Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Adam Gustavson
Just Kidding captures the anguish young people endure when a ‘friend’ begins to bully them.
In this story it starts on the playground, choosing up sides, and some of the others call D.J. a loser. They say they are joking, but it doesn’t feel funny to D.J. and he leaves the game. He begins to see how his friend Vince often makes fun of him in front of the other kids and teases him beyond what’s comfortable. Angry and hurt, he holes up in his tree house. His father offers help, but D.J. is hurting too much. Eventually D.J. is willing to play catch with his father and soon he shares what’s been going on. In this case, his father helps ‘train’ D.J. to stand up to his tormenter. When D.J. witnesses another classmate being bullied on the bus, he diverts the bullying.
When the bullying continues, D.J. and his father asked for advice from his teacher, and she explains, “Vince has somehow learned that it’s okay to say and do hurtful things to people.” D.J. follows her advice and eventually Vince just doesn’t want to hang around D.J. and D.J. finds other friends.
Author Trudy Ludwig has several books on bullying worth checking out, including “Better Than You”, “My Secret Bully” and a comprehensive manual for kids, “Confessions of a Former Bully”, which won numerous awards, including, Mom’s Choice Gold Award and “Teens Read Too” Gold Star Award for Excellence.