Bullies? Anyone have problems with bullying in your school? If you said, "no," you are either lying to me or clueless. Bullying is the biggest problem kids talk about in school. They don’t obsess that they don’t have the designer clothes or mechanical pencils. They worry because someone is being mean to them or their friends and they don’t know how to respond.
But what about the bully’s side of things? Have you considered helping bullies to transform and to empower themselves to stop? You will after reading Alley Oops by Janice Levy and illustrated by CB Decker. Be sure to read Janice’ interviews for insights into the deeper themes of Alley Oops. This title was released in 2005 and showed up on some of the bully lists I read, but I hadn’t held it in my hands until today.
Could I plead having a limited budget as my only reason for not having this title? Not convinced? How about that I simply never saw this book or had access to it? Does that sound more realistic? Okay, I’m only human. I can’t read every single review out there and still play with the kittens. To make up for it, let me make sure you have this in your collection.
I particularly enjoyed the illustrations where the much larger boys seems intimidated by the bully. Having four sons I appreciated the arm wrestling in this title. I can remember trying to arm wrestle my brothers. I was a little concerned at J.J.’s transformation as being too quick and less than perfect, but in her interview Janice Levy responds to this well. You’ll have to go read the interview yourself, I can’t tell you everything.
I was able to see her point. Some people hold on to grudges their entire life. Is it because I am a girl that I can recite every time my ex-husband said something that hurt my feelings? Nah…When my sons are angry with each other, they settle things much more quickly and move on from it as friends. But, when it comes to bullying episodes, they remember every one they’ve experienced.
Hopefully you will share this with students and families. I particularly like the humorous approach the author uses to communicate between the generations. You’ll recognize yourself there.