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The Adventures of Junk Food Dude, illustrated

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | Sep 18, 2010

I’m just back from a 24-mi. Saturday bike ride in the beautiful Heber Valley, with GSGs Nicole and Angie. Nicole taught me about a “farmer blow.” (You don’t want to know. It’s for when you’re biking in the cold and don’t have a tissue. Don’t ride downwind of her, is all I’m sayin. Just teasing, Nicole–riding in your draft is awesome!) A flock of cranes, a flock of hot air balloons, the most beautiful red-and-orange scenery, made me whoop out loud.

I wanted to show off that my children’s nutrition book is well on its way to being illustrated. I’m so excited! Through the use of a narrative, children learn about not just principles of good basic nutrition, but they also learn their choices have power and impact in their own and others’ lives.

Lori Sume illustrated big posters announcing my four children’s births, that are framed and have been hanging on their bedroom walls their whole lives. She’s so gifted with art for this age group, 3 to 10.

So I just had to share some of the first pages with you. What do you think? Pre-order here for autographed copies when it comes out.

Posted in: Books, Nutrition, Parenting

25 thoughts on “The Adventures of Junk Food Dude, illustrated”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I love it!!! I want to know when this is ready because I’d like to buy every kid in my son’s class books and see if we can’t get this onto their computer system as one of the books they read for testing! I love it! I love it! I love it!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Let me know if you do a bulk order buy. I just bought one for my son but I would like to buy about 20 for his class and teacher. Thanks! This is soooo cool! I love it!

    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Anything for you Tonya–you’re always inspiring others!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ok..I am EXCITED! My son said for his ‘show and tell’ day at school he wants to give all the kids this book (he’s now 7) and he will bring in our Blendtec and make spinach and fruit smoothies. He is estatic, too. This is so terrific, Robyn!

  4. Anonymous says:

    That’s exciting Robyn. I’m excited to read it to my kids. I saw you on Dressing Your Truth also and I thought your hair looked great curly.

    I have a question. What do you know about “intuitive eating”, and what are your thoughts on it? I go from one extreme to the other, and am trying to find the balance between not depriving myself of forbidden foods and eating healthy. Just curious to your thoughts.


    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Tiffany, I read that book. I like the idea of checking out what’s going, emotionally, and asking yourself questions like, “Do I really WANT this?” before eating it. Stopping for a few minutes in a meal (especially at a buffet) to see if, when you wait a few minutes, if you really even want any more food.

      I’m not in love with their idea that “no foods are bad foods” (their point being, just eat them in small amounts). I understand their point, but some foods ARE bad foods. That’s just a few sentences’ reaction, of course, to an entire book. But when you give up soda, sugar, processed meats, most animal products, stuff from drive-thrus and boxes and cans . . . you don’t have the constant urge to overeat. You’re free of the addictions of sugar and MSG. That should have been dealt with in that book.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I want to applaud you for trying to write a children’s book that will help a new generation eat healthier. I typically enjoy reading what you post, though I don’t always agree.

    My initial thought about the pages you posted was how very critical and judgemental of the overweight child you seem to be. I have a daughter who is 8. She is overweight. She eats very healthfully and loves her smoothies. She is very active and very smart.. but she is not a Superhero, nor will any food make her into one. We live in a fallible world, full of dangers and the “benefits” of a modern society. We need to be teaching our kids how to navigate these tricky waters the best way we can, without condemning someone because they don’t do it “our” way.

    The way you are writing this children’s book seems very dangerous to me. One that may lead to judgement of children who struggle with overweight, but eat a very healthy diet. Stereotypes are a bummer that way.. they include everyone that seemingly “fits” into a certain category without taking into account how very different God made us all to be.

    I am in no way condoning the Standard American Diet as what we should be eating.. but this all or nothing thing isn’t the way to go either.

    As a children’s librarian, I am always reading the entire picture that a books sets to create, and this is just hitting me as very un-compassionate and harsh. If you want to ream the parents for their part, do it! But don’t take it out on little kids who don’t have much of a say in what their parents feed them. You are aiming your harshness at the smaller target, when the parents are who you should be aiming at.

    My .02. 🙂

    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Hi Beth, I’ll post more pages as I have them and I’ll be interested to know if you feel differently as you read the “rest of the story.” (It’s 38 pages of story, and then a quiz, and then recipes.) Junk Food Dude comes to learn some healthy habits from his new friend Green Smoothie Guy, who takes an interest in him and loves him towards better choices. Not only does JFD begin to be known in a more humane way, by this name, as he is embraced and accepted, but he learns some great new nutritional habits. They change his life dramatically and he brings his parents along. In the end, his health and appearance and ability to participate in fun activities with his class are life changing–and he reaches out to another boy in the 2nd grade.

