Devastating Group Dynamics

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For mobbing victims, the huge disappointment is that the choice a bystander is most likely to make is the choice to not get involved and do nothing. From the perspective of the mobbing victim that choice represents betrayal. The mobbing victim is likely to think that coworkers will come to his or her aid and defense. That they usually do not is devastating to the victim, who valued his or her relationships with coworkers and who no longer feels able to trust them. From the perspective of the bystanders, trying to keep their distance is about fear and self-preservation. Bystanders do not want to have happen to them what happened to their mobbed coworker. The fear and avoidance of the social exclusion at the heart of workplace mobbing is deeply ingrained if not primal.

Overcoming Mobbing: A Recovery Guide for Workplace Aggression and Bullying by Maureen Duffy Ph.D., Len Sperry Ph.D.

Giggle Book Award: Ninja Family

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Every family needs that special play time that just brings the whole family together as a team. For some families it’s a game like football, baseball or soccer. For the family in the Ninja! books by Arree Chung, it’s pretending to be NINJAS!

I strongly recommend reading these books together because the two stories, combined, illustrate the Ninja bond within the family illustrated.

Ninja!

Amazon.com

Ninja! is about Max, a young boy, playing pretend-ninja and causing trouble throughout the house. He wakes up his dad, steals his sister’s cookie and causes her to accidentally fall on her bottom (it was not intentional), which earns the little ninja some punishment time.

Oddly enough, according to the children in my life, the punishment is one of the funniest parts of the book – and it consists of nothing more than a picture of mom’s arm pointing and the little ninja leaving the kitchen, clearly downtrodden, with the words:

I have been shamed.

As mentioned in previous posts, I tend to use children’s books as an opportunity to indulge in a little reader’s theater. In this case, I point to the hand with an ‘uh-oh,’ which is usually echoed by the children because ALL children know what the silent point means. Then I read the words  “I have been shamed” in a very dramatic ‘shamed’ voice.

Giggles galore.

Then the story takes a turn for the better as the little ninja makes amends with his little sister by giving her a costume and saying:

Baby sister, let me teach you the way of the ninja.

And they are off…

Ninja! Attack of the Clan

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Attack of the Clan features Max playing pretend-ninja alone but, this time, he doesn’t want to play alone – he wants someone to play with him. He trying to entice his sister, mother and father, but each one is fully absorbed in another task.

a misunderstanding between father and son leads Max to believe his father has agreed to play hide-and-seek when his father hasn’t even heard what Max was saying. End result? Max confronts his father, realizes the error, and returns to his room with hurt feelings.

This is a scenario most children fully understand.

Then, things change.

Maxwell, time for dinner!

So, Max heads downstairs, looking for the family, and finds dinner on the table but no one around – except the dog who is lapping up the soup. BUT, what Max does not know, but the reader DOES know, is that his entire family has bot on their ninja costumes and taken hiding places all over the dining room.

Surprise Attack!

The entire family jumps out and an epic pretend-battle ensues. First Max takes down dad by poking him in the belly button and tying him up with a jump-rope.

Then he give his mom a kiss and shouts:

The Kiss of Death!

Finally, it’s little sister’s turn.

The little ninja is elusive. She is small but powerful.

Little sister hides from Max long enough to jump on his back and lick his face.

SLURP!

I’ve been licked.

I love my ninja clan!

Between the drawings and the text,the readers theater opportunities are wonderful!

Giggles, giggles and more giggle!

The best part? The family is clearly having a wonderful time playing pretend and bonding through play.

Coffee and Memories of Youth

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Amazon.com

The stale coffee is boiling up but he catches it before it goes over the side, pours it into a stained cup and blows on the black liquid, lets a panel of the dream slide forward. If he does not force his attention on it, it might stoke the day, rewarm that old, cold time on the mountain when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong.

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx

Admiration List: Rex Hohlbein

Rex Hohlbein started allowing homeless people use his office as a place to hang out during the day. This grew into a small and semi-official drop-in-center service where people could come to get out of the weather or pick up needed supplies.

That alone is admirable. Yet, what really stood out to me was the way this project got started because Rex took the time to get to know individuals. He didn’t just set up a charity, he started building relationships with poverty survivors and the network of donations grew out of those relationships. That is truly worthy of admiration.

 

 

Snowballs and Friendship

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Amazon.com

Insane or not, Rudy was always destined to be Liesel’s best friend. A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Note: This book is narrated by Death. The plot occurs during WWII. It is a very good book, with both humorous and serious aspects.

Grandma Is Who She Is

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Wordery.com

That night at bedtime Mom and Dad told me how proud they were.

“I’m proud of you too,” said a voice from the doorway.

“Grandma!” I said. “I’m sorry I told you not to be a ninja!”

“No,” said grandma. “I’m through being a ninja anyway.”

“What?” I cried. “You’re just going to be a regular old grandma?”

“I didn’t say that,” she said.

“I’m going to be a pirate instead.”

