Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Stand Up For Yourself & Your Friends

Last year, the tooth fairy (oh, yes, we still believe in those, and Santa, a la The Polar Express) got A a book that she has thoroughly enjoyed. It has been her constant companion over the past year, given that peer interaction is becoming more and more important. Thanks to her petite built and a possibly outdated interest in books and such, she is often the target of those who think they know better. As parents, we keep talking to her about it whenever an 'incident' happens, even stressing on the fact that every person is special in their own way, and that a lot of what those girls say doesn't become true even if it feels like that. That she has so many wonderful gifts that a lot of those girls do not have. That she just needs to ignore most of that behaviour. And at times, stand up for herself and what she thinks is right.

So when she came across this book on, the tooth fairy thought it would be good thing to get her.

pic courtesy
Stand Up For Yourself  & Your Friends
Written by Patti Kelley Criswell
Illustrated by Angela Martini
Published by American Girl Publishing
Ages 8+

We begin by defining bullying. It can be many things, but it is mostly about power. And not all bullies are the stereotypical big, tall, loud, intimidating person. Think Miss Agatha Trunchbull from Matilda. Oh, no, they come in different packages, and at one time or another, any one of us could bully someone else.

The book then goes on to deconstruct the politics of bullying as it occurs, and the strategies to handle it. It is peppered with real incidents reported by real girls, the way they handled it, and a lot of expert-speak on each incident. There are short, snappy, two-page chapters on each topic, with full colour illustrations.

There are also many quizzes the reader can take, like 'Is this bullying?' on identifying which behaviours would qualify as bullying, 'What's your speak-up style?' on how you would deal with a given situation and 'What do you stand for?' on your beliefs about friendship. The very practical and easy to apply tips by experts and kids themselves make for a much appreciated 'cool' factor. Or at least I have been informed so by the kid, who dips into the book often for inspiration.

There is also plenty for the bewildered adult who might be the bystander, the authority figure who may have to tackle a potentially explosive situation, or the parent who has to deal with either end of the bullying episode- the bully or the victim. Much that can be used by the adult in their own interaction with power struggles among their peers too.

A book that can be applied at all levels, with sound strategies that can be extrapolated to situations even beyond the scope of the book. And even though I place it at 8+, younger children can benefit from it too- as more and more, these things happen at a younger age in today's world.

The book has an accompanying journal that I'm sure the tooth fairy is currently considering. A journal full of quizzes, checklists and charts that I'm sure the child will enjoy working on with her own experiences.


Choxbox said...

Sounds very interesting!

ranjani.sathish said...

Wonderful sandhya....I feel that it will definitely help the adults also to teach their child to handle such tricky situations. I am going to book mark this book for daughter ! Do you know if there is an equivalent for boys ?

Arundhati said...

I didn't think such "self-help" books would be of any use, thought they were a tad tacky too. I've had to revise my judgement seeing how seriously P takes them. Books on topics like bullying, being rude, disobeying and such have helped us.

Same Q as R - know of an equivalent for boys? I think I'll need it

sandhya said...

Here you are, Ranjani and Arundhati-
more unisex stuff.

Chox- it has been worth it's weight in gold.

d said...

Hey did you buy this in Bangalore? Where? It is 500+ rs on flipkart, am wondering if I can get it for less anywhere...

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