“I appreciated the step-by-step instruction and explanation of the writing process, the illustrations, and the background for the story. A great way to teach kids about becoming an author/illustrator!”
Hokan Bengtson, Becker Middle School
Bullying in schools has been receiving a lot of attention these days. Bullies often single out students who are different in some way as their targets. Studies have shown that oftentimes bullies can be stopped if even one student is willing to take the risk and come to the support of the student being picked on. Other students, who often feel uncomfortable with the situation, will then also come to the defense of the student being subjected to the bullying.
We think that the positive message of this story, which is one of supporting those with differences, can help to change the dynamics of a potential bullying situation by helping students to understand and accept that it's OK to be different. The story is not about bullying - in fact, bullying is never mentioned. Instead, the story uses a positive approach, promoting the idea that supporting and accepting those with differences is a good thing.
The story “opens the door” and provides opportunities for teachers, parents and grandparents to discuss the bulling issue from a positive perspective. We believe that children who have learned to accept differences will be more likely to intervene and step in to defend a child being picked on by a bully.
Pre-school, Grades K-3: For younger students we do book readings followed by a discussion of the story and its message. These presentations typically run for about 20-30 minutes, but can be longer, if desired. The students love the story and really engage in the discussion that follows the reading. A suggested stipend of $50.
Grades 4-6: We have also done writing/illustration workshops for older students where we explain the process used in writing and getting the book illustrated and published. These presentations usually run 45-60 minutes and include a discussion of the book's message. These have also been well-received by both students and teachers. A suggested stipend of $75.
These have been our two most popular options. However, we are flexible and can tailor the presentations to a variety of needs. It really depends on what is needed. Smaller groups tend to encourage more participation in the discussion, but we have worked successfully with groups ranging in size from 10 to 80 students.