Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Reading on the Stoop, No Bullies in the Huddle

No Bullies in the Huddle
by Dr. William T. Hoston
& DeSean Jackson

Illustrated by Charlie Neerman

The next children's book for Reading on the Stoop was No Bullies in the Huddle, which I heard about online and later through the Arsenio Hall show with guest DeSean Jackson.  The text is written by Dr. William T. Hoston and DeSean Jackson, with illustrations by Charlie Neerman.  For more information on Dr. Hoston you could visit www.hoston.com and for more information on the text itself or to purchase, the publishing company link is www.kendallhunt.com/nobullies10/.  For DJax the site is deseanjackson10.com.

Overall, it was a cool read... it got a dialogue going for sure.  As we started to read on the stoop, the light couldn't hold up to the evening dark so we took the reading inside.  Below is a shot of a young father (my younger brother) and his son reading the book.  Everybody in the room took turns reading though the focus was for E-Man to get in some time to read out loud and learn some lessons from the text.

I wasn't really feeling the artwork... I've seen other artworks that I think would bring the story's appeal out a lot more.  For example Theodore Taylor's work and AG Ford.  Neerman's artwork in this text reminded me of the type of illustration you'd find in a pamphlet at a dentists office or a Smokey the Bear ad, or a Beavis & Butthead cartoon.  Nevertheless, the message is there... I thought about different ways the topic of bullying could be addressed... whether its bullying taking place in school, on a team, in a neighborhood, or even a child's own household. 

I think the story lacks creative depth we've experienced in other books... but I enjoyed what I thought was one of the book's main purposes to start a dialogue.  It's important to note also, in light of some of the problems going on in sports, this topic isn't only isolated to how bullying impacts children... but the culture of bullying amongst adults too, whether its in the workplace or in situations where adults exert and abuse their power.  We saw a lot of this come up during the Incognito situation and even through Donald Sterling who had a reputation of being disrespectful to athletes on the team he owned.  Baron Davis for one talked about the discomfort and anxiety of playing for a person like that.

In thinking about dialogue, its important for adults to understand how they could facilitate an environment that is free of bullying (especially if they teach in a classroom, have a large family with several children, work in an facility where children are placed, etc.).  Its also important for adults to to take a look at themselves and to examine whether the attitudes and qualities they carry as a person day to day mirror that of what we'd consider a childhood bully.

End of the day, no bullies in the huddle.  No matter how old you are.  

Desean Jackson, No Bullies in the Huddle, Dr. William T. Hoston, Charlie Neerman, Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, Pro Athletes Organization, Reading on the Stoop, children's books, Football, NFL, bullying, anti bully campaign