Erin Frankel, Author
Paula Heaphy, Illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing, Fiction, May 15, 2015
Suitable for Ages: 5-9
Themes: Bullying, Differences, Accountability, Relational Aggression, Self-confidence
Opening: I used to like school. But that was before somebody decided to make my life miserable. Before somebody named Kyle made me feel like a NOBODY!
Publisher Synopsis: Thomas feels like no matter what he does, he can’t escape Kyle’s persistent bullying. At school, at soccer—nowhere feels safe! “Mom said Kyle would grow over the summer and stop picking on me, but he didn’t grow up, he just grew.” With support from friends, classmates, and adults, Thomas starts to feel more confident in himself and his hobbies, while Kyle learns the importance of kindness to others.
What I love about this book:
- Erin Frankel and Paula Heaphy, who created the popular Weird series, have published a powerful stand-alone picture book for boys about bullying. Many of the beloved characters in the Weird, Dare and Tough, appear in the background of Nobody!
- Readers will identify with the name-calling, insults, threats, fear, and anger. The characters are realistic and the language is simple, but edgy.
- Thomas narrates the story. We watch him grow from the victim who doesn’t like feeling like a nobody to a more self-confident somebody. I like how his narrative is accompanied with “bubble comments” from all the characters on each page. This allows the reader to be more engaged in the story dynamics as they hear from Thomas, the bully, siblings, parents, teachers and bystanders. The bully, Kyle, also learns a few lessons.
- Nobody! is an excellent resource for teaching school-age children good emotional techniques to stand-up for what is right, to survive and grow beyond bullying. This is another book that belongs in every school library.
- Paula Heaphy’s stand-out illustrations are pen and ink drawings with splashes of color. They are bold, expressive, emotive and capture the action in the story. I also like her use of white space. Children will find her illustrations especially appealing.
Resources: The book concludes with “activity club” pages for kids, as well as information to help parents, teachers, counselors, and other adults foster dialogue with children about ways to stop bullying. I would pair this book with the first three books, Weird, Dare and Tough. Visit Erin Frankel at her website.