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BULLY at Ambush Corner Paperback – September 18, 2012
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About the Author
Karen Mueller Coombs is the author of fiction and nonfiction books for children and young adults. Born in Wisconsin and raised in Northern Alberta, Karen is a former elementary school teacher now living in Southern California, where she ice curls and plays golf when she isn’t reading and writing. Karen’s honors include a National Council for the Social Studies Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children, Public Library Association Top Title for New Adult Readers, International Reading Association Children’s Choice Selection, and Utah State Institute of Fine Arts awards. For more information about Karen, go to her website at www.karencoombs.com.
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Rocky, unlike his name, is not a fighter. He is a peaceable, thoughtful boy who is accosted daily by a bully as he tries to make his way home from school. His father has always preached sticking up for yourself, but Rocky is not comfortable with this advice. Rocky is bigger and stronger than his bully but his heroes are Ferdinand the bull and Martin Luther King. Despite the urging of his friend Mario, he is reluctant to strike back.
Just as countless other victims, Rocky considers his options. He even makes a list. Although he is close to his parents, he decides he cannot go to either for help--a frequent response that puzzles caring parents everywhere. Why didn't my child come to me? Instead, Rocky resorts to cutting school on one day and slipping out early on other days in an attempt to avoid being punched yet again.
What sets Bully at Ambush Corner apart, is its close examination of the bully as well as the bullied. Rocky, with the help of his body building older sister and his viola teacher, finally finds a solution that even has his father cheering.
There are no easy answers to this complex issue. If your child is a middle grade reader, keep the conversation going and download Bully at Ambush Corner. There are valuable web links on bullying at the end of the book and a discussion guide that makes this difficult topic more approachable for concerned classroom teachers and parents too.
The book is beautifully written with wonderful descriptions and vivid metaphors. The characters--Rocky's older pugnacious sister, his friend Mario, a Mexican immigrant who has seen more violence than he cares to remember, Tink who is starved for her parents' love and approval--are believable and lovable. Originally published in 1991, the issue of bullying is timeless; the story is as relevant today as then. I recommend it for all middle grade readers.