Posts tagged ‘bullying’

SIZING THINGS UP

Short or Tall Doesn’t Matter at All

Written by Asaf Rozanes

Mia is very short. This distresses her because her classmates often make fun of her and exclude her from activities.

Mia reveals her problem to her father. He tells her a fairytale about the sun and moon and how they became friends. One day a situation unfolds at school that proves to the other children there is value in being small. The other children learn an important lesson from Mia. They now understand she also has many special talents. Size does not matter.

This picture book is written in rhyme. It works, for the most part, but the story would have been just as effective if written in prose. Recommended especially for students in the six to ten age group but an important lesson for middle-school students as well.

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FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS

Celestina, the Astronaut Ballerina: A Kids Read Aloud Picture Book about Space, Astronauts and Following your Dreams

Written by Donald Jacobson

Illustrated by Graham Evans

Celestina is a little girl with big dreams. Her aspiration is to become an astronaut. Unfortunately, her friends at school belittle her and adults advise her to downsize her expectations. Why doesn’t she become a ballerina instead?

After a time, Celestina gives up on her dreams and settles in to learn ballet. That changes one day when a new teacher arrives. She counsels her class to dream big. Celestina returns to her real goal. Now she works hard and studies hard. Will she achieve her dream to become an astronaut.

This book includes lots of multicultural characters and vibrant illustrations that are appropriate for the elementary grade target audience. The book reinforces the image of a strong female role model and builds self-esteem in young girls.

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#WARMING UP…

Kai and His Magical Bobo (Kai Panducorn Book 2)

Written by Kathy V. Tran

Illustrated by Aiki Tran

Kai comes from a magical family. His father is a panda from a warrior family focusing on strength and bravery. Kai’s mother is a unicorn from a family entrusted with maintaining peace and balance. Today he is excited and nervous. Five-year-old Kai will begin school.

Kai stuffs Bobo, his blanket into his backpack. Bobo gives him courage and the strength to be a brave adventurer. Mrs. Kathy introduces him to the other children. When a handicapped fox walks into the room and falls, Kai does not join in the laughter of the other children. He decides to cheer him up. Kai will soon learn that the children have fears like his own. What does Kai find out about himself? Can Kai translate what he learns to the wider community in which he lives?

The illustrations remind me of Manga-style cartoons. The text is a combination of dialogue and character thoughts. I would recommend this book to parents of children beginning nursery school or kindergarten. Children a little bit older can use the discussion questions at the end to explore mindfulness concepts and read the text independently.

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SECRET SANTA

Sophie Washington: Secret Santa

Written and Illustrated by Tonya Duncan Ellis

This Christmas themed story adds a nice touch to the Sophie Washington series of books. These chapter books are geared to middle-grade readers. The black and white line drawings enhance the tale and provide added incentives for beginning readers.

Sophie is now a sixth-grader at Xavier Academy. Her younger brother, Cole, is sometimes a thorn in her side, but she loves him dearly. Sophie steps in to protect him from a new neighbor who is bullying Cole. The main part of the plot involves a series of Christmas gifts that mysteriously appear on Sophie’s doorstep. The signature says from your Secret Santa. Sophie is puzzled. She and her girlfriends try to figure out the mystery. Then she learns that another boy in school is also receiving gifts. Sophie’s grandmother helps them to solve the mystery when a clue emerges. The giver is certainly not anyone they might have suspected.

This book is a beautiful story portraying the true Christmas spirit. Lots of wholesome family values, like supportive family relationships, bullying, and preteen angst are addressed. I highly recommend the book to lift holiday spirits. If you enjoy it, check out the entire Sophie Washington book series.

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One of a Kind

Only One Samantha

Written by Allesandro Reale

Illustrated by Hank Darwin

Samantha enjoys being unique. She doesn’t need to fit in with the crowd. Every day she wears a different outfit to school. It doesn’t bother her that her classmates criticize her for not wearing clothes like them.

One day, Samantha’s teacher arrives strangely dressed. It is School Dress up day. All her classmates have forgotten. Only Samantha has dressed appropriately. What will happen?

Samantha has the confidence and courage to be true to herself and not depend on the opinions of others. This message is an important one for elementary and middle-school children to understand. This book contains black and white images that the reader may dress and color to their own preference.

Recommended especially for children ages six through twelve, but certainly appropriate for any age.

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ART COMES ALIVE!

Daniel the Draw-er

Written by S.J. Henderson

One day, Daniel breaks his pencil while drawing and goes searching for a replacement. He finds a pencil stump in the attic. When he begins drawing, Daniel is astounded when the cat he draws comes to life. Daniel continues to draw objects like a pizza robot and aliens from the planet, Beezo. His artwork awakens. Daniel tells Annie about his treasure. She is angry that he won’t share it with her.

Now Annie ignores Daniel. He is sad and frustrated. Daniel confides in his mother. She gives him some good advice. One day bullies torment Annie on the school playground. How will Daniel react? Will Annie ever forgive Daniel?

This is a fun middle-grade read. It has lots of humor combined with fantasy. Daniel and Annie face common preteen problems like sibling and peer rivalry.  It also discusses how to handle bullying. Recommended especially for boys and girls ages eight through twelve.

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Mind over Matter

Hello Brain: A Book about Talking to Your Brain

Written by Clarissa Johnson

This book discusses mindfulness for children. It contains six stories about students in a classroom who experience different troubling situations. It begins with Sam, who is terribly shy and afraid to talk with anyone at school. Eve is frustrated because she views herself not smart enough to learn. Jane talks too much in class and can’t concentrate. Nick is grumpy, unhappy and cannot focus. Kate excels in school and sports, but cannot see the worth of other students. Will is a shy boy, who is often the victim of others who take advantage of him with unkind words and acts. In each situation, one of the other students approaches the child with a problem and reminds him that he can talk to his brain and take control of the situation to remedy the problem.

This book can be used by parents or teachers to guide discussions with individual children or a classroom group. It could be an effective resource for elementary and middle school students who are struggling with individual emotions and peer relationships. It is particularly recommended for students in the six to twelve age range.

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