It’s October, which means it’s also National Bullying Prevention Month! This month, we join with communities all over the country to raise awareness about bullying and equip schools and families with the tools to prevent it. Today, 1 in 5 children between the ages of 12 and 18 experience bullying. Sadly, the effects of such treatment can last a lifetime.
In 2006, PACER’S National Bullying Prevention Center founded National Bullying Prevention Month, initially as a one day event, to bring awareness to this national epidemic and begin working towards a solution. The event took off and became so popular that in 2010, PACER expanded it to encompass an entire month of activities. Today, thousands around the nation rally together each October to continue the crusade for kindness.
Books can be powerful tools to help us see life from the perspective of others, begin conversations, and broach serious topics in an approachable manner. This month, we hope to help you harness the tool of literature by sharing a few of our favorite book-based crafts and activities that broach the topic of bullying. We’ll also include a few ideas for ways to integrate bullying prevention into what you are already doing each day.
Today, we tackle the issue of bystanding--what should you do when you see bullying occurring. Or, a better question, what can you do? Standing up for what is right is rarely easy. This fun and simple craft helps children confront and discuss their concerns about standing against bullying and empowers them with tactics they feel comfortable with.
This craft is paired with the picture book, A. Blob on a Bus, by L.A. Kefalos, but could easily be used with other books on bullying.
I CAN BE AN UPSTANDER
Children learn positive ways to be upstanders
Step 1: Read A. Blob on a Bus out loud
Step 2: Begin a discussion on the importance of treating one another with respect and standing up for others.
Why do you think it took so long for anyone to stand up to A.Blob? What do you think would have happened if no one had said anything to A.Blob? What are some helpful ways to stand up to bullying? What are some unhelpful ways to stand up to bullying?
Step 3: Sometimes people don’t intervene when they see someone else being hurt because they don’t know what to say or do.. Today we are going to talk about some positive and helpful ways we can stand up to bullying, encourage others, and make our community a safe, welcoming place.
Begin by asking the students to offer suggestions of ways to stand up to bullying. Some ideas include:
Expand the list to acts of kindness that students can do to make their community a better place:
Step 5: Hang the pictures up around the classroom as a reminder that the students CAN impact their communities for the better!
Will you be participating in Bullying Prevention Month? If so, share how in the comments!
If you liked this craft, check out these activities, designed to help children be upstanders!
Fall is here and the leaves are beginning to, well, fall! What better time to turn over a new leaf or, as this craft will illustrate, a new attitude?
When it comes to the issue of bullying, children often feel powerless, believing their actions don’t count. However, as we see in L.A. Kefalos’s picture book, A. Blob on a Bus, it only takes one person to create change--for better or worse!
This fun A. Blob on a Bus companion craft helps children learn that their actions matter. As they work through the discussion questions with their parent, teacher, or leader, children will learn the importance of standing up for others and brainstorm safe, positive ways to be upstanders.
The craft itself serves as a visual reminder of the impact that can be made by the actions of one.
TURNING OVER A GOOD ATTITUDE
Helping children learn that their actions can shape their community
A companion craft to A. Blob on a Bus, by L.A. Kefalos
Step 1: Read A. Blob on a Bus out loud
Step 2: Discuss how the bus changed when A.Blob boarded.
Step 3: Make your transformation craft! Remind students that we all have the responsibility to work together to create a safe, enjoyable community and that they have the power to change their communities for the better! They can be upstanders!
Step 1: Color the pictures on the craft template (you can also wait until everything is cut, glued and dried if students find it confusing to color the pictures while they are apart)
Step 2: Cut out all 6 rectangles
Step 7: Follow steps 2 and 3 with your remaining rectangles and lines. The rectangles will overlap—this is ok!
Step 8: Flip the rectangles to reveal what the bus is like with a bully on board, and what it is like with an upstander on board!
We hope you find this craft helpful and that your students feel empowered to make their community a safer, more positive place! For more fun connection crafts, check out the links below.
The A. Blob on a Tour Blog Tour has officially pulled into the station and come to an end. If you missed one of the stops, don't worry--we'll make sure you reach your destination! Each of the stops on the tour to celebrate the launch of A. Blob on a Bus, the second book in L..A. Kefalos's picture book series, is linked below.
