Showing posts with label bullying. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bullying. Show all posts

Friday, June 7, 2013

Twerp! Recommending a book BEFORE I finish it...

UPDATE: After finishing this book, I still feel it's a great read, but can get a bit edgy at points - think Judy Blume. For that reason, I highly recommend that you preview it so that you can plan how, or if, you may change some of the wording at some points.
Also, I've seen how some reviews have panned the book for the fact that it treats the bullying incident lightly and that bothers some. I think it opens up a great dialogue for discussion and offers a teachable moment for sure.


 I started reading this book aloud to my class yesterday after finishing the ever-popular book Wonder. We're 20 pages in, and Twerp is already a hit. I have no doubt that its appeal will continue throughout its 280 plus pages.

Surprisingly this is Mark Goldblatt's first book for young readers. It reads more like the effort of a more experienced middle grade author.

So, here's one reason why I'm recommending it before I've even finished... There's a scene at the beginning where the main character Julian is with his friend Lonnie and they've made the unfortunate decision to throw a rock at pigeons in a vacant lot "just to see what happens". My students were riveted. Some were hiding their heads in their hands not wanting, but really wanting, to hear more.  They were scolding the character, shouting out at him. Yeah, this stuff was real people. I won't tell you what happened to the pigeons because, well, you're going to read it, right? 

Twerp is a "journal" written in first person voice of the main character Julian. It's an assignment in response to a teacher's directive after Julian returns from being suspended from school. Goldblatt keeps the reader in suspense as to why Julian was suspended, but the stories he tells keep us so entertained we don't really mind waiting. 

This book not only appeals to its intended audience, as Twerp's 1969 time period is a perfect trip down memory lane for its adult reader. That's assuming your a child of the 60's and 70's like I am :) Even if you're not a middle-aged reader, you will find a sense of familiarity and abandon as the boys are able to navigate their neighborhood unfettered by the chains that bind current young adults. 

On the surface Twerp may appear to be a "boys' only" coming of age story but to  relegate it to that status is really short-changing this wonderful middle-grade literature that crosses gender lines and is sure to please.

Twerp was recently published and is available to purchase or check out from your local library.

I received a complimentary review copy from net in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bullying... or, how we can help to prevent it!

There is an increased focus on bullying these days, as there should be. Unfortunately many of our students and our own children are exposed to all sorts of behaviors that range from teasing all the way up to full-fledged bullying. Let us not forget, the bullies have parents too - even if they don't want to admit it. Not every kid is the victim, some are the perpetrators and others are the bystanders. Others are actually trying to be something different - peacemakers! Wouldn't it be great if all of our kids fell into one category? THE PEACEMAKERS!  I realize that may be a Utopian view that isn't ever going to be reality. It's likely unicorns will walk on Earth the day that happens. But still, can't we try to imagine a world where kids work proactively to get along and broker peace? Maybe the adults could try it too?

I found a new resource that helps children (and their adults) to be more peaceful, mindful, and empathetic.

This book is an amazing resource that comes with a CD of all of the worksheets that you can use with students, or even your own children. Its target audience is grades 3-6.  This text has 125 mini-lessons that can be taught within 20 minutes or less. Student activities—including games, role plays, group discussions, art projects, and language arts exercises—affirm the importance of respect, listening, and kind actions vs. bullying in schools. Kids learn skills they can use to calm down and conflict resolution techniques for situations when strong emotions threaten to disrupt the peace. With a focus on preventing teasing, name-calling, fighting, exclusion, and other hurtful actions, No Kidding About Bullying also features activities to stop bullying when mistreatment is occurring.

If you'd like to see sample pages/sheets from the book, visit the publisher's site. They have many other wonderful resources for teachers and parents. I highly recommend (and own) many of their products:


I borrowed this from my local library, but I plan to purchase it and add it to my shelf. It's that good!

I will post additional mindfulness and empathy resources in coming weeks. Stay tuned...