Book Review: Just Kidding

Author: Trudy Ludwig
Illustrated by Adam Gustavson
Interest Level: Ages 7-10

About This Book: A joke that has a sharp edge to it can cut you to pieces. That’s what D.J. finds out from his encounters with Vince, a smart-aleck classmate whose biting humor is more hurtful than funny. With the help of his dad and teacher, D.J. learns how to stand up to put downs and make healthier friendship choices.

A beautifully illustrated story, Just Kidding captures the truth of harmful teasing when children hide behind the words “just kidding” after treating others in embarrassing, hurtful or mean-spirited ways.

A great resource for children and all who work with them, Just Kidding includes useful tips, discussion questions and additional information to help young readers understand that one-sided fun really isn't much fun after all.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: What a fantastic book. I don't know how many times I have heard after a put down has been delivered, 'I was just kidding!' or 'I was just playin'!' I have used Just Kidding in multiple fashions. It's a great book to help students not be targets. We've got too many students out there who are not aware they are purposely being targeted. It's also a great way to 'call out' those kids who are using the words 'just kidding' to get out of trouble and not have to apologize. In one class discussion, the kids decided that saying 'Just Kidding' to someone is a double put down. They are so right on, kids are smart! I also like how the father role plays strategies that are similar to the book Simon's Hook. This is another Trudy Ludwig HIT with kids, to your shelf pronto!

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