If you would like to pick up your own copy of A. Blob on a Bus or the first book in The Blob Series, This is A. Blob, head over to the Laughing Leopard store! Each book comes with a FREE Material Discussion Guide for teachers, parents, and leaders that is filled with lesson plans, discussion questions, and connection crafts designed to help children end bullying and become upstanders.
Making an impact. It’s something we all strive towards, especially when talking about bullying. Research states that 1 in 5 children experience bullying and making an impact on this statistic is something towards which teachers, parents, and leaders have been working for many years. Along with equipping students with tools to deal with conflict and emotion from a young age so that they do not become bullies, educators have striven to also provide tools to those adjacent to the bullying--the bystanders.
While studies show that 20% of children are bullied, it also reveals that nearly 71% of children witness bullying. The encouraging news is that 57% of the time, that bullying ends within 10 seconds of peer intervention. This means that a large population exists which can be leveraged as a force for good.
But what happens when standing up to bullying (often referred to as being an upstander) goes wrong? Like fighting fire with fire, things can quickly go from bad to worse. While standing up to bullies is vital, doing so through the use of violence, mocking, or returning the bullying will only cause more trouble. So, as we teach children to be upstanders, it is just as important to teach them how to be upstanders.
In the picture book A. Blob on a Bus, by L.A. Kefalos, we once again meet A. Blob, the purple bully introduced in the 3-book series inaugural book, This is A. Blob. In this new tale, A. Blob is back to its bullying ways and, for a while, it seems like the children will never be able to ride the school bus in peace. That is, until one brave girl decides to take a stand. A. Blob on a Bus introduces the idea of being an upstander to young readers and opens the door for conversations on what to do when they see bullying occur. The companion craft below is designed to help leaders begin discussions about why it is important to stand up to bullying along with how to do this in a positive way.
The kids will love making their own "A. Blobs" and you will love the learning happening along the way!
MAKING AN IMPACT
A companion craft for A. Blob on a Bus, by L.A. Kefalos
Step 1: Read A. Blob on Bus out loud
Step 2: Open a discussion about the story. How did A. Blob’s presence change the environment of the bus? If no one liked the way A. Blob was behaving, why did it take so long for anyone to stand up to it? What are some helpful ways to stand up to others? What are some not-so-helpful ways?
Step 3: Craft time! As you make the craft, continue the discussion on being an upstander.
Begin mixing your ingredients. As you mix, talk about some of the “ingredients” that create a bully. Why do some people bully others? Talk about what it means to have empathy and why it’s important to put ourselves in the shoes of others. Even though some people bully others because they have been bullied or hurt themselves, does that make their behavior ok?
The school bus before and after A. Blob's arrival. Which bus would you rather be on?
-Images from A. Blob on a Bus, by L.A. Kefalos, illustrated by Jeffrey Burns
Using examples from the book, remind children that the way we treat one another has an impact on them and the situation. We have the power to change and so it is important to stand up against bullying, even when we aren’t the ones being bullied. We must be upstanders, not bystanders!
However, there are helpful ways to be upstanders, and not-so-helpful ways. When we react to bullying with more bullying, the problem only becomes worse. Show the students how when we hit the mixture, it becomes hard and resistant. However, when we treat it gently, it is soft and pliable. Discuss positive ways to stand up against bullying.
If you use this craft in your classroom or home, we’d love to see! Tag us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and use the hashtag #ABlobCraft.
Welcome to day 5 of the A. Blob on a Tour blog tour, celebrating the release of A. Blob on a Bus, by L.A. Kefalos! Today the bus stops at the Library Lady's Kid Lit blog! Along with reviewing L.A.'s newest picture book, Jane--AKA The Library Lady--interviewed L.A. to give us the inside scoop on everything from L.A.'s favorite genre to read to what inspired her to write A. Blob on A Bus.
In addition to keeping up her blog, which reviews books for all ages, Jane is also a children's librarian! Thank you to Jane for joining the tour!
Check out her interview with L.A. over on Library Lady Kid Lit!
Thank you for joining us on the A. Blob on a Tour blog tour! We hope you've had fun, learned more about A. Blob on a Bus and the important message it has to share, and have added some new bloggers to your blog roll. We would love to hear YOUR thoughts on A. Blob on a Bus and to see how you use it to combat bullying and raise up UPSTANDERS! Visit Amazon to pick up your own copy and be sure to tag us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with your thoughts.
