students and their teacher. That is SO important. This was a great book. 😀

204

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10 Comments

  1. Wow, Jackie. I got chills reading about this. If you ever find any contact information for the author, I’d love to connect with her. Can you believe she doesn’t even have an author website? And this book is 6 years old. Amazing. I agree that this is an important topic that should be shared everywhere, whether you feel it’s needed or not. “Oh, that’ll never happen to MY kids…” But you truly never know.

      • The author of not in room 204…

        I would love to know the reason for the isolation as a member of her family who never judged her or thought negatively of her accusations.

        I have not seen or heard from her since the mid to late 1990s, which means that I never got to be a part of her children’s life. I never even saw her son and the last time I saw her daughter she was still in diapers.

        It is unfortunate that people turn their backs on their blood.

        Hopefully she has or can get the help that she needs to deal with whatever mental issues that she has had to move beyond the false accusations or false memories that she believes happened to her so that she can try to repair the collateral damage caused to everyone involved in this situation.

      • This is not the place to air dirty laundry. I do not know this author. I review picture books for children and teachers. Do not comment any further on this blog unless you have something positive to say about the book or the message in the book. I would appreciate it. It makes me uncomfortable. Perhaps the author researched and created a story with a message. I am not a psychologist, and I would appreciate it if you would not demean the message of this book. Whether or not this happened to the author, there are thousand of children that this happens to daily. Sexual abuse is a serious issue and it should be discussed. If you are attacking the author here, I can understand why she chose to distance herself. I know you are saying, “You don’t know me,” or “Who are you to talk about something that you do not know about?” You are right, I do not know you. But what I can tell you is this, “LET GO, AND LET GOD.” I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

        On Fri, May 2, 2014 at 5:45 PM, Why I Write Picture Books? (#YIWritePB) wrote:

        >

      • I was in no way attempting to attack the author, merely saying that I hope that she can overcome whatever issues brought her down the path she choose and hopefully repair some of the damage she had caused to others along the way.

        In no way had anything I said to this point been meant to demean or diminish the moral of the story. The material presented in the book DOES occur and I think that as a society we have been able to bring issues like this more to the forefront rather than try to hide the fact that things like this occur, as generations past have tried to do with this type of behavior.

        However it is a dangerous and slippery slope and I was merely trying to express a counter to some of the information presented in the book. False memories, or unethical or improperly trained psychologists may result in unfounded accusations or implanted memories.

        Case in point – an EX of mine had a friend in school who had accused my EX’s father of molesting my EX. This classmate had no reason or justification to make this accusation as the abuse never occurred (according to my EX) yet the legal, and family issues that the family was forced to endure for several years beyond these false accusations caused great emotional stress for their entire family.

        It is great that we have a better awareness of these issues, and that there are support mechanisms put into place to help the victims heal, but while the punishment for the offenders is harsh, rarely are those who are falsely accused able to get their life back to how it was before the accusations, and almost never are those who make the false accusations criminally charged, or required to undergo some type of treatment or evaluation to understand why they made those accusations.

        Back on point – The message in the book is a good one. Children need to learn good touch vs. bad touch, and not only to be aware of “stranger danger” but also – as the author so pointed out, that in most cases it is not the stranger that a child needs to be aware of, as most abuse comes from someone the child knows or trusts.

        Children do not always understand the consequences of their actions, and therefore may exaggerate facts or change stories around. It is important to take every accusation seriously, but once an accusation has been made that lacks physical proof conversations about the allegations should be made at the earliest possible time with someone qualified in child victim psychology so that untrained but good intentioned people do not distort the memories of the child. I think that every school should have one such trained person for at least a preliminary conversation with the child.

        With that I will leave your blog alone.

        I did not come here with ill intention, nor did I come to defame or insult anyone. If my words were taken as such I apologize, and will leave here with this final thought:

        Even though the accusations that the author gave in her personal life are unfounded, if her work is able to get just one child to speak out about being abused then at least she is making a positive impact on someone’s life regardless of anything else.

      • You are missing my point. Until you commented, I was not under the impression that this book was about any one person, at least noT the author.​ I was reading it as a book with a theme and message. You are draining my energy. I am going on record stating, I am not here to discuss the author or her personal life. I just read a book and wanted to share the book with teachers. This is a family issue. YOUR FAMILY ISSUE. Again, DO NOT AIR YOUR DIRTY LAUNDRY HERE!!!! This is not the place for it. You might not see how you are attacking the author, but you are. You stated how she accused someone of molesting her. You stated that she has mental issues. These are your words not mine. Listen, it is obvious that the writer moved on. You should too. Again, after the exchange of words with you, I SEE WHY. I believe in isolating myself from negative people. You sound bitter. So again, “LET GO, AND LET GOD.”

        On Fri, May 2, 2014 at 7:53 PM, Why I Write Picture Books? (#YIWritePB) wrote:

        >

  2. Jackie, yes, this issue is critical and placing the issue before children in picture book format really helps children realize the need to share such abuse with trusted authority figures. As an educator disgusted with the incidents that are so prevalent these days, I agree this is a powerful book that should be in every school. Thanks for the review.

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