PRESS RELEASE, May 2012
Kids are so mean. New book teaches them how to be bigger.
Why are kids so mean these days? Because they don't know another way. They watch people behaving badly on reality TV. They're playing video games that glorify mistreating people. Kids being mean to each other isn't a new phenomenon. But are the days of showing them the right way to treat others, especially their friends, gone?
The Talking with Trees book series for kids says "No way!" Be Bigger, the latest title (released May 2012) from this series that teaches kids good character traits, focuses on an ages-old problem: "You hurt my feelings, so I'm going to hurt yours!" Why do kids retaliate when someone hurts them? It's all they know, or all they have the self-confidence to do. Be Bigger takes the issue head on and through the voice of a wise old tree, children learn that hurting someone else doesn't make your hurt feelings any better.
It's not just bullies who need to learn this lesson. Excluding other kids and withdrawing friendship is officially called "relational aggression" and it's a form of bullying; but friends do it to each other all the time, and it's not likely to be counted in the bullying statistics.
Written for children ages 5-9, Be Bigger presents a realistic situation that most kids have faced or will face during their elementary school years. In this compelling story for kids, when a girl's friend ignores her, the only thing she can think to do is to ignore her friend right back. Just as she decides on her plan, a wise old tree steps in to help the girl realize that what she's really doing is getting even. Drawing on her experiences with kids who played on the same playground generations ago, the tree guides the girl to figure out what she really wants, and helps build her self-confidence to face her friend. In the end, the girl learns to be bigger than her hurt feelings, and to do the right thing for her friendship, even when it's hard. "There's the easy way, and there's the right way. If you want the ache in your heart to stop, choose the right way," advises the old elm tree.
Be Bigger's stunning illustrations by Manuela Soriani engage children emotionally and the tree's life lessons come through with an honest simplicity kids can understand. Parents and educators can also use the included discussion guide to help children explore their own experiences. Talking with Trees offers additional character education lesson plan ideas and free resources at their website TalkingTreeBooks.com.
Be Bigger is part of the Talking with Trees children's book series which teaches good traits like honesty, respect, responsibility, and forgiveness through situations kids can relate to.
Be Bigger (published by LoveWell Press, 2012, print edition RRP $9.99) is available in print and as an interactive ebook. It is available online and can be ordered from all good book stores. For more information please visit TalkingTreeBooks.com and the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/talkingwithtrees.
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About the author
Colleen Doyle Bryant is a graduate of Duke University and holds a BA in Sociology. She'll tell you the great thing about raising four kids is you get to say things like, "It is not ok to roast marshmallows over my scented candle!" (true story)—and because they are a constant source of material for books. After a career in marketing and freelance writing, Colleen turned to writing children's books while living in Beijing, China. Her first book, Super Easy Storytelling, benefits a foster home where she volunteered in Beijing. Talking with Trees comes from Colleen's real life experiences with tearful children going through the tough job of growing up. Colleen Doyle Bryant, her husband, Gregory, her step-children and children, ages 16 to 5, live between California and Hong Kong.
About the Illustrator
Manuela Soriani lives in the same small town in northern Italy where she was born in 1979, among the heats in summer and fogs in winter, near the river Po.
Manuela studied to become an accountant, but Art asked to be part of her life. So she answered the call, found a teacher (and later, friend), and became an artist.
After six years in comic books, Manuela began creating both traditional paper books and animated apps for electronic devices. She uses cutting edge technology to deliver the softest and most brilliant artworks she can, for projects all over the world. Manuela always tries to achieve the best balance between fantastic and realistic in every work, carefully researching how things work and adding details to make her illustrations full of life.
She loves cats (she has two), the colors pink and orange, cooking, salsa dancing, tabletop and roleplaying games, videogames, and all forms of art.