Monday, January 16, 2012

SPL Shelf Life [kids]


Why are You Picking on Me? Dealing with Bullies, by John Burstein, 32 pages.
This slim volume answers many questions children may have about bullying - at school, on the playground, in the mall, on the computer or phone, and elsewhere. Whether a child is being bullied or has witnessed bullying, and whether the bullying is verbal, physical or silent, author John Burstein’s concise, practical explanations and advice will help children to act and to make changes. 
Two significant questions are: Why does someone bully another person, and what does a bully hope to accomplish? Understanding the answers to these questions can go a long way in determining how to react to bullying, depending on the circumstances. Sometimes, ignoring the bully, walking away, or acting as if it doesn't matter, will stop the aggression. If not, victims can be prepared with other strategies: acting confidently, facing the challenge, answering back, staying with friends and avoiding areas where the bully is likely to be, calling for help if necessary, telling an adult and even forming a school-wide anti-bullying program. (“Facing the challenge” does not mean fighting back, as safety is a priority.)
Burstein is very clear that absolutely no one has the right to hurt another, whether by teasing or using violence. A victim should never feel that he/she has caused the bullying. (However, as the author notes, there are strategies that can lessen a child’s chances of being bullied, such as looking and feeling confident and happy.)   
The book ends with suggestions that readers think about whether they might be a “self-bully” or even guilty of bullying others.
Why are You Picking on Me? offers effectual advice for children, explained in an easily-understood format, with photographs, for a problem which unfortunately is widespread. Approximately one of every five school children is bullied.
** Recommended for ages 7 to 12 years. 
 
E is for Ethics: How to Talk to Kids about Morals, Values, and What Matters Most, by Ian James Corlett, 106 pages.
@ SPL:  J 170.44 Cor
E is for Ethics considers twenty-six values – for example, generosity, loyalty, gratitude, courage, honesty, empathy, sincerity, patience, responsibility, kindness – and provides a one or two-page read-aloud story to illustrate each attribute. Intended for parents (or grandparents) to share with children, each story ends with discussion questions such as “How would you act if you found out that a friend had cheated?”, “How can being responsible make you a better friend?”, “How can Elliott show his integrity?” and “Have you ever had to convince someone that you were sincere?”
The stories feature two young children, Lucy and Elliott, based on the author’s own children. (After creating the stories, the author “tested” them by reading them aloud to his children.)
The stories are very engaging, upbeat and positive, as are R.A. Holt’s illustrations.
The book was written because, in the author’s words, “teaching children ethics, values and morals is a real challenge for parents today”. Ian Corlett’s stories really do provide enjoyable and informal opportunities to discuss morals and values.
The author is an award-winning children’s TV writer who has created many popular children’s series and lives in Vancouver and Palm Springs, California. (He notes that he is well-qualified to write this book because he is a POD – a Plain Old Dad!)
** Recommended for parents, caregivers and grandparents to share with young and school-aged children.

These reviews appeared in The Stratford Gazette on January12, 2012. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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