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Dare! (The Weird! Series #2)

Dare! (The Weird! Series #2)

5.0 1
by Erin Frankel, Paula Heaphy (Illustrator)

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Jayla feels threatened by her classmate Sam, who has bullied her in the past for her "nerdy" love of astronomy and stars. Sam is now bullying Jayla’s friend Luisa, and she enlists Jayla to participate. Jalya reluctantly joins in but soon realizes it is wrong. With the help of caring adults and friends, Jayla comes to sympathize with Luisa and finds


Jayla feels threatened by her classmate Sam, who has bullied her in the past for her "nerdy" love of astronomy and stars. Sam is now bullying Jayla’s friend Luisa, and she enlists Jayla to participate. Jalya reluctantly joins in but soon realizes it is wrong. With the help of caring adults and friends, Jayla comes to sympathize with Luisa and finds the courage to dare to stand up to Sam and put an end to the bullying.

The Weird! Series
These three books tell the story of an ongoing case of bullying from three third graders’ perspectives. Luisa describes being targeted by bullying in Weird! Jayla shares her experience as a bystander to bullying in Dare! And in Tough!, Sam speaks from the point of view of someone initiating bullying. Kids will easily relate to Luisa, Jayla, and Sam, as each girl has her own unique experience, eventually learning how to face her challenges with the help of friends, peers, and caring adults.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
There are three participants in any episode of bullying. There is the person who is doing the bullying, the person who is being bullied, and the person who watches or listens to the bullying. When the person listening is an adult, there is hope for involvement that will bring a resolution. When the person listening is another child, the bullying often creates another victim. It is hard for children to stand up against the bullying of another person, even a friend. There is the fear that the bully will then turn on them and they will become the object of derision and insults. Jayla was bullied by Sam last year and was never able to stand up for herself. Now that Sam is bullying Luisa, she is relieved that she is no longer the target but sad that she does not feel capable of standing up against Sam. Jayla understands that maybe the reason no one stood up for her is that they had all been bullied too. This series presents bullying from the perspective of the one who bullies, the one who is bullied, and the one who is a bystander with helpful notes included in each volume that summarizes the stand of each character and offers teaching guidelines in dealing with bullying behavior. Jayla's Courage Club, included at the end of the text, gives feedback as to how bullying affects a child's confidence but how having the courage to stand up for yourself or a friend can rebuild that confidence, even in the youngest children. This is the best approach to dealing with bullying that I, as a reviewer and librarian, have seen. It is a valuable resource for doing more than just talking about the subject but really empowering the children to deal with the behavior, whether they are the bully, the victim or the bystander. Reviewer: Joyce Rice
From the Publisher

“The wonderful books in the Weird series are great resources to help build young children’s social skills to address and prevent bullying.” —Trudy Ludwig, children’s advocate and best-selling author of Confessions of a Former Bully

Three stories told from the perspectives of three different children: one who is bullied (Weird!), a bystander (Dare!), and the bully herself (Tough!). Each title shows readers, through the texts and the expressive ink illustrations, what each child feels. In Weird! Luisa is portrayed as a bubbly and vibrant character wearing her beloved polka-dot boots everywhere she goes. Then she is tormented by Sam, and her uniqueness and confidence become liabilities instead of strengths, and she throws away her boots. It isn’t until a bystander, Jayla, stands up to the bully and returns Luisa’s footwear that the book ends on a positive note with the victim confidence restored. Following the stories, nonfiction sections offer tips from each character’s perspective or suggest simple group activities that model positive behaviors. Each title also has talking points and discussion questions, so readers can go back into the story and discuss what is occurring and how they might be able to change the outcome in a real-world scenario. The books stand alone as separate titles, but they’re much more effective when utilized together to give a complete view of how the main characters are feeling and the outside events that help shape their roles. For example, Sam, the bully, is being taunted at home by an older brother–setting her up to then find someone that she can pick on at school. These will be useful titles particularly for schools, but also for public libraries that see a fair number of requests for character-education titles. –School Library Journal

“This series is going to be hotter than hot. I loved, loved, loved the text and the illustrations. So simple, yet so powerful!”—DeeDee Ginns Gruenberg, psychotherapist and bookseller, Self Esteem Shop

One of a trio of books that present the topic of bullying from three perspectives: the bullied, the bystander and the bully.

