No Name-Calling Week was inspired by a young adult novel entitled "The Misfits" by popular author, James Howe. The book tells the story of four best friends trying to survive the seventh grade in the face of all too frequent taunts based on their weight, height, intelligence, and sexual orientation/gender expression. Motivated by the inequities they see around them, the "Gang of Five" (as they are known) creates a new political party during student council elections and run on a platform aimed at wiping out name-calling of all kinds. Though they lose the election, they win the support of the school's principal for their cause and their idea for a "No Name-Calling Day" at school.------------------------------------------------
Motivated by this simple, yet powerful, idea, the No Name-Calling Week Coalition, created by GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, and consisting of over 40 national partner organizations, organized an actual No Name-Calling Week in schools across the nation during the week of March 1-5, 2004. This year, No Name-Calling Week will take place the week of January 24-28, 2011. The project seeks to focus national attention on the problem of name-calling in schools, and to provide students and educators with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate name-calling in their communities.
To say the story was a surprise would be an understatement as I truly didn't know what to expect when I first started. I mean it seemed that all that was going to happen did in the first chapter or two. Birthday came. Pet came. Unhappy birthday boy dealing with the unexpected present. What more could happen to keep my attention for the next 150+ pages? More than first glance would have told me that's for certain.
I bet you're wondering why I chose to feature this book this week, am I right? Well, simple really....aside from the fact that I read it recently and wanted to share the bookish goodness, there is a school bully (Danny Doodlesack) within these pages that is guilty of name calling (and so much more), an offense that hurts the receiving party more than they may know. Benny is given advice from his parents a few times on how to deal with this formidable opponent albeit indirectly since he is unwilling (perhaps unable to a degree....pride and all) to just come out and tell them what's happening. Try as he may, nothing truly seems to work but the point is he tried. Grant it, some of the actions taken were not exactly civil (boys will be boys sometimes...and take suggested courses of action to the extreme) but the intent was the same...to just stop the unwarranted bullying from occurring. As it turns out, Danny had his reasons for taking things out on Benny (it comes out in over the course of the story), but it doesn't in any way make his actions right.
In summary, a great book in both message AND story. From the quirky cover art (did you see the little guy flying through the air by the title?) to the final scenes, it'll keep you turning pages to see just how this chapter of Benny's life turns out and leave you with a tear in your eye for all those suffering in silence in one way or another....but believe me, you will remember it.
|Author P.V. Lundqvist|
Until next time....happy reading!