Book Title: Sophia Writes to Her Bully by Dr. Mildred D. Peyton, with Leah N. Peyton and Jada L. Peyton
Illustrator: Andy Hoang
Category: Children's fiction, 24 pages
Genre: Education, Social Skills & School Life
Release date: February 21, 2017
Tour dates: Oct 8 to 26 2018
Content Rating: G
Sophia experiences verbal and social (also referred to as relational) bullying from her classmates during recess. Whenever Sophia attempts to play with a group of students from her fourth-grade class, she is rejected; Amber also calls her an inappropriate name. Only when Sophia takes action by confronting her bully with a letter does her victimization finally end. Want to know what Sophia was being called and how her classmates treated her? Read Sophia Writes to Her Bully and find out what her letter is all about!
Social exclusion is a form of bullying experienced by some children. When it occurs, they feel isolated, alone, and humiliated. It is important for parents to be informed and talk with their children about all types of bullying (e.g., verbal, physical, social/relational, and cyberbullying) so they are better equipped to intervene or prevent their child from bullying others or being a victim of bullying.
Bullying is a topic that parents should take seriously and know how to handle because it is one of the hardest things to experience, both for the child and the parent. A parent must be their child's advocate and help equip their child with the right tools to deal with bullying. As both a parent and a special care counselor who worked in several elementary schools, this is a topic I've had to deal with.
In Sophia Writes to Her Bully, we read about a young girl with a problem. Sophia wants to be friends with a group of kids who do not want to play with her. Her mother listens to her and comes up with an idea for a solution: write a letter to the ringleader Amber. The letter itself is good in that Sophia focuses on how Amber's actions make her feel rather than take on an accusatory tone. It gives Amber insight into how her behavior affects Sophia.
In this story, the letter works and Sophia is invited to play with the group. I liked that Sophia was encouraged to be proactive in finding a solution, although this particular solution may not work with every bullying scenario. Letting Amber know through a letter about how she felt, was an excellent way for Sophia to open up in a different way about her problem.
The teacher's advice to ignore the bullies and to make new friends was good, however, not acknowledged by the mother as an alternate solution if the letter did not work. For this reason, I believe the story could have been better fleshed out since bullying rarely has an easy and quick solution. According to the story, Sophia tried to play with this group of four children "every day", and "day after day, she'd try again to play with them." It was Sophia who sought out these kids who then rejected her, rather than the other way around, where a child tries to avoid the group of kids who seek to bully him or her.
Out of the whole class, why did Sophia insist on wanting to play with these four kids? What about all the other kids in the classroom? Were there other kids in her class who were lonely like her and could use a friend? Sometimes, there will be groups of kids who are mean and do not want to have another kid join their clique. Or they might just not want to feel forced to play with a kid they don't like. Realistically, there will be times when our kids will want to be friends with kids who want nothing to do with them. And because children are immature, they will resort to mean tactics to make that child leave them alone.
Overall, this book offers a good idea on how to deal with a bullying situation. It's a book that parents can use with their children to open up the conversation on how to best deal with bullying. We need to keep the conversation going, so books like this one are important. The illustrations are age-appropriate and the author includes tips for students, parents and school personnel at the back of the book as well as links to helpful resources for parents.
To read reviews, please visit Dr. Mildren Peyton's page on iRead Book Tours.
Dr. Mildred Peyton is the President and Founder of Peyton Consulting, LLC. Dr. Peyton established her consulting firm, which was initially geared towards school bullying services, in March 2016. She was inspired to create Peyton Consulting and become a children's author on bullying after completing her doctoral research study entitled, "Exploring the Meaning of School Bullying Among Parents of Victimized Children."
During her undergraduate internship in 2002-2003 at Salisbury Middle School in Wicomico County, Dr. Peyton and her team developed and facilitated a mentoring program, providing one-on-one conflict resolution and mediating skills to students who were identified by the program coordinator with ongoing needs of behavioral issues. One of the key/primary areas Dr. Peyton and the other mentors focused on was educating and addressing bullying issues with bullies and victims. And in her graduate program, Dr. Peyton also facilitated a school bullying focus group in 2005 at Maryvale Elementary School in Montgomery County, to teach participants about bullying behaviors and how to avoid bullying others. She also attended several bullying workshops to learn about the latest studies while working with the students. Her passion on this topic followed her even as she served as a member on the Committee on Hate/Violence at Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, in 2013. There she developed a brochure for students and parents for the annual bullying symposium and, provided rich knowledge and skills on this topic throughout the year.
Today, the company has expanded its services to target workplace bullying as well. With the experiences of others and Dr. Peyton's personal experience with adult bullying in the workplace (which caused her to resign from her employer in 2016), she believes attention, guidance, and solutions are also critical in this area. Dr. Peyton holds a Ph.D. in Human and Social Services with a concentration in Social Policy Analysis & Planning. She has a Bachelor's degree in Social Work and Sociology and a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology. Dr. Peyton is committed to using her knowledge and skills to influence positive change among students and adults.
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