Monday, February 19, 2018

Winter Reading 2018 What Happens Next


Worry can suck all the joy out of life. Worrying about how others will treat you, what they will say or do, how those around will respond... The protagonist has a problem at school and the problem's name is Bully B. B. says "Weirdo," knocks the books from the protagonist's hands or blocks the way to class. B.'s friends laugh and everyone else does nothing. Being made to feel invisible or weird can make it hard to go to school, hard to hold onto who you are, and hard not to lash out at others. But an understanding adult can give good advice, can offer to speak to the principal, or can offer moral support as someone tries to stand up to their own bully.

This book does a great job of showing how the bullying makes the protagonist feel, how hard it is to tell someone, and how much courage it takes to stand up for oneself. It also shows that there are good things in life like a mom who cares or a dog who "wags his tail. Kisses my face." And it even explains some of the reasons that bullies may act as they do. It also shows that bullies can be girls, and the gender of the bullied child is never identified, making it easy for all young readers to see themselves or someone they know in that role. 

Not all bullying situations are resolved as quickly as this one, but it gives a place to start a dialogue. There are discussion guides for teachers and librarians of grades 1-3 and grades 4 -6 to use with students. (The guides are written by a school and clinical child psychologist.) This would also be a good book for a parent to read with a child and open up lines of communication about bullying, even if the parent doesn't think it is needed. They may be surprised what they learn. 

Highly recommended for elementary school libraries, classrooms, and counselors.

I read an ARC provided by the publisher for review purposes.

Check out the video book trailer.

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