The Weird Series: Weird! Dare! Tough! — Review
It’s Ok to Be Weird
By Luisa LaFleur, The Children’s Book Review
Published: February 4, 2013
The Weird Series: Weird! Dare! Tough!
By Erin Frankel; Illustrated by Paula Heaphy
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 40-42 pages each
Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing
What to expect: A three-book series that tells the story of a ongoing case of bullying from three different perspectives; what to do in these situations; activities for kids and information for parents
The Weird Series tackles the ongoing problem of bullying in our schools. It is a unique three-book series that aims to change how we view bullying, those who do the bullying, those who are bullied and those who stand by and watch. Each book in the series tells the same story from a different perspective and in each, we can identify with the main character and the situation.
In Weird! we meet Luisa, a young girl who is often teased and called weird by a classmate, Sam. The thing is, Luisa isn’t really weird. She’s just being herself. Luisa’s initial reaction to the teasing is to withdraw and try to stay out of Sam’s way but this doesn’t make her feel good about herself at all. With the support of her friends and family and teachers, she is able to resist the teasing and get back to being herself.
In Dare! we meet Jayla, a friend of Luisa’s who is intimidated by Sam. Although Jayla knows first hand how painful Sam’s barbs can be, she stands by at first when Sam begins picking on Luisa. Jayla eventually dares to stand up for Luisa but it takes reflection and guidance from her family and friends.
In Tough! we meet Sam, who believes that in order to fit in at school, everyone needs to be tough. She starts picking on Luisa but is eventually confronted by a concerned teacher. She begins to rethink her treatment of others only after she realizes that it feels better to have a friend than to pick on her classmates.
The Weird! series encourages children that are being bullied to stand up for themselves. It encourages bystanders to act when they see something bad happening and it encourages children who are bullying others to reassess their actions and motivations. Most importantly however, it encourages all of us to empathize with all three sets of children.
A Leader’s Guide to the Weird series available as a free download. Written by author Erin Frankel, the leader’s guide contains discussion questions, activities, and suggestions to help use the series in a classroom, counseling, or after-school setting.