As my boys make their way through their first year of full day school, they’re navigating a lot, including friendships.
It’s emotionally exhausting – for me.
As I listen to their reports, my heart feels happy when they talk about new friends and interactions. It cracks and feels like it’s been stabbed when someone makes fun of them or leaves them out.
Coincidentally, I picked up the book The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Class by Justin Roberts and illustrated by Christian Robinson.
Sally McCabe is the smallest girl in the smallest grade. Hardly anyone pays attention to her but she pays super extra special attention. She notices, “that time Tommy Tornino was tripped in the hall,” and “She saw Kevin McKuen get pushed off the slide – and the oncoming tears he wanted to hide.”
This book made me think of my own childhood. Not memories of being picked on but a memory of when I was in first grade. I remember leaving my friend Bonnie Jones in the dust for another friend. I knew it was wrong and felt bad when I left Bonnie crying. But I still did it. I can still see her in her 70s long dress and curly, brown hair.
We all have it in us, even us nice ones.
Bonnie – wherever you are – I’m sorry.
Unlike me, the smallest girl took a stand. One day at lunch, she “stepped out of the lunchroom line,” raised her hand in the air and said, “I’m tired of seeing this terrible stuff. Stop hurting each other! This is enough!”
Then, “like waves rolling in, “ students and adults raised their hands in the air in solidarity with Sally.
Things go back to normal but kids are nicer to each other…thanks to the smallest girl in the smallest grade.
As for Max and Calvin, they didn’t comment much except to ask, “why is everyone being mean?”
Let’s all be like Sally shall we?
Where to find the book and other info
You can find this book on author Justin Robert’s site. He’s also a grammy-nominated musician.
I just LOVE illustrator Christian Robinson. He illustrated two of our favorite books, Last Stop On Market Street and Gaston.
3 thoughts on “Let’s stop being mean”
This is another great one, Julia! Keep writing!
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I think many adults should read it! We are a mean society in general I think. Just look at the politics you see every day on the news. We try and teach our kids to be kind and compassionate yet each and every day adults will push down their “friend” or colleague all to get ahead or belittle them socially in the social media arena. It’s sickening really and I to raise my hand and say that’s enough! If you can’t say something or do something nice then be quite! That’s all:)
Thanks Julia again for your blog.. I always like reading them.
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Thanks, Heather! kisses