Be a Buddy Not a Bully!

On_Toby's_Terms_FINAL_MAY_2010Be a Buddy Not a Bully
part of the Toby Kids series of books by Charmaine Hammond
2013, Bettie Youngs Books,
Available in both English and Spanish
Suitable for a K-3 audience

“Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.”
— Theodore Roosevelt


New book teaches kids how to be a buddy, not a bully!

August 27, 2013, Plamondon, AB—When local author Charmaine Hammond published her memoir, On Toby’s Terms, about her life with Toby, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever she rescued (and almost returned), little did she expect that her bestselling book would become a series of popular children’s books with her beloved therapy dog, starring as the hero.

In the latest installment the Toby Kids series, Be a Buddy Not a Bully, Toby (and Charmaine) are tackling the sensitive, difficult and newsworthy topic of bullying. The story begins when Toby steps into the path of a dog who bullies him, and shreds his beloved stuffed teddy-bear toy, creating hurt and sad feelings for Toby.

Even though Toby is a dog, he suffers the same fate as anyone who has ever been bullied. Toby has to learn the special skills it takes to be resilient and to stand up for himself not by being a bully back, but by kindness and love.

The language in Be a Buddy Not a Bully is both simple and direct — easy for younger children to understand, but sophisticated enough for an older reader to appreciates its message. Beautifully illustrated by Rose Anne Prevec, the storyline teaches children a valuable lesson about respect, acceptance and most importantly consideration of others, including pets.

By the end of Be a Buddy Not a Bully, it is perfectly clear that nobody ever deserves to be bullied (even though until recently bullying was considered a playground rite of childhood and often overlooked by both parents and educators). One of the most important lessons that the book teaches is that there’s a difference between playful teasing and bullying. Playful teasing does not hurt another person’s feelings while bullying does.

According to author Charmaine Hammond: “This book was based on a real life incident that happened with Toby and it was an “aha moment” for me because I realized that bullying comes in all shapes and sizes and it can happen to a pet as well as a human.

The mission at Team Toby is to improve lives by teaching kindness, acceptance and respect and educators are telling me that this book is a great tool to use in classrooms. Its premise is based on one of the most common forms of bullying and gives young students a forum to openly discuss the normal fears and worries that accompany bullying. After all, the book title originated from a presentation to second graders when one student shouted out, “Everyone should be a buddy like Toby!” And then his friend answered, “Toby’s not a bully, he’s a buddy.”