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donnaodonnellfigurski.com - BULLIES NEVER WIN

Bullies Never Win
Written by Margery Cuyler
Illustrated by Arthur Howard

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
ISBN: 0689861877
Ages: 4 to 8

Review and Lessons Plans by Donna O'Donnell Figurski

You know them. We all do. Those kids who like to boss other kids around. The ones who like to scare little kids and take their toys. The kids who exclude other kids from their games and make them feel unwanted, insecure, and sad. I guess it makes them feel tough. But, really, those kids are the ones who are insecure. They are the ones who are afraid. They are … the bullies.

Bullies may be in your neighborhood. They may try to run your school. You might even have a bully in your classroom. The boy who accidentally-on-purpose knocks into your desk making your books and pencils and crayons scatter along the floor. He’s a bully. Quickly he’ll say, “Sorry,” but you know he doesn’t mean it. And before he turns away, you can see his grin. Or maybe it’s the group of cool-looking girls who giggle every time you walk to the water fountain or get on line or answer in class. They are bullies too. They pretend to be your friend, but whom are they kidding? They think they are so sly. Then there are the kids who won’t let you join in their games or call you names or make fun of the way you look, talk, or dress. They are bullies. They all are!

Brenda Bailey was the bully in Jessica’s life in the book, Bullies Never Win written by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by Arthur Howard. Brenda seemed to be everywhere. For sure, she was in Jessica’s head. Brenda turned Jessica into a constant worrier. Jessica worried about her own knobby knees and her mismatched socks. She worried about making a goal on the kickball team and even doing her homework right. Simply put - Jessica was afraid.

That’s what bullies do! They instill fear in their victims. They want them to be afraid. Jessica was afraid that Brenda would make fun of her, that she would embarrass her. Bullies make you feel insecure. They like to call other kids nasty names too. Somehow that makes them feel better about themselves. Who knows why! Brenda called Jessica – Toothpick. That name made Jessica miserable. Jessica sat in her bedroom. She couldn’t sleep at night. She had a stomachache and didn’t want to go to school. Not good!

Jessica was afraid to tell her parents. She was afraid to tell her teacher, Mr. Martin. Finally, though, Jessica took her teacher’s advice. She tried to ignore Brenda but that didn’t work. Jessica’s friends told her to stand up to Brenda. But would you want to stand up to a bully? Not me! I’d run the other way. In the end, though, Jessica had no choice. She had to face Brenda and that was not easy. One day Jessica looked Brenda in the eye and said, “Bullies never win!” And you know something … Jessica is right! In the end they never do win.

I think Jessica was brave. What would you do?

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters .
FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“Jessica was a worrier,” said Daisy. “She worried about lots of stuff.”
Diego nodded. “She worries about everything,” he said.

“Jessica was like a worry girl,” said Lucy.

“She worried about having bad grades,’ explained Danae. “And not doing well in school.”

“And Jessica always got picked on at school by Brenda,” said Tala.

“So, she was always worried,” said Caden.

“Who wouldn’t?” asked Tala throwing her arms out at her side.

“It made her upset,” said Mark.

“… And vexed,” added Juliana.

“That means she was angry,” said Diego pounding his desk. “Really, really angry.”

“Her worst worry was Brenda,” said Lucy.

“Because Brenda called Jessica a toothpick,” explained Tala.

“I’d be furious,” said Mark, “if someone called me a toothpick.”

“Me, too,” said Caden. “It just doesn’t feel good when someone calls you names.”

“It would probably make me feel emotional,” said Juliana. “I would probably start crying.”

“Sometimes I am a worrier,” said Callie.

Mikaela nodded as if she really understood. “I am a very big worrier because I never get things done in time. I sometimes get the feeling to cry,” she said.

“Just like Jessica when her eyes started to sting,” said Caden.

“Yeah! She felt horrible,” said Tala.

“Brenda stopped Jessica from playing kickball,” said Juliana.

“She said Jessica cheated on her homework,” said Tala.

“Brenda said that Jessica had knobby knees,” said Diego.

“… And her socks never matched,” interrupted Caden.

