Children's Illustrated / Bullying / Self-Esteem
I gave this book 5 out of 5 Stars
Expected publication date 5/15/15
Publisher's Blurb: Thomas feels like no matter what he does, he can’t escape Kyle’s persistent bullying. At school, at soccer—nowhere feels safe! “Mom said Kyle would grow over the summer and stop picking on me, but he didn’t grow up, he just grew.” With support from friends, classmates, and adults, Thomas starts to feel more confident in himself and his hobbies, while Kyle learns the importance of kindness to others. The book concludes with “activity club” pages for kids, as well as information to help parents, teachers, counselors, and other adults foster dialogue with children about ways to stop bullying.
Will you look at little Thomas's eyes?? I just want to hug that drawing, and though I know we're not supposed to judge a book by the cover, it was the cover that got me to read this book. The text is great -- will get to that -- but what absolutely make this book great are the richly detailed illustrations by Paula Heaphy. What looks like colored pencil sketches perfectly capture the emotions and expressions of the characters, which help readers experience for themselves the wide range of feelings going on. The scenes are realistic, and readers will relate to the settings that are shown in the book.
Happily, the text of this book is just as wonderfully done as the illustrations. Author Erin Frankel has provided a story that allows readers to see not only the perspective of the child being bullied, but also some insight into the bully himself, and even the actions/reactions of bystanders who witness bullying. Nobody! progresses in a way that establishes Thomas's parents, sister, and friends are aware of how Kyle treats Matthew, but that Thomas realizes he has some power in changing his own attitude to lead to different outcomes. This is a good introduction for kids to managing their own feelings and relationships and empathizing with how others feel. Hopefully, with the type of guidance, perspective, and talking points this book provides, kids will learn early on how to navigate bullies (including being one) and carry those lessons with them as they grow older. Bullying gets so much nastier as kids get older, so this is a semi-gentle way to start the dialogues at a young age.
I highly recommend this book, especially as a read along with an adult book, and think it's ideal for ages 7 to 9. The publisher recommends this book for ages 5-9, but I think that for little ones, there are too many words and some concepts are beyond their scope of understanding and it could be scary or confusing.
Thank you to Free Spirit Publishing and NetGalley for providing me an eBook copy in exchange for my honest review -- the only kind I give.