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Hot Issues, Cool Choices: Facing Bullies, Peer Pressure, Popularity, and Put-Downs Paperback – September 30, 2007
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"This is an engaging book of stories that will empower parents and teachers to help kids deal with challenges like peer pressure and bullying." -- Rep. Jim Ramstad, United States Congress
"This is an engaging book of stories that will empower parents and teachers to help kids deal with challenges like peer pressure and bullying." --Rep. Jim Ramstad, United States Congress
"A powerful and poignant collection of real life social issues facing our kids today. It provides a wonderful opportunity for generating ethical and moral discussions with tweens and teens who are faced with the negative influences of peer pressure, bullying, and harassment. I highly recommend it!" -- Trudy Ludwig, Author of My Secret Bully, Just Kidding, and Sorry!
"A powerful set of case studies so interesting that they're bound to get kids thinking and talking about the problem of bullying. A superb tool for opening kids' eyes to their options!" -- Charles Boyle, NASA Alumnus and Author
"A valuable tool for adults who care about youth and wish to help them improve their interpersonal relationships and build a positive self-image." -- Dr. Donald Draayer, 1990 National Superintendent of the Year
"A wonderful resource for developing empathic critical thinking skills that will fortify a new youth culture of kindness and compassion. This is a much-needed addition to children's literature." -- Theresa Foy DiGeronimo, Author and Coauthor of many parenting books including Raising a Thinking Child and How to Talk to Your Kids About Really Important Things
"At a time when we're seeing a rise in peer cruelty and bullying, Sandra Humphrey offers a treasure trove to help cultivate our students' empathy and give them a new perspective. Highly recommended!" -- Dr. Michele Borba, Author of Building Moral Intelligence
"Bullying, social aggression, and harassment are more pervasive in schools than at any other time in our education history. It's time we train our kids how to respond to various bullying situations before they occur. Sandra Humphrey does exactly that in her new book Hot Issues, Cool Choices." -- Gene Bedley, PTA National Educator of the Year
"This book fills a very important need in the bullying prevention field and I recommend it highly." -- Stan Davis, Bullying Prevention Consultant
"This is a book that no school or community can afford to be without." -- Philip Bigler, 1998 National Teacher of the Year
"What an invaluable resource for all adults--parents, teachers, and mentors--who care about the development of kids." --Marilyn Sharpe, Director of Christian Parenting and Intergenerational Ministry, The Youth & Family Institute
About the Author
Sandra McLeod Humphrey (1936-2012) a former clinical psychologist, was a writer and a consultant for the Heroes & Dreams Foundation, which provides character education materials to grades K–8 throughout North America. She was the author of three highly praised books called Hot Issues, Cool Choices; If You Had to Choose, What Would You Do? and Dare to Dream! as well as many other books focused on moral education for children.
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What I loved most about the book is that at the end of every story there are a series of thought-provoking questions that relate to the story. It was very interesting and insightful to hear my daughters answers. For the most part I was not surprised by anything she said, but there were a few topics where her answers made me concerned for how she would deal with certain situations. It was nice to have a heads up on what areas I need to work with her on, and what areas she seems to have it all together.
The length of the stories are perfect for sitting down and reading a few at a time with your kids. My daughter is nine, and she seemed to relate very well to the stories. The reading level of the book was also very appropriate to her.
I would recommend this book to any parent who wants to find a way to open up a dialogue about social issues that may be affecting your kids!!! In my opinion that should be EVERY parent!!!
Luckily, Sandra McLeod Humphrey's has created a new book to help children learn how to stand up for other children and even for themselves in an effort to staunch the harmful bullying that is seen in schools. Ms. McLeod Humphrey decided to write Hot Issues, Cool Choices: Facing Bullies, Peer Pressure, Popularity, and Put-downs when she heard the story of Tommy, a 12-year old boy, who committed suicide because he was bullied. The book is dedicated to Tommy's memory.
Through numerous interviews with teachers, students, and parents, Ms. McLeod Humphrey created a fictional elementary school, Emerson Elementary, and presents over 25 scenarios told from the point of view of children in the school. The scenarios cover a wide range of issues, from name-calling, harassment, peer pressure, rumors, and even suicidal thoughts. At the end of each scenario is a number of thought-provoking discussion questions asking students to talk about what they would do, how the children in story felt, and more.
For example, in the scenario, "No, No, a Thousand Times No!," a boy named Eric is having a Halloween party, and Jeremy, an unpopular boy asks if he can come. Eric believes that if he invites him, he will lose friends, and others will think he's just as "weird" as Jeremy. Questions children are prompted to answer include,
* "What do you think Eric should do? Why?"
* "How you feel about Jeremy?"
* "Do you think Eric will really lose all his friends if he invites Jeremy to his party?"
* