It's day two of the posts in support of National No-Name Calling Week here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers! What's that? You still haven't heard about this event? So, now I know who didn't read yesterday's post. *raises eyebrow* Just kidding! Really, it's a great movement to help end one form of bullying that touches almost everyone's life at one time or another. For more information and how you can get involved, check out their website. Moving on to the bookish side of things....
I think I've struck undiscovered bookish gold yet again with today's selection. Curious? You should be. It's a great little children's book that encourages individuality and acceptance, a perfect fit for this week, don't you think? Without further adieu, today's book of choice is...
Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun
Lucy has a problem. She likes ketchup on toast and spaghetti in a hot dog bun, but that's not the problem. Her problem is named Ralph. Why? He's chosen to be a bully and Lucy is his target. Having tastes different from the masses is enough to make you stand out from the crowd, but since she looks different as well, she seems to be wearing a giant target for his snide remarks and cruelness. Lucky for Lucy she has friends. Lucky for Lucy she has family. Lucky for Lucy she knows who she is even at this young age and that her tastes are her own...but will that be enough to stand up to this bully?
When I was contacted by Ms. Dismondy regarding this book, I was first taken in by the quirky title. I mean, it's not your usual food choice (well, for Lucy it is) and it just made it a must to see just what this book was about. Add to that the adorable cover art, a facial portrait of little Lucy holding her favorite treat. Her sweet disposition and innocence is captured in her eyes and smile....not to mention a little gleefulness if I may say so, I mean she is obviously about to treat herself to a snack she adores. Looking past the first layer charms, I happily found a book that not only was a pleasure to read (and share) but imparted many wonderful messages along the way.
Lucy shows great courage in both sharing her troubles with her Papa as well as taking the high road when the tables are turned later on in the story, but that's only the beginning. Sharing. Caring. Treating others how you wish to be treated. Speaking up for yourself. BEING YOURSELF. They're all there for little ones (and older readers) to see, read, and understand that it's okay to be different; in fact, it's part of OUR charm. Imagine a world where everyone was the same and nobody ventured from the "norm". We'd never get to try anything new, see something through another's eyes because the view would never change. Without the things that make us different, we would lose so much of ourselves that we'd look like one giant cookie cut out after another. Besides who says what the "norm" is anyway? Us!
As for pairing this book with National No Name-Calling Week, it was a natural...after all Lucy's tormentor teases her on everything from her hair to what she eats. He even goes as far as to fake an apology only to insult her further and on a more public level. This easily could have crushed poor Lucy, saddling her with self doubt and second guessing for the rest of her days, but it did not. Why? Because in this case, she had a wonderful support system....her family, and friends. They couldn't fight her battle for her, but their advice and support echoed in her heart and mind so when the time came to make a pivotal decision on how she'd handle the situation, she made a choice reflecting the values she'd been taught. Was the outcome for the better? Here, yes....in life, sometimes no; the important thing to remember is that you don't have to face it alone. Use your support system and surround yourself with those that make you a better version of you. Keep the positive close to keep the negative at bay.
In short, a wonderful little book to share with young readers just beginning to notice the difference between themselves and others to help build their self-esteem as well as make them more open to accepting what they see in lieu of fighting against it. However...it's also a great reminder to readers well beyond the intended audience as for so many the message of acceptance learned however long ago can get muddled as we travel through life. Share in little Lucy's story and remember what it means to be different in some ways....and yet the same where it really counts.
Until next time...stay just the way you are...and happy reading!