Winner of Best Book of the Year: Booklist, NPR, Kirkus Reviews, Shelf Awareness, School Library Journal, ALA Notable Children’s Book, a Newbery Honor, – a few to go on…
“But the lid was off, the worms were rearing their slick little heads, and they would soon be spilling out with their mucky secrets.”
Annabelle’s quiet and steady life is interrupted by a newcomer to the small, rural town in Pennsylvania where she lives. This unwelcome person is Betty Glengarry, a manipulative bully. As events of cruelty and bullying escalate, Annabelle must find the grit, compassion, and strength to face the injustice.
Cell phones are banned at Branton Middle School. One could say that things had gotten out of hand.
“Inexcusable“, the teacher had said regarding a certain post.
The students, masterful at getting around things, devise a plan to connect and paper “text”, which you’ve already guessed by the state of the locker above. In all fairness, the idea was started by Frost and his friends, Deedee, Wolf, and Bench. The posts get personal, mean and vicious, and matters intensify all round.
The novel covers a lot of what goes on in a Middle School, about the hard stuff at home and on school turf. It’s about finding “your people” and then trying to keep it all together. It’s about a newcomer, Rose, who threatens to derail life itself, and it’s about words going viral. Events escalate and the pressure mounts on every front.
This is a great read and like all great reads, teaches something important.
Series: Russell Brand’s Trickster Tales: The Pied Piper of Hamelin
Illustrated by award-winner, Chris Riddell
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
A Middle School and YA read
We are not force-feeding the ancient tales. However, this is a twist and a half on a wonderful story written in 1888 (!) by Robert Browning which you should read sometime, by the way.
Russell Brand has re-engineered The Pied Piper of Hamelin into a tale of bullying, of spite, of greed and all manner of insalubrious vices.
Unabashedly rude and crude, the language nonetheless accurately portrays the rottenness of this seedy lot. When you see how full of goodness Sam is, how marvelous the Pied Piper is, and how right the outcome is, you’ll forgive a lot. You’ll laugh a lot as well, but you will also feel exceedingly ashamed of any bullying tendencies you may have buried in that heart of yours. Wow! What a tale! It’s masterful, I think.
The illustrations are equally brilliant, which in all makes this book add up to one huge winner. I think one should own it, because you’d want to learn all those cool words in the glossary and look often at those glossy pages. Go on, ask mom…
This is a book I wanted to review for a while, but other books always got in the way.
One by Katherine Otoshi
This is an amazing picture book about bullying and it is one I read to my kids over and over. Her other book “Zero” is about loving yourself as you are and is also amazing. I received both books from a group promoting children’s literacy and it is one of my most favorite stories of all times. With a simple message and beautiful illustrations this is a book that can be read and enjoyed by anyone over and over. Amazon did not put an age limit on this story for good reason. My Mom loves this story and she is…well older than preschool for sure. 😉
Age Range: 4 and up
Grade Level: Preschool and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: KO Kids Books (October 1, 2008)
The story is simply told. Blue likes being Blue, except when Red is around, then he feels very very small. Orange, Green, Yellow, all like Blue, but when Red picked on Blue they don’t say anything because they are afraid of being picked on as well. Then walked up the number One. He stands up straight to Red and says, all it takes is One to stand up, because Everyone Counts! Then Orange, Purple, Green, all the colors stand up “Me Two, Three..” even Blue finally stands up to Red and says I Count! Red blows up, deflates, then Blue says “Can’t Red be Hot, and Blue be cool too?” Red becomes a number too and so the theme Everyone counts ends with Blue and Red, and ALL the colored numbers Counting.
This is both poignant and brilliant in its simplicity. Beautiful watercolors and simple prose tells the message: standing up to bullies takes courage, but if everyone stands together, no one stands alone. What is remarkable about this story, is that it offers a way to talk about all the factors in bullying, (why people remain silent, what a target feels, and what the bully feels) and does it in a way that is not preachy, it even offers a child appropriate way to solve the problem. I don’t care if you are 5 or 95, this should be in your library.
Her other book Zero is an amazing book about being true to yourself and should also be read by everyone. It continues the theme of Everyone Counts and is a terrific story of how a “zero” can matter.