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Freda Stops a Bully, ($6.95, Charlesbridge Publishing, ages 3-6) written by Stuart J. Murphy and illustrated by Tim Jones, is reviewed by Rita Zobayan.
How many of you remember the schoolyard bully? You know, the kid who made fun of maybe you, perhaps your friend, or maybe someone you didn’t know. How many of you wish you’d known what to do about or say to that kid? With bullying incidences being highlighted more and more often these days, preparing our young children with strategies to seek help against bullying has become increasingly important.
As part of Stuart J. Murphy’s “I See I Learn” series, Freda Stops a Bully provides relatable, simple and straightforward tips to help young children handle a bully. The story centers on Freda who likes to wear her pink shoes and Max who calls her “funny feet.” Freda and her friends try various methods to deal with Max and his name calling. As they try each of the methods, we see what works and what doesn’t. At 28 pages, the book is long enough to cover the story and short enough to keep young readers engaged.
Presented in fun, comic-style illustrations, the book features animal characters situated at home, school and the park. Freda seeks assistance from the primary adult figures in young children’s’ lives: parent and teacher. These familiar settings and adults will help young readers understand and relate to Freda’s predicament.
The end of the book features a review of the four “what to do about a bully” strategies and provides five discussion points/activities for a child to engage in with a parent/teacher. Useful both at home and in a classroom, Freda Stops a Bully provides a good starting point for helping children identify and deal with bullying.
Editor’s Note: We all know that sadly, bullying is not limited to the playground. With summer around the corner, children may encounter similar situations at a camp, park, vacation getaway or even summer school. Use this book as a gentle way to approach the topic and begin a meaningful conversation.