Welcome to day 2 of the A. Blob on a Tour blog tour, celebrating the release of A. Blob on a Bus, by L.A. Kefalos! Today the bus stops at the Mom Read It blog! In addition to being a mom and blogger, Rosemary is also a children's librarian who shares her thoughts on a wide range of kid lit, covering everything from YA to picture books.
Rosemary also loves comics and writes about comic books, pop culture, and books for adults on her second blog On Wednesdays, We Wear Capes. Keep up with her on her blogs or over on Twitter at @roesolo.
A big THANK YOU to Rosemary for joining the tour and helping us to share the message of A. Blob on a Bus! To read Rosemary's blog tour blog, head over to Mom Read It!
Don't miss the bus! The A. Blob on a Bus Blog Tour continues Friday on the Library Lady's Kid Lit Blog! Head over there to check it out, or check in here where we will be posting links to all the stops along the tour!
My Book – A. Blob on a Bus
by L.A. Kefalos
They were adorable. They were die cast metal, shaped as yellow school buses, with tiny rubber tires and “New York City Schools” inscribed in black bold letters across the side. When I handed the souvenir to my niece, my sister wondered out loud, “Why a bus?” OK, so there have only been two times I have been asked that question, and, to answer my sister--just in case she is reading this--because EVERYONE gets a Statue of Liberty or an I Heart NY keychain. Plus, these buses were so darn cute. I really should have bought a key chain for myself. I think I will go back and get one.
Not only is New York City my favorite city in the world, and that shade of yellow my favorite color (well, for coffee mugs and number two pencils) but my second book, A. Blob on a Bus, just happens to take place in a bus. You might be thinking, “Why a bus?” to yourself. Let’s just say you are. Well, there is a reason behind it.
And as sure as the day is long, it happened: first the brake lights appeared, followed by the slow, painstaking lowering of the blinking, red eight-sided sign emblazoned with white letters: “TOO BAD,” ordering me to stop and wait for a child to appear from the house and board the bus.
As, I settled into my seat, drinking my morning coffee, to wait for the emergence of Johnny-Come- Lately, I noticed HER, peering out the back window of the bus. She was looking directly at me. She appeared to be around ten or eleven years old. She was expressionless--no smile, no frown, just an empty stare. Maybe the expression was one of angst because it was the first day of school and, perhaps she had butterflies in her stomach. You know those pesky insects that show up to remind you that your future is uncertain. For some reason, I still get them at the mere mention of the words, “first day of school.”
However, the little girl’s clothing--in contrast to her expression--was rather imaginative. She had a bright, royal blue blouse on underneath a cream-colored vest that appeared to have some shiny metallic strips woven into the fabric. Thin blue and silver streamers dangled against her long brown hair. I thought the glitzy outfit was her attempt to be accepted by the rest of the herd. But then I noticed that she was standing all alone in the back while the rest of the pack were seated, paired up according to type inside the giant yellow ark. The outfit obviously wasn’t an attempt to blend in as the others were moderately dressed. She clearly stood out from the rest. “Why is she staring at me?” I thought, as I averted her gaze and looked down, pretending to have difficulty placing my coffee cup back in the holder. I admired my nails as I placed the coffee in the cupholder. I had just had them painted a sapphire blue with gel nail polish. The gel caused the nails to shine much more than the regular polish I normally wore. I marveled at the color of blue, realizing that it matched the stapler that I had sitting on my desk back at the office. The office that I was going to be late arriving to because I was still waiting on a child to board the bus.
When I looked up to see if there was any sign of life from the house, I saw that she was still staring out of the back window at me. A bevy of questions flooded my mind: Why is she still looking at me? Why is she standing? Isn’t that dangerous? Doesn’t this bus have seat belts? Why aren’t all school buses required to have seat belts? Why isn’t Noah paying attention to his passengers? Isn’t he concerned with their safety? Why isn’t she smiling? Is she being bullied? I had already written my first picture book, This is A. Blob, about a bully who wreaks havoc on a playground tormenting other kids. In my research for the book, I had read that a school bus was a hot spot for bullying. Besides the fact that the bully pretty much had a captive audience, there is very little adult supervision. Bullies tend to target their victims any place where adult supervision is low. Yes, there was the school bus driver, Noah, but there can be as many 70 kids on one bus for him to supervise and his focus obviously is on safe driving.
