Ouch! moments: When Words Are Used in Hurtful Ways by Michael Genhart, illustrated by Viviana Garofoli
"What a loser!"
"Move on fatso"
"He's so gay"
"hurry up lame-o"
"reading is for nerds"
When kids feel hurt by the ugly words, other kids who see and hear what is going on often do not know what to do. Ouch moments happen quickly.
That's part of what makes it hard to know what to do.
When Ouch moments happen, who needs help?
The kid who is saying mean or ugly things needs help,
the kid who is getting hurt needs help, and all of the
kids who saw or heard what happened need help.
And then the book goes on to empower kids to try to make a difference themselves, while still offering the idea of approaching an adult for extra help if needed.
The text is strong and kid-friendly, and the real-life mean and ugly words make it come alive. The illustrations are very expressive, adding the narrative flow of a diverse group of kids at school and play, experiencing and witnessing these Ouch! moments and learning what they can do.
Here's an interior spread, where kids can read the pictures as much as the adult sharing the book with them can read the words.
Put out by Magination Press, the publishing arm of the American Psychological Association, the book includes a "Note to Parents and Caregivers" that gives advice on what adults can do when their child is the target of a microaggression or the enactor of the microaggression. What feels truly powerful about the book is that it makes the point that everyone who witnesses an Ouch! moment is involved, too. And, as the book tells us,
"...saying nothing is like saying it is okay to say mean things or use ugly words."
This is definitely a picture book I wish had been read to me when I was a little kid. Frankly, I wish it had been read to all the OTHER kids I went to school with, too.
A note: I met this book's author, Michael Genhart, because he also wrote the upcoming Little Pickle Press picture book, "Yes We Are!" -- which stars a young boy with two dads. That book will be out Spring of 2017. Michael shared Ouch! moments with me, and I'm grateful he did.
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