My Grandma’s a Ninja, written by Todd Tarpley and illustrated by Danny Chatzikonstantinou

Happy Day of the Ninja!

Giggle Book Award: Ladybugs and Bumblebees

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Image Source: Wordery.com

The Ladybug Girl books are wonderful. I highly recommend reading Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow to children of any gender because the story is about setting a goal, facing a challenge and not giving up – and climbing giant piles of snow with your dog. When I read Ladybug Girl to the children in my life, the boys were completely entranced by the story because they could relate to the adventure Ladybug Girl was having. Yes, it’s a girl in a snow suit modified to look like a bumblebee costume, but she’s climbing giant piles of snow with her dog.

As far as the children are concerned, Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow is about a kid facing kid-challenges; not about a girl doing girl-things – just something for the adults to think about.

When I found out about the Bumblebee books, I decided to take a look at both the origin of Bumblebee Boy in Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy; and his solo adventure in The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy.

Alibris.com

Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy

Of the two Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy was more popular with the children because it describes the resolution to a playground conflict that the kids understood personally.

Lulu (Ladybug Girl) and Sam (Bumblebee Boy) meet at a local park and want to play together but they can’t agree on a game, toy or section of the playground. Sam doesn’t want to do what Lulu wants to do and Lulu doesn’t want to do what Sam wants to do. This leaves both children frustrated and angry with each other. That’s when Lulu asks Sam to play Ladybug Girl and explains that ‘Ladybug Girl’ has superpowers.

Superpowers? Now Sam is interested. Sam happens to be wearing a yellow and black striped shirt, so they decide he shall be Bumblebee Boy and proceed to proceed to save the world from monsters. Quote:

Feeling rather proud for saving the playground and probably the whole town, Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy decide to have a parade on the bouncy dinosaurs. It is a very important celebration. A crowd gathers to watch the parade. people cheer and throw flowers at them.

That’s when Kiki and Marley want to join in but another conflict starts up as the girls start to argue over who gets to be Butterfly Girl vs Dragonfly Girl. At this point, as the reader, I’m beginning to think the book is getting a bit long – but the children were entirely engrossed in the story. In the end the conflicts are resolved and all four children develop a new game called BUG SQUAD!

Through comments made during the story and conversation afterword, I got the sense that the kids saw a very accurate portrayal of the conflicts they face in their day-to-day lives. In other words – this story is real.


The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy

Was also very popular with the children in my life, but it was less popular than Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy because the story describes a very familiar conflict between children, but the resolution is a little less comfortable.

In this story, Sam (Bumblebee Boy) wants to play Bumblebee Boy by himself but his little brother, Owen, wants to join in. Sam keeps telling Owen no and moves to another part of the house to play alone – until Owen finds him and tries again. Both sides of this conflict are very familiar to children and the resolution in the story consists of Sam deciding he’s done playing alone and goes in search of Owen.

I suspect the reason why this story was slightly less popular with the children in my life is because there was nothing Owen could do to make Same want to play with him – and nothing Sam could do to make Owen want to play alone. it ends well, but it doesn’t have the same magic conflict resolution suggestion as Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy. Quote:

“Do you want to play Bumblebee Boy with me? asks Sam. “I’m fighting aliens!”

“No, I don’t want to fight aliens,” says Owen. “Am playing bank robber monsters.”

“Bank robber monsters,” says Sam. “What game is that?”

“Is this!” says Owen.

“Oh,” says Sam. He thinks for a minute. “You know, Owen,” says Sam, “there are bank robber monsters in fighting aliens too.”

“Really?” says Owen.

“Yes,” says Sam. “So will you come fight with aliens with me?”

David Soman and Jacky Davis books covered in this post:

  • Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow
  • Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy
  • The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy

Ninja Brothers Team Up

Wordery.com

This is a story about two brothers. The older brother loves to pretend to be a ninja, but his ninja-play can be both rough and mean as he uses his little brother as a target. By the end, the older brother has decided to stop targeting the younger and takes him on as a partner-ninja.

As I was reading this, the children in my life made comments about the older brother’s behavior, such as: “That is very not nice!” and “You shouldn’t do that!”

I suspect this would be a very good book for families with siblings who regularly challenge one another.

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Ninja plan, Ninja scheme.

Ninja lone? No…

Ninja team!

Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop!, written by Todd Tuell and illustrated by Tad Carpenter

Importance is Relative

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Barnes and Noble

“It’s easier to matter less. To just be what you are—one tiny person who doesn’t really affect huge things like this.”

“You don’t think one person matters?”

I tentatively slide my hand down her spine to settle against her hip. “Maybe everybody can matter that much to at least one other person.

Gold Runner: A Novella of Goblins, Theft, and Teenage Gods (United States of Asgard) by Tessa Gratton

 

 

 

Can’t Fix It, Got To Stand It

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Amazon.com

There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe, but nothing could be done about it, and if you can’t fix it you’ve got to stand it.

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx