Sunday, April 09, 2006

Alley Oops

J. J. Jax doesn’t mean to hurt anyone when he teases the new kid about his weight. He’s just trying to have fun. But his thoughtless words do hurt Patrick, and now Patrick has nightmares and is afraid to go to school. J.J. learns that actions have consequences when his dad tells him a story about encountering someone recently that he had teased as a child. But the real lesson comes later, when J.J. encounters Patrick. The two boys discover that they have more in common than they had thought, and from this encounter Patrick gains a bit of empathy and learns that you can’t judge people on appearance.

Teasing and bullying are no joke. As an adult I can still remember the pain of being teased as a child. Alley Oops is a funny, touching, and beautifully illustrated picture book that can help teach young children to be considerate of each other’s feelings, at an age when they are still young enough for it to make a difference. One book by itself may not be enough to stop teasing and bullying, but by reading this book aloud to a class and following up with a classroom discussion, elementary school teachers can help to teach children empathy, understanding, and respect.

Alley Oops was written by Janice Levy, illustrated by CB Decker, and published by Flashlight Press.

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