Calvin Scott Davis and Anthony Ishinjerro
Random House 2013
Benjamin Brewster did not like school. Every morning he counted the nine hundred and seventy-two steps that it took him to get there. For The School for the Misguided was a place for ne’er-do-wells and bullies and Benjamin Brewster was in their sights, their fists and their feet. No matter how hard and how often he wished his school would disappear, it never did, and neither did those inside. Until one day Benjamin picks up a dandelion clock and blows on it… and wishes on the tiny seeds as they drift away. And even though some wishes don’t come true, miracles happen and Benjamin finds a way through.
Bullying is and always has been a major problem in schools – as many as one in six children is bullied each week in Australian schools and at least 20% are subjected to cyber-bullying. Few families are left untouched. But in this book, which began life as a computer app in response to the author’s son being bullied, written in rhyming text, there is a message of hope touched with tenderness. Drawn without a face so that every child could be him, Benjamin takes the reader to a place where creativity and imagination triumph. And while it might not stop the bullies, it is a strategy to make things a little easier. However, beginner readers may find the all-upper-case font a little tricky.
However the quote,
Bullying is for people with no imagination
should be displayed prominently in every school.
There are often queries on teacher librarian networks for resources to accompany particular topics, and, without doubt, those to address bullying have to be the most common. Here, in this charming book of love and tenderness, is a must-have for you collection. Brendan Brewster might be the hero of this story but Galvin Scott Jones has stood up to be the hero for his son – the least we can do is be the hero for all the other victims. Two-thumbs-up but only because I don’t have any more thumbs.