      So, the message is intended to be loving and positive. It’s as much about empowering children and teaching them about leadership and compassion, as much as it’s about nutrition. When I post more pages, I hope you’ll let me know if the compassionate message shines through.

      Thanks for the comments,

  6. Anonymous says:

    i am also a big fan of your blog and all you do, but reading these pages just didn’t leave me with a good feeling at all. i very much agree with what Beth wrote, although i personally don’t have experience with an overweight child. i also think you make it sound as if a child will eat very healthy he will be a “super child” excelling in everything he does, which unfortunately is just not true. not every kid who drinks green smoothies will be the best runner, the best athlete or the best student like you green smoothie guy seems to be. kids may be disappointed to find that out.

    i am looking forward to seeing the rest of the book.

    i think the idea of writing a book about healthy eating is great and will be appreciated by so many parents.

    but just not sure you got it right…. maybe the wording, maybe the illustration… hard to tell until i read the whole story.

    and again just want to write how much i appreciate all you do, so this is definitely not coming from a bad place, just the true feeling i got when i read it.

    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      I had the thought when I posted the first 10 pages, that it doesn’t give a sense of the book, just the setup to the story. That said, I want and thank you for the honest feedback. I can make changes — the idea isn’t that you become a super athlete just be eating right, but rather that you can tap into your best self when you honor your body with good food. Thank you, and please give feedback on the next pages when I post them this week?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for your response back Robyn. I’m sure the whole story does give a much better picture.. I was just responding to what you posted. 🙂

  8. Robyn,

    This is great, just read it to my kids and i’ll be sure to buy one. The trick for us is that if our kids are going to be social and go to birthday parties, scouts, school, etc then it’s a constant struggle with our neighbors, kids’ leaders, teachers, etc, who insist that rewards have to be sugar or junk food…so even if my kids know what’s best I want the teachers to support us. 😉 What are your thoughts on this? My kids think I am so mean and so does everyone else who hears me at the bank, store, etc. say “sorry my kids can’t have your lollipop”.

    You’re doing a great work, Robyn. Thank you! BTW, you should add “tweet” this on your blog posts and ‘facebook’ this, etc. because you’re missing out on reaching more readers.


  9. Anonymous says:

    I too think the idea of the book is great and a message that has to get out, and this will encourage many kids who have healthy choices to consider choosing them over the bad choices….but for most children in JFD’s case had doesn’t have a choice to eat healthy. I think this book would inspire kids whose parents are involved in their diet choices in a positive way and are offering great choices, but it will discourage kids who live in families that only have SAD food in the house and whose parents are “lazy” and whose parents don’t encourage physical exercise after school….some kids just don’t know life differently than sitting on the sofa playing video games and their parents don’t offer them different activities. Sadly, perhaps it isn’t “safe” for them to play outside in their neighborhood, their parents are working after school, and their parents don’t enroll them in physical extracurricular activities. For a select few kids and families that do want to change, it is a great book concept….but for a kid whose family is not on board and not interested in offering better activity/food options the book would depressing for that child. But like the others said, I LOVE THE CONCEPT and I think you are doing a GREAT work to teach, encourage, research, offer advice, and much more to everyone.

    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Hey Kim, let me know what you think as I post more pages, because Junk Food Dude is a LEADER in his family and his parents follow suit as he learns from Green Smoothie Guy. They want to get healthy, too, and learn how after being inspired by their son. Kids should feel like they have power and choice.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I agree! Even if kids don’t have great choices for dinner etc. at home, they can start by making their own choices at school, at their friend’s house and when they buy at the convenient stores. They need to learn the right way somewhere!! Why couldn’t a child ask for more fruits, at least, from the parent going to the grocery store?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Love the book so far. Can’t wait to get it for my kiddies.

  12. Excellent idea.. can’t wait to read the whole thing. How’s the shipping to Canada? Hefty? Can it labelled as a gift (because essentially it is) so as not to pay duty? Thanks.. and keep up the good work and the inspiring messages for children..

