Illustrator: Laura Huliska-Beith
Interest Level: Ages 4-8
From the Book Jacket: Mean Jean was Recess Queen and nobody said any different. Nobody swung until Mean Jean swung. Nobody kicked until Mean Jean kicked. Nobody bounced until Mean Jean bounced. If kids ever crossed her, she'd push 'em and smoosh 'em, lollapaloosh 'em, hammer 'em, slammer 'em, kitz and kajammer 'em...until a new kid came to school...
Why It's On My Bookshelf: Trying to find books dealing with bullying in younger grades is often a frustration of mine, until I discovered The Recess Queen. The little girl on the cover looks like the meanest baddest bully you have ever seen. Based on the title and the cover illustration alone, I was sold. As I read through the story at home, I was expecting the book to teach strategies on how to deal with mean behavior at recess. But, The Recess Queen uses a different take on bullying. The strategy is to turn the bully into a friend (and we all know how hard it is to respect someone when they are disrespecting you) with kindness. Yes, there is a moment of standing up for oneself during the story, but it ends with kindness. I really appreciate the author using another child to turn Mean Jean's behavior around. It's been impactful in our K-2 grades. The illustrations are awesome and the kids love all the rhyming. I suggest this book to help children see the bully through a different perspective.
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