No matter what Luisa does, from wearing her favorite polka-dot boots to telling jokes at lunch, Sam declares that she is Weird!Luisa gradually stops being herself, until her mother and friends help her realize that she is wonderful the way she is. Jayla’s fear of becoming the target governs her actions as she alternately stands by and does nothing and takes Sam’s Dare! to participate. She eventually realizes that she has lost too much to feeling scared and befriends Luisa. From glimpses of her home life, it is not hard to see why Sam acts as Tough! as she does. But her attempts at keeping things cool are not winning her any friends, and the fact that no one is playing by her rules anymore gets her to start thinking about her behavior. While the series is slightly didactic, the well-drawn characters have real problems with (mostly) credible resolutions. Extensive backmatter, with separate sections for children and adults, in each book summarizes the lessons learned and provides activities to help change ingrained behaviors. Heaphy’s pen-and-ink illustrations are dotted with highlights of color that spotlight the main characters. She is a master of facial expression and body language; Sam’s hoodie sweatshirt speaks volumes all on its own.

While the series would benefit from a boy’s version, the message is still loud and clear; this should find a home in every school library. (Picture book/bibliotherapy. 6-12)—Kirkus

“The Weird series encourages children that are being bullied to stand up for themselves . . . bystanders to act when they see something bad happening . . . [and] children who are bullying others to reassess their actions and motivations.” —The Children’s Book Review

“My kids and I loved the Weird series . . . the books were incredibly insightful and provoked good discussion. Well written by Erin Frankel, beautifully illustrated by Paula Heaphy, and published by the always inspiring Free Spirit Publishing, [this series] is a must-own for educators, if not parents.”—Melissa Taylor, Imagination Soup

“An excellent tool for teaching school-age children good mental health techniques to survive and grow beyond bullying.”—Midwest Book Review: Children’s Bookwatch, Reviewer’s Choice

“The Weird series is a delightful three-part story that explores the roles of the bully, the bullied, and the bystander and how children can break out of those roles and be their unique, caring selves. Not only for kids, this series is a must for parents, educators, and caregivers who want to help children end the cycle of cruelty.” —Barbara Coloroso, author of The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander

Children's Literature - RevaBeth Russell
This series is “for all children, young and old, who have been involved in bullying. Do not lose sight of who you are. Know yourself. Be yourself. And remember, your brightest star shines from within.” These stories are honest and brave. The artwork is joyful as well as heart rendering and supplements each story well. The black and white illustrations, with just some parts being colored, focus your eyes on the action of the story. Sam has bullied Jayla and Jayla does not like it. When Sam started to bully a new girl Jaya felt relieved but still scared. She wished for the courage to be brave, to dare to stand up for herself as well as the new girl, Luisa, because she knows how it felt. Even though she is scared she is dared on by Sam to do some mean things and did them. She wants to stand up to Sam and after some self-examination she befriends Luisa and this little move gives her even more courage. She learns to dare to do kind things. At the end of each book are some of the girl’s notes that spell dare, tough, or weird. Each sentence is a nugget of truth such as “acting like I wasn’t scared gave me more courage.” There are notes and sentence starters for parents and teachers as well as ideas to start a courage or friendship club. The “telling vs. tattling bullet” makes it clear when an adult needs to be told. This is one series about bullying that shows real kids with real challenges and choices. I hope this series—“The Weird”—is found in all libraries and even read out loud at story time. Reviewer: RevaBeth Russell; Ages 5 to 10.

Product Details

Free Spirit Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
The Weird! Series , #2
Edition description:
Part of the Bully Free Kids? line
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 9.70(h) x 0.40(d)
330L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Erin Frankel has an M.A. in English education and is passionate about teaching and writing. She

taught ESL in Alabama before her recent move to Madrid, Spain, with her husband and three

daughters. Erin knows firsthand what it feels like to be bullied, and she hopes her stories will help

bring smiles back to children who have been involved in bullying. In her free time, Erin loves

hiking in the Spanish mountains and kayaking in her hometown of Mays Landing, New Jersey.


Paula Heaphy is a print and pattern designer in the fashion industry. She’s an explorer of all

artistic mediums from glassblowing to shoemaking, but her biggest love is drawing. She jumped

at the chance to illustrate her friend Erin’s story, having been bullied herself as a child. She lives

in Brooklyn, New York.

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Dare! 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Made you look