    I read through the comments and I really struggle with the same thing as Kim. I worry when my kids get into more social events.. where sugar is a reward.. and where “green” isn’t entirely accepted. But.. I’ll learn as I go and cross that bridge when I get to it I s’pose.. I already get grief from family and friends.. same ones who feed their 2 year old McDonalds. People have said we are “punishing” our kids.. my mom even said “they don’t give their kids calcium, they don’t believe in it”. It’s very irritating, but we deal.. anyway… talk soon.. Michelle 🙂

  13. Hmmm…..I tell my kiddos, “I love you enough to say no to things I know are not good for you, and I love you enough to say yes to things I know are good for you,” when they see lollipops at the bank, free samples at the grocery store etc. I think most people are critical secretly wish they knew how to have the will power that happens when we eat right, have balanced meals, don’t feel hungry and groggy, etc. Also, I give my kids dates rolled in oats (buy in the bulk food section) cheap for ‘treats’. They are really sweet and my kids call them candy.

  14. Robyn, I respectfully wonder ‘outloud’ about something too about your book. I know for a child’s self esteem it is good to focus on the quality of their character not their acheivements. Yes, the children ultimately become friends and show compassion…but at the beginning there seems to be an over all focus on green smoothie kid being an achiever. I think focusing on the achievable for all kids would be good like, “Green smoothie kid doesn’t feel groggy and cranky in the morning. He has energy and thinks clearly, etc.” Focusing on how he feels, how that affects his mood and attitude may be better, in my humble oppinion, than making him ‘top’ in ‘everything’. Focus on, “Green smoothie kid feels good when he runs and plays. Green smoothie kid has a strong healthy body when he plays on the jungle gym. Green smoothie kid doesn’t bonk from a sugar overload. Green smoothie kid doesn’t have headaches from too much TV. He gets more time playing in the sunshine. That feels good to be outside, ect. ect. Sometimes he feels sad when other kids do not eat the same things or make fun of the things he eats, but he knows how much the healthy food helps him feel healthy all over. It helps him to have sunshine inside.” Focus on his positive FEELINGS, not his ‘over achieving’ and excelling at things. Feelings are something EVERY child can relate to in a HEALTHY way..not just popularity, lack of it, or achieving or lack there of. Also, Are ANY main characters in this book girls? Just my humble oppinion. I think you have some greatness going on here! Awesome!

    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Mom of 3, point well taken and will be addressed in revision, thank you!

  15. Anonymous says:

    i love what MOM OF 3 wrote. it will be so much better this way.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robyn!

    I would really like to see the rest of the book to know the bigger story. I will probably end up buying it. But right now I know exactly what my kids would say upon reading this. “My cousin Shane eats the SAD diet and he made varsity on the track team his first year!”. They will go ahead and point out to me all of these “healthy” kids that don’t eat like we do! I know because they already make a point to do this with me. I am so excited to participate in the “Raw Mom, Cooked Dad” thing. I am hoping this will help me to create peace in my family and help me out with things like this. Thank you so much for being an amazing support! I truly benefit from being plugged in to GSG!

  17. Anonymous says:

    I, too, agree with what MOM of 3 wrote. As a former school teacher, it is true, that not all children will be at the top of the class, no matter what they consume. However, proper nutrition is an important key to helping them be the best they can be.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I second the motion made by mom of 3 all the way down to inclusion of girls in the book. Trying to make the book PC can become a slippery slope and can break up the natural flow of the story. My girls would love for there to be girl main characters, but not everybody has to be represented in every way in every book. My guess would be that future publications will round out the overall demographics. And since the author is a woman, that by itself, sends a strong message to and about girls.

    The original draft left me feeling icky and thinking, “There’s no way I would read this to my kids.” Revisions like the ones Mom of 3 suggests would do the trick for me. 🙂

  19. Anonymous says:

    Hello Robyn,

    I think that your book should be offered to every new mother when going home from hospital with her newborn baby because it’s almost too late to start teaching them to eat healthy when they are already used to eat all the food which is unhealthy and harming. You would’n believe what we saw with my son when we stopped at McDonalds at 8PM for some drinks few years ago when going from the USA to Canada. There was a young couple with twins – they were no more than 8 months old!!! – yes, I am right, 8 MONTHS old, sitting at the table and feeding them with FRIES!!! Is this dinner which she is suppose to feed them with?! Another story: When I was working as a cashier at Wal-Mart, where they had McDonalds, I heard a grandma at 10PM! going home, asking her aprox. 7 years old grandaughter:” Did you have enough dinner?” Dinner at 10PM and what? Fries and burger topped with ketchup, instead of dinner at home having at least a nice vegetable soup? Believe me, if I hadn’t been dressed in my blue west and on duty, I would have told her what I think about it. I will never forget this.

    So young parents, when thinking about your children’s healthy life, please teach them from their first day of their life what is to eat healthy. Their future will be much brighter and happier than of those who eat unhealthy food and use products full of harsh chemicals.

    God bless you all.

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