Little Girls Can Be Mean

You’re Mean, Lily Jean,  written by Frieda Wishinsky and illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton for children 4-8 yrs.  Carly always plays with her big sister, Sandy.  They are both imaginative and play great games of pretend.  One day  a new girl, Lily Jean,  moves in next door.   The  sisters are taken with Lily Jean, until she begins to boss everyone around.  Since Carly is the youngest, Lily Jean,  orders her around making her crawl like a baby, moo like a cow and play the royal dog.  Tired of being bossed around, Carly comes up with a plan to teach mean Lily Jean a lesson.  Will Carly change the dynamics?   After all, kids just want to fit in.

Wishinsky wrote an important book for parents to read to their daughters about how little girls can be mean.  A good book for the classroom.  Denton’s soft watercolors capture the mood of each character, and children will find the illustrations engaging.

Little Girls Can Be Mean:  Four Steps to Bully-Proof Girls in the Early Grades, written by Michelle Anthony, M.A., Ph.D., and Reyna Lindert, Ph.D. , 2010.    

Book Jacket:  In today’s world, girls are facing myriad friendship issues, including bullying and cliques.  This is the first book to tackle the unique social struggles of elementary-aged girls, giving parents the tools to help their child become stronger, happier and better able to enjoy friendships and handle social cruelty.   Michelle Anthony and Reyna Lindert’s simple four-step plan will help you become a problem-solving partner with your daughter.  They also offer tips for educators and insights that girls can use to face social difficulties in an empowered way.    

After reviewing Lilly Jean is Mean, I discovered this important resource book for parents, teachers, and counselors for girls K- 6.   I would have gladly welcomed a book like this to help me with creative approaches and strategies to strengthen my daughter during those vulnerable years.   We know all kids will be mean at some point.  At the same time, you also don’t want your child participating in bullying and cliques.   Kids want to feel accepted.  If they are in a situation where teasing is happening, you hope your child will stand up for the kid being targeted.   It is important to begin teaching  girls at a very early age, that being mean is not okay!   

With the increase of societal bullying, the Ohio legislature recently passed legislation requiring schools to develop a curriculum for students on bullying.  The message is clear — bullying in school is not acceptable.  I hope this is a trend that is occurring across the country. 

I also recommend you visit a friend’s website, Elizabethannewrites, as she has written an excellent three-part series about bullies,  “Beyond Neener, Neener, Neener” posted April 23, 25 and 26.

Lively Elizabeth!

Lively Elizabeth!: What Happens When You Push, written by Mara Bergman and illustrations by Cassia Thomas, for children 3-6 yrs.  Bergman uses rhyme in a very vibrant way to capture her characters and story line.  Cassie, a  first-time children’s book illustrator, impressively uses vivid color and detail to beautifully support this story.   A winning combination for both author and illustrator. 

Elizabeth is a tad too high-spirited  for her own good.  She is energetic,  fun-loving, and mischievous.   While standing in line at school, she decides to push Joe Fitzhugh, who knocks down Ethan Snell, who falls on Annabelle, who bumps Norine… thus creating huge chain reaction of crashes, flailing arms and legs, knocked down sporting equipment, books and musical instruments.   Joe Fitzhugh explodes in anger at Elizabeth and yells “You pushed me and hurt everyone!”  Elizabeth faces her peers, which may even more challenging than the teacher.   

Lively Elizabeth is fun story that provides an excellent teaching moment for parents and teachers to start talking with young children about pushing, accountability,  apologizing and forgiveness.  In fact, it’s a book to be read and reread often to remind children to respect one another.