“I would not like anybody to do that to me,” pronounced Danae.

“Brenda was a big bully,” said Daisy.

“Yep! She has a bully problem,” said Diego.

“She was always making fun of Jessica,” said Daisy.

“I think Brenda is just jealous of Jessica,” said Juliana.

“… because Jessica did a better job,” said Brayden.

“If I were being bullied, I would tell a teacher,” said Abby.

“…or whoever is watching you,” said Callie.

“My teacher would stick up for me,” said Danae. “I know if I had Mrs. Figurski again, she would help me.”

“No one should bully anyone,” declared Tala.

“Bullies make you feel uncomfortable,” said Brayden. “They scare you.”

“I would stick up for myself,” offered Danae.

“I would stand up to the bully,” said Abby sounding rather brave

“Just try to ignore them,” was Callie’s good advice.

“Bullies are never going to stop,” said Brayden. “So who would want to be friends with a bully?” he asked. “Be friends with people who you trust.”

Lucy nodded, "That's the right thing to do," she said.


Bully Put-Down: Language Arts/Social Studies

Band together to put down bullies. Don’t let bullies rule you, your classroom, or your school. They have no place in your life. Bullies can only be bullies, if you let them.

Have your class make ANTI-Bully posters. Then plaster them over the walls of your school. You can put an end to bullying!

  • After reading Bullies Never Win written by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by Arthur Howard, have children identify as many acts of bullying that they can think of – not only from the book, but also from their own experiences.
  • Use chart paper to list their suggestions.
  • Examples:
    • Pushing or shoving
    • Calling names or teasing
    • Making someone feel left out
  • Next have them brainstorm ways to solve the bully problems.
  • Use chart paper to list their suggestions.
  • Examples:
    • Tell the bully to stop
    • Stand up for yourself
    • Tell a parent
    • Tell a teacher
    • Walk away
    • Ignore the bully
  • Then have children work in pairs or small groups to create Anti-Bully posters
  • Each group will choose one problem and one solution. Then they may work together to create and illustrate their poster. They may use crayons, markers, or other craft materials.
  • Next have a sharing session so each group can explain their poster.
  • After the children share their posters with their class, they may hang the posters in the school hallways to heighten awareness of the seriousness of bullying.

Act-It-Out: Language Arts/Social Studies

Most kids have been bullied, observed a friend being bullied, or have been a bully themselves at one time or another. They may not know it is called bullying, but they surely know that it isn’t right when Timmy calls Janie a brat or when Suzy and Mellie use words like “You can’t play with us.” to exclude Peter from their jump rope game. Children know it is wrong when they make fun of someone, but they do it anyway.

Children need to understand the hurtfulness of their bullying actions. Through role-playing a variety of scenarios, their awareness will be heightened.

  • Have children identify as many acts of bullying that they can think of.
  •  List their suggestions on chart paper.
  • Examples:
    •  Ignoring someone
    • Spreading rumors
    • Hurting someone
    • Teasing
    • Telling lies about someone
    • Calling someone names
  • Group children into pairs or small groups of three or four.
  • Tell the children that they are going to choose one act of bullying to act out. (skit)
  • They need to show the problem and how they can resolve it.
  • Allow time for discussion and for practice.
  • Then give each group a turn to present their skit.
  • After the skit a whole group discussion about the bullying act may be appropriate.
  • (Puppets can also be used for those children who may feel uncomfortable performing.)

(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

Kids Against Bullying
Teachers.Net.Gazette - Taking The Bully By The Horns
Stop Bullying Now – What is Bullying?


Don’t Pick On Me: A First Look at Bullying written by Pat Thomas
Hooway for Wodney Wat written by Helen Lester; illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
Recess Queen written by Alexis O'Neil; illustrated by Laura Huliska - Beith
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon written by Patty Lovell; illustrated by David Catrow
Don’t Laugh at Me written by Steve Seskin & Allen Shamblin; illustrated by Glin Dibley
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All contents copyright (c) 2002. Donna O'Donnell Figurski.
No content may be copied or reproduced in any way without the express permission of the creator.
Clip Art courtesy of GraphicGarden.com

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