Throughout my life I have experienced bullying, witnessed bullying behavior by others and have been involved in discussions about bullying situations. All of this prompted me to write a picture book series on the topic of bullying. And so, I have created The Unpleasant Pirate series.
This series is still in production, with two of the books already in print. I visit groups of older children (grade 4-8) as I feel they have experience in bullying situations that would generate good ways to teach younger children about it. I feel that what a bully is might not be widely understood and so I created 10 books that help define different types of bullies. I chose to have pirates as the book characters as kids already imagine them as tough and mean characters. I hope with the series children that identify with the mean pirates may learn there are better ways to treat people. And those that may be the victims of bullying can learn some tips to help them cope with the situation.
Types of Bullies" as defined in The Unpleasant Pirates series
I Don't Want to be a Pirate focuses on the topic of Peer Pressure. It will include situations where someone feels they have to do something, even if they don't want to, in order to keep their friends.
Parrot Don't Repeat That focuses on name-calling and using words that hurt people. (this book is now available)
Battle for the Pirate Booty will include situations of physical bullying, where pirates hit and hurt someone so they can get ahead.
Marooned is about exclusion. Bullying can be leaving someone out because they are different, making someone feel unwanted.
(this book is now available)
The Captain's Orders deals with the difficult topic of bullying by someone in authority. This is harder to understand because a leader, boss or authority figure is supposed to tell us what to do - but it should not be in a mean or manipulative way.
Whispers in the Wind deals with cyber-bullying. This has become a greater problem in the more recent years with devastating results. This book will identify some cyber-safe ways to be online.
Peg Leg Isn't a Pirate will involve situations where someone is teased because they are different and how this is bullying. Differences should not be a reason to make someone the butt of a joke or the focus of your anger.
How Not to be a Pirate will focus on what is considered bullying and what is not. I think a book that will help kids define bullying can help them understand if they are a bully.
Mutiny on Board the Pirate Ship will deal with intimidation and control as a way to get what you want. This is similar to the topic of peer pressure but will focus more on a single influence rather than a group influence.
In this book from the Unpleasant Pirate series, which deals with bullying issues, the pirates crash land. The people of the place they crashed try to be nice but the pirates don't want them around. The Parrot however would like to live a different life and flies off to be with the people, who teach him some better words to say.
Bullying is not about the victim, it is about the aggressor. Why people bully has very little to do with the ones they bully. Bullies are often looking for some attention, some control or some power to overcome things in their own lives.
Why do people bully?
To pretend they are tough
To try to get others to like them
To hide their own fears
To copy others who are bullies
Because they are unhappy
Because they don't like who they are.
by Kathleen Gauer
Jamie Higgins has a problem. The new boy in her class, Brad Lugsley, keeps picking on her... For No Reason! Can Jamie solve this problem without getting into trouble? And will she make a new friend in the process?
I think the more we teach kindness the less bullying we will have. Punishment of bullying just rewards meanness with more meanness. Whereas if we spend more time encouraging kindness, offering examples of kindness and teaching the benefits of kindness we can create an environment where bullying doesn't have a place.
bullying.gov noticed that "when elementary students performed three acts of kindness per week they significantly increased their acceptance of peers compared to kids who did not perform three kind acts of kindness.
Students who are taught kindness are more empathic, more socially aware and connected, and they receive higher grades too. Be kind—it is free and the payback is good for all!"
Listen to the story Marooned, from the Unpleasant Pirate series.