Modern children’s stories have taken in new and more mature subjects, and bullying is one of them.
Yesterday, we talked about writing modern stories. We discussed how children’s stories have evolved from fairy tales, simple fables, magical adventures, and other far-out narratives to more realistic and more educational approach. Even modern fables are not settling for generic themes. The values and virtues featured in today’s modern fables are very specific, and they zero in on a number of issues such as racism, gender equality, bullying, and cultural differences. Words and ideas like tolerance, integrity, respect, fairness, and resourcefulness are introduced in some of today’s children’s books. Today, we are going to talk about one subject that has been featured greatly in recent children’s books- bullying.
Illustrated Books on Bullying
The past ten years or so saw an increased number of children’s books that tackle bullying. Many of these books are illustrated short stories and modern fables. While these are fictional, the stories reflect everyday realities such as school bullying, bullying in neighborhoods and public places. Bully on the Bus by Carl w. Bosch, Crow Boy by Taro Yashima, Desmond and the Very Mean Word by Desmond Tutu and A. G. Ford (which is inspired by Tutu’s childhood experiences), Nerdy Birdy by Aaron Reynolds (which reminds me of another relevant issue which is smart-shaming) and The Juice Box Bully (a story about standing up for others) are just some children’s books that feature bullying. Another author that comes to mind is Alana Konieczka. A Kid’s Life: Loving, Learning, Growing, a bullying awareness book by Konieczka, offers a more comprehensive approach to the subject of bullying and tolerance. In her book, she shares short stories with lessons on respecting people with disabilities, respecting animals, sportsmanship, and why we should not judge people because of their appearance or origin. Just like Alana Konieczka’s works, many of these children’s books are picture books with short narratives, yet they carry so much lesson and wisdom.
Speaking of bullying awareness books, there is also a significant rise in nonfiction books that tackle bullying designed for young readers. These educational books center on ethics, how to deal with bullies, and encouraging young readers to stand against bullying. Some of the titles Stand Up for Yourself & Your Friends by Patti Kelley, How I Beat My Bully by Niels Van Hove, and On the Playground: Our First Talk about Prejudice by Dr. Jillian Roberts.
Books Beyond Pleasure Reading
If there is one thing that has not changed a lot about children’s books is the illustration. Drawings and colorful images never cease to attract and draw young readers even though many of the books nowadays are not about fairytales, castles, and magic. Visual elements are the common denominator of all children’s books. It gives children pleasure looking at those well-drawn images and vibrant colors from cover to cover. Kids will probably remember the book covers more than they will remember book titles and story plots. Creating unforgettable characters is also an element that continues to interest kids. However, as mentioned above, many of today’s children’s books are not written merely for entertainment or to teach basic knowledge. Today, they are becoming educational tools for kids to be aware of the realities of life and instill in them the values and virtues required in modern society. Nonetheless, both modern and classical children’s books continue to entertain and make children learn lessons the easier way. Children’s books will remain relevant for as long as there are kids, and those kids at heart, no matter the form and content.