Tough! (The Weird! Series #3)

Overview

Sam is concerned about keeping things orderly and "cool" at school. She thinks people need to have a tough skin in order to fit in and withstand others’ meanness and lack of cooperation. Sam teases her free-spirited classmate Luisa and enlists a friend, Jayla, to help. But when Sam is confronted by a concerned teacher about her bullying, and Jayla turns on Sam and befriends Luisa, Sam begins to show some heart and rethink her treatment of ...

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Overview

Sam is concerned about keeping things orderly and "cool" at school. She thinks people need to have a tough skin in order to fit in and withstand others’ meanness and lack of cooperation. Sam teases her free-spirited classmate Luisa and enlists a friend, Jayla, to help. But when Sam is confronted by a concerned teacher about her bullying, and Jayla turns on Sam and befriends Luisa, Sam begins to show some heart and rethink her treatment of others.

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.

Part of the Bully Free Kids™ line

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“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

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

“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

From the Publisher

“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

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

“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

Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
Sam is girl-tough and she has taken on the responsibility to make sure everybody at school follows the rules, at least her rules. That means no one can wear clothes that are not Sam-approved or sit in a chair or desk—that unless Sam has given her permission. Sam has learned from older siblings that if you are not tough, others will be allowed to tell you what to do, so she just takes control. It isn't that Sam plans to be mean or that she enjoys not being a part of the crowd. It is just that this is the behavior Sam has learned and it seems to work to and it gives her power over others. What Sam really needs is someone to listen, someone to help her see that she doesn't have to be tough and that she doesn't have to be in charge. Sam needs to learn that it can be cool to be kind and to allow someone else to make the rules. It isn't easy changing the way we behave but it can make us happier and help the people around us to see who we really are. 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. Sam's Kindness Club, included at the end of the text, helps children see alternative ways of responding to others that will help them feel good and help them to make friends. 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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781575424385
  • Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/24/2013
  • Series: The Weird! Series , #3
  • Edition description: Part of the Bully Free Kids? line
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 152,293
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.10 (d)

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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