I felt a little helpless sitting there. I really couldn’t surmise anything from the situation. I knew it was up to the adults in the child’s life to notice the signs of bullying. The mood changes, the minor health complaints, the changes in their grades and sleeping habits. All I could do was sit and wonder about the one who wandered away from the herd and was standing there gazing intently at me.
I don’t know why I did it. It may have been the fact that she was standing alone, looking like an outcast, in need of provision, or maybe it was the blue streamer gesturing me to show kinship. Whatever the case, I decided to flash my freshly painted nails at her, one hand, five fingers, palm-side away from her, in some tribal “I feelyasister” greeting. I don’t know what I expected to happen. Maybe she would give me a sign of the duress she was in. Most likely, I was being selfish and was hoping it would cause her to look away and end the awkwardness I was feeling being under the microscope. But she did something totally unexpected: instead of looking away, she returned the greeting in “I’ll see you and raise you” fashion and flashed back five nails decked out in blue and white zig-zags matching her vest and streamers. Clearly her nails were far more stunning than mine. The gesture caused me to spit out my coffee and laugh out loud. Her expression-less face broke out in a huge smile as well.
In the meantime, I hadn’t noticed the brake lights on the bus were gone, as well as the flashing red stop sign. The bus began to move and make its way toward the unknown future. The girl with the streamers had sat back down in her seat when the bus continued its journey. I followed behind it for a way before I had to make a left-hand turn. When I put on my signal to turn--to my astonishment--the little girl’s head popped her head up over the backseat, smiled, and flashed me the five-fingered backward hand wave, good-bye. I returned the smile and the wave, and she sat back down in her seat.
I drove to the gym at a leisurely pace. I was no longer hurried or concerned about getting my full work out in. Instead, I was thrilled that I had the idea for the next book in the A. Blob series. My only worry –would having a tiny pink butterfly flying out the back window of the bus at the end of the story be too much?
Don't miss the bus! The A. Blob on a Bus Blog Tour continues tomorrow over at the Mom Read It blog! Head over there to check it out, or check in here where we will be posting links to all the stops along the tour!
Can one act of bravery change everything--including A.Blob?
It's official: A. Blob on a Bus, by L.A. Kefalos is now available for purchase! We are so pleased to bring this new resource to teachers, parents, and leaders who are looking to start conversations about bullying, empathy, and kindness.
With its beautiful illustrations and rhymed verse, A.Blob on a Bus explores the issue of bullying from the perspective of the bystander, asking young readers "What would you do?" and empowering them to help make their community a better place.
Although studies reveal that 1 in 4 children faces bullying, research also shows that early interventions, such as reading topical books and holding discussions can help change that statistic for the better. Through her writing, L.A. Kefalos hopes to be a part of that solution. “We are all in this together”, Kefalos shared, “children, parents, teachers--the whole community. My book can't end bullying alone. It is just one line in an enormous conversation. But it can start the discussion.”
A. Blob on a Bus is now available for purchase on Amazon.com. With each purchase, you also receive a FREE download of the accompanying material discussion guide with lesson plans, craft, and discussion questions to guide conversations and help young readers learn to be upstanders.
Your bookshelf is about to get sticky! We are so excited to share the news that A. Blob on a Bus, by L.A. Kefalos, the follow up to This is A. Blob, hits shelves Monday, July 22!
According to research, the school bus is one the "hot zones" for school bullying. Kefalos's newest picture book confronts this issue head on. In A. Blob on a Bus, we meet the purple bully once again and it appears it still hasn't learned that being mean won't make friends stick. As A. Blob pokes, prods, and pesters, it seems like the children will never be able to ride the bus in peace; that is, until one brave girl decides to take a stand. Suitable for children ages 4-8, this picture book encourages readers to take action against bullying and shows how one act of bravery can change everything--maybe even a bully.
You can get your copy of A. Blob on a Bus on Monday, July 22! The book will be available for sale here at laughingleopardpress.com or you can pick one up on Amazon.com.
If you haven't read the first book in the series, This is A.Blob, be sure to check it out so you're caught up and ready to read A. Blob on a Bus!
While allowing your child to skip the weeks of summer may seem harmless, it can have harmful repercussions and lead to what is known as “The Summer Slide”. According to this study found on Marin County Free Library's Blog, if they do not read consistently, children can regress as much as 2-3 months over the summer. The good news is, it doesn’t take much to beat the slide! Research shows that as little as 20 minutes of reading each day is enough to keep children at a consistent reading level.
