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Bullies Never Win

Simon and Schuster
Ill. by Arthur Howard

Bullies Never Win

(Hardcover ISBN 9780689861871)

First-grader Jessica worries about everything Brenda the Bully might tease her about, until the day she has had enough and discovers a new way to deal with Brenda.


First-grader Jessica is a worrier, and her biggest worry is the class bully, Brenda, who makes fun of how she looks and what she does. All alone in the cafeteria, Jessica comes close to tears, and at home she cannot sleep. Then a classmate and her friends support Jessica and tell her to stand up to the bully, and Jessica talks it all over with her mom. What should she do? Tell the teacher? Mock the bully? Finally, she does stand up to Brenda, who slinks away. The book's title is an overstatement, and the solution may be a bit simple; if only handling bullies was always so easy. But the universal scenario will open up discussion and encourage kids to develop coping strategies. With simple dialogue and big, ink-and-watercolor cartoon-style illustrations, this book captures the drama and familiar feelings—sadness, loneliness, fear, and sometimes triumph—that come with facing up to bullies. – Booklist

In first grade, Jessica faced a lesson that had nothing to do with getting her homework done, or even getting it turned in on time. Jessica’s biggest problem was Brenda Bailey. Every day Jessica went to school, Brenda found ways to bully her: from the clothes Jessica wore, to the way she played kickball, even to the homework Jessica turned in. If that was not enough for Jessica, she also worried about other things. For example, Jessica worried if her socks matched, worried if she could find her barrettes, and even worried about her knobby knees. For a first grader, Jessica had too much to worry about. Her teacher, Mr. Martin, had advised his class to “just ignore” the bullies, but Jessica did not think she could do that. After telling her mom about the problem with Brenda, Jessica came up with a plan. The next day, when Brenda began her bulling ways, Jessica put her plan into action. Brenda was stunned, embarrassed, and finally quiet. Can you imagine what Jessica’s plan was? Could your child learn from Jessica? If your child has been bullied, or knows a child who is being bullied, the strategy Jessica used just might be helpful. This is a book that should be kept in all elementary classes and read out-loud regularly. Empowering children starts early, and Jessica’s story and her solution are about empowering children. The colorful illustrations are humorous and on target for the elementary grades. If given the opportunity, children in grades first through fourth will enjoy picking this book up and reading it by themselves. – Children’s Literature


Worrier Jessica's previous problems with finding 100 things, remembering fire-safety rules and reading aloud all seem trivial in the face of Brenda Bailey, the bully of the first grade (Hooray for Reading Day, 2008, etc.). The quintessential girl bully, "perfect" Brenda doesn't steal or fightùshe teases and belittles. Downtrodden Jessica changes everything about herself to try to get Brenda to stop. Ignoring her doesn't work, and the threat of telling the teacher only provokes the moniker of tattletale. In the end, Jessica comes up with a reply that she hopes will put an end to the abuse. While readers do not find out if Brenda has been defeated, it is plain that Jessica's actions have boosted her self-confidence. Howard's pen, ink and watercolor illustrations masterfully capture Brenda's "perfection," including the ugly face of jealousy and meanness that she so often exhibits. Body language speaks volumes as Brenda heaps on the abuse, Jessica seems almost to shrink. With messages on many different levels for both the bully and the bullied, this has a home on library shelves. – Kirkus Reviews

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