Ask any kid if they think farts are funny and 99% of them will giggle and say yes.
Despite a clear flashing green light from our target audience (KIDS), many children’s book writers respond with strong negative emotions when confronted with farts in kid lit.
“I will never buy a book like that for my kids. Not ever.”
“We don’t discuss those things in our house. It’s not proper.”
“Literature doesn’t need to stoop to such levels to entertain. We need better kid lit than this.”
Clearly, even talking about books about farts makes people uncomfortable.
If you’re a parent or a writer (or both) who thinks that fart books are gross and inappropriate, please hang in there with me and read until the end.
In this essay, I’m going to present 5 reasons why we need more fart books in our kids’ lives.
1—Laughing about taboo topics opens a dialogue between adult and child
Having frequent conversations about small issues (like farts) paves the way for parents to have future discussions about much more important topics.
Life changing topics like sex, pregnancy, rape, homosexuality, abuse, and other things that are much weightier topics than stinky airy flatulence.
If a parent struggles with talking about natural bodily functions, how do you think future conversations about the darker topics like sex and rape are going to go?
I volunteer with my local women’s shelter and believe me, we need to be having lots of conversations about sex, rape and abuse with our daughters and sons.
Reading books that make your kids laugh about a silly taboo topic (like farts) shows them that you’re open and willing to have these conversations with them.
You become and remain their safe space for these types of things.
By reading to them about all topics, you’re telling your kids that they can come to you about any problem they may be facing.
Reading a book about farts at age 5 can lead to a conversation about teenage pregnancy later one, which might prevent one and wouldn’t that be great?
See? Books about farts may prevent teenage pregnancy albeit, in a very indirect but important way.
Conversation starters about farts may lead to other interesting conversations you didn’t know you needed to discuss.
As a parent, it’s our job to have these difficult conversations with our kids regardless of how uncomfortable we feel.
2—Silly books improve literacy
Stinky things are funny.
Kids like to laugh. Kids like to watch movies and read books that make them laugh.
Do we need poetic books with elegant prose? Of course. But we also need books that kids like to read.
My mother has been an elementary teacher for over 35 years and as soon as I became pregnant, we instantly acquired an extensive children’s library in our house.
Her most consistent advice about developing literacy in children is to first develop a love for reading.
When it comes to books, parents should take the fun job—make reading as fun as possible for your kids and they’ll learn to love to read.
Make the teachers force the boring literature onto our kids.
If your kid will devour books about underpants or farts then stock the library up and watch them read. In my opinion, it’s better that the kids read something, anything than nothing at all.
There will be plenty of time for the classics but without a foundational love of reading, they’re never going to want to read the classics.
3—We need more books that normalize our body images and self-worth
Fart books are really good for girls to read. Why? Because girls aren’t supposed to fart.
Uh huh, riiiight.
The sooner girls accept their bodies as they are, the sooner they stop hating their bodies for how they are made.
We’re not supposed to acknowledge that everybody farts because it’s taboo.
As a result, we have girls thinking it’s wrong and boys thinking girls who fart are gross.
Proud mama moment: My 8 year old son had his friend over to play and they were sitting together when she let an audible toot slip out.
“Oh! I farted. I’m sorry!” she said, embarrassed.
“No problem. Everyone does it.”
And they went back to playing as if nothing happened at all.
There was no body shaming, no guilting, and no weirdness at all. Total acceptance of something totally natural.
We need more books that normalize the human body for kids.
4—There’s a huge gap in the market for funny books
From a writer/business perspective, this should get your attention. There is a huge hole in the market for smart humor that is well done in this genre.
Traditional publishers are looking for high quality work that makes kids laugh.
We’ve already established that kids laugh at fart books and pee jokes are always crowd pleasers.
If you have a smart idea and execute it well, your book on farts should perform really well.
Just look at I Need a New Bum which has 450 5-star reviews on Amazon at the time of this writing.
Walter the Farting Dog has 600 5-star reviews.
Every writer knows how difficult it is to get reader reviews on Amazon and there’s no denying that these books are a hit with tons of readers.
While some writers may turn up their noses at fart books, they are overlooking a very viable marketplace that could pay their bills.
Pay the bills with fart books and write your less lucrative high brow literature on the side.
The market is telling you what it wants.
5—There is power in having fun with your kids
The time you have with your child in your lap is limited and precious. Reading a funny book that makes your kid giggle can relieve tensions and stress at the end of a long day.
The time before bed is some of the best parent-child bonding time we have during the day. It’s nice to fill it with books that are fun.
Books represent safe fun—nobody can get hurt reading a book and they’ll learn something new about themselves or others.
Making space in your child’s life for fun at the end of their day is a great way to heal some of the stresses or worries they may have experienced at school or while you were at work.
Don’t underestimate the healing power of laughter.
Don’t take farts or books about farts so seriously. They will help you bond and connect with your kids which will help you have rich conversations about important matters later on in life.
What do you think?
Sound off in the comments below.