So how do you get your reluctant reader to jump for joy at the thought of reading? We’re glad you asked. Here are 10 simple strategies to keep kids reading all summer long (even the reluctant ones)!
1. Create a Reading Nook
In fact, many children would be perfectly happy with a blanket thrown over a table and a couple of cozy pillows to lay back on! Find a place that is quiet and separate from too much noise and activity and then choose some cozy touches with your child to make it just right! Jill, from Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons, offers a few cute and simple reading nook ideas for every budget.
2. Write Letters
Who doesn’t love to get mail? Make reading more exciting by tying it to something in the real world like a pen pal! Connect your child with a buddy, cousin, or even overseas pen pal and encourage them to write each week. Kid World Citizen offers some fantastic pen pal suggestions such as writing to an active member of the military or to a child living in another country. It’s a great way to practice writing and reading, as well as conversation skills, geography, and possibly even learn another language!
3. Give Choice
This tip is simple, but effective. Sometimes a little autonomy goes a long way. Next library visit, give your child the opportunity to choose 3 or 4 books off the shelf. If the options are overwhelming, try one of these fun library book challenges from Growing Book By Book.
4. Create a Book Club
Get together with some local families and make a book club. Have the kids help come up with discussion questions to ask other book club members or dream up some fun crafts or activities that go along with the book. Not only does this build reading accountability, it brings a fun, communal element to an activity that, to struggling readers, sometimes feels isolating.
5. Make a Silly Game
Reading books is fun, but reading isn’t limited to books and poems. Every day we read signs, products, directions, and so much more. Take reading beyond the book by having your child write directions for a new silly game. He or she will then read them to the rest of the family, who has to do whatever the directions say!
6. Subscribe to Magazine
As stated before, getting mail can be exciting! Choose a magazine to subscribe to over the summer that focuses on something of special interest to your child. Not only will they love finding something with their name on it in the mailbox, they will have brand new reading material made specially for them each month.
7. Get the Scoop
Hard-copy newspapers are getting scarcer by the day, but they do still exist! Find some fun articles in your local paper for the kids to check out or see if your library has a newsletter. Talk about what is happening in your neighborhood and how we read to be informed as well as to be entertained. You could even have the kids write their own newspaper article in response! For the child who struggles to get into reading, getting the chance to read something as grown-up as a newspaper might be just the thing he or she needs to view reading in a new light.
8. Mix it Up
Like we said earlier, reading is a part of everyday life from cleaning to cooking, so why not try reading recipes! There are millions of cook books made just for kids that introduce new words and phrases into your child’s vocabulary--not to mention the math, science, and life skills they will be learning along the way. Pick a fun, new dish to serve to the family each week!
9. Write Your Own Story
10. Go for the Gold
Who doesn’t love a good sticker chart? Set a reading goal, such as 100 books over the summer and for each book read, add a sticker! Together with your children, decide on a fun activity, food, or game that would be a good prize. If the chart is filled up by the end of the summer, everyone gets the prize! To keep kids motivated, add smaller milestones along the way. For example, a round of ice cream after the first 20 books, or a new pack of extra special stickers after reaching the halfway point (you’d be surprised at how motivated kids get when it comes to special stickers!). If your kids are competition fiends, make it into a contest to see who can read the most books by the end of the summer. If your kids are still new to reading, make it a team effort and show what can be accomplished when everyone works together. Michael from The Thinker Builder offers some cute alternative reading-tracking methods if you like to think outside the box!
Let us know if you try out any of these strategies and if you have any ideas we missed, leave them in the comments!
Looking for some great reads to kick off the summer? These first two picture books in L.A. Kefalos's Blob Trilogy are just the tools needed to prepare children for the social and emotional issues they will encounter once school is back in session. Complete with accompanying discussion questions, lesson plans, and fun crafts, all you have to do is read!
About Laughing Leopard Press
Hello! We are Laughing Leopard Press, an independent book publisher from Akron, Ohio. At Laughing Leopard Press, we’re interested in publishing works that contribute to our understanding of this wonderful world. Through this blog, we hope to add to that understanding with commentary on life, literature, and a few things in between. We hope you enjoy the blog and take some time to talk with us in the comments or on our social media sites. Happy reading!
This is A. Blob by L. A Kefalos. $14.95
$1.00 is donated to charity for each book sold on this site--half to St. Jude's and the other half to PetFix Northeast Ohio.