Gosh darn, come on now Mr. Huxtable. Does this mean Little Bill is a lie too?
Books are a big part of my home. You can find them in almost every room except the bathroom. With my two youngest attending charter school, reading is happening even more at home.
Finding my children lost in books is never a surprise— I came in from work last Tuesday and found my 7 year old son sprawled across the bedroom floor amongst 7 to 8 books. It made me smile . On a closer look of the titles I saw the kid fantasy, “The Legend of Zelda”, “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid” which is on my “bathroom talk” list as it celebrates the wedgie, booger and fart loving humorous stage only boys love to love and which my son currently LIVES for, and lives to tease his 8- year old sister with. The other four books including the one in his hand were all “Little Bill” book titles .
I did a double take and asked. “Hey what ya reading there ?” No answer. Finally an ‘Oh, hi mommy, I’m just reading Little Bill’s The Meanest Thing To Say’ was his reply.
In light of the accusations that have been leveled against Mr Cosby by many women including former top model Janice Dickerson as seen in PEOPLE magazine I immediately wondered did my 7- year old hear something on the news or read something on the computer . For me, I, wanted to know, if he did hear something, what , where, when and how much. Moreover, does he understand any of it.
Whispering to my husband I asked why the amount of Little Bills on the floor all of a sudden? What gives? In hindsight though had this happened before Mr. Cosby hit the headlines I would not have asked such a question. Instead I would have been happy knowing that he had chosen these books—-a book series by a black author and a black female illustrator, the late Varnette P. Honeywood.
Thinking aloud, I wondered will we have to decide on the fate of these books as many were deciding on the fate of the legacy of Mr. Cosby . Would this series of books loved by my children ages 22 to 7 continue to stay on our bookshelves. My eldest son grew up with Little Bill. They have a more than 15-year relationship.
On Mr Cosby. I have compartmentalized him into a few categories——the man accused of allegedly drugging and taking advantage of women going back more than 20 years; the man who has done great things to uplift his race; the man with the ideal legacy; the man who stood for fatherhood.
Looking back I remember to 2006 while still a reporter at PEOPLE that the magazine interviewed five accusers of Mr. Cosby who were at that time part of a civil lawsuit Cosby settled with Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee who claimed she was drugged and sexually assaulted by him in his Philadelphia-area mansion in 2004. At that time 13 “Jane Does'” as they were referred to in the court papers had come forward to testify. Fast forward 8 years later and we have celebrity faces like Dickerson and now most recently the famed African American model Beverly Johnson speaking out to Vanity Fair of being drugged by him.
Famed Model Beverly Johnson
Mr Cosby has stood for a lot and his Little Bill books stand for so much more . To children across the world the book series by one of America’s most beloved comedians has helped them to wrestle through the many stages of growing up. Yes I am torn about the man and what he is alleged to have done. But am I going to throw my Little Bill books out ? No, I am not. These books. They are staying on the bookshelf.
Our Little Bill books have a history and that is what makes them that more special to us and especially my small son and daughter. Besides knowing that they are hand-me-down books from big brother Dillon. Each of the 12 books help affirm the value of family and friendship and help encourage kids to solve problems fairly.. Mr Cosby definitely knows what makes kids tick and how they relate to each other. Hmmm, maybe he needs to take some “Little Bill” advice.
I can remember buying each and every one of them for Dillon. Packed away as he grew older they were put back on the shelf when we moved to our home in PA in 2006. When our now 7 and 8-year olds became Cosby fans they opted for the syndicated Cosby Show and my husband’s personal library of taped VHS Cosby Show programs. Once they grew older and got into reading chapter books they were quickly and easily hooked to Little Bill. the illustrated artwork alone is a draw. .
Little Bill has taught my black sons and daughter how to read better, how to treat their fellow man, how to cope with mean kids, the consequences of telling fibs, dealing with being afraid of the dark, and being teased about first crushes and more .
All in all Little Bill became that friend in a book . An imaginary bestie that they to this day continue to learn from
So I think Little Bill will get to stay. Big Bill though, I am not too sure about!