Bullying is a huge issue in classrooms and in the larger world of playgrounds and neighborhoods. Bullies come in all colors and sizes, and both genders. Finn introduces Sam, a fifth grader who writes an advice column for younger children. On each double-page spread is a letter to Sam with a question about bullies, or how to handle bullies, accompanied by an answer from Sam. For example Justin writes, "My brother told me to watch out for bullies at school. What does a bully look like?" Sam replies that bullies are hard to identify by looking at them since they can be any size, age, or gender. He continues, "Bullies are people who try to make other people feel bad." Children and adults from a variety of races and gender roles are presented in the illustrations, which are cartoonish in style and digitally rendered with bright primary colors. The language and illustrations combine with the concept to appeal to those aged four to about eight. Once the questions move away from "What is a bully?" to "What can I do about bullies?" the answers veer off into simplistic comfort levels, such as telling children to get help from adults. While this is not bad advice, every teacher knows that the difficult part is teaching children the difference between getting help with a real problem and tattling. The deep issues of preventing bullying and getting help when it is appropriate are not dealt with here, limiting the usefulness of this advice book, no matter how appealing it is.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-These character-education titles follow the same question-and-answer format as the "Kids Talk" series (Picture Window) but are intended for a younger audience. A fictional fifth-grade counselor, introduced at the beginning of each book, provides "Dear Abby"-style advice to children. Most responses are only a few sentences long, giving just one simple solution to each problem. For example, a child who is afraid of a dog is advised to face his fears by getting to know the dog and its owner. While this may work in certain situations, no mention is made of what to do if, for example, the animal is truly dangerous. Each book concludes with a multiple-choice quiz and a "Hero File" on a famous person relevant to the topic. Readers are directed to the publisher's FactHound Web site, which offers age-appropriate, up-to-date links and suggested reading on each subject. Digital illustrations of a multicultural cast of characters accompany the texts. Although the books are not comprehensive in their approach, they offer some worthy advice, and with adult guidance, they will provide a starting point for further discussion.-Melinda Piehler, Sawgrass Elementary School, Sunrise, FL Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Carrie Finn never thought that she would write books, much less books for children. However, after spending so much time with her 13 nieces and nephews, something must have rubbed off on her. She’s now the author of 10 titles for Picture Window Books.
Carrie has been teaching college writing since 1999 and continues to enjoy helping others with their writing. She stays busy by throwing pottery on the wheel, playing the piano, baking bread from scratch, and talking to the miniature donkeys on the farm near her house.
Carrie currently lives in Waterloo, Iowa, with her husband and trusty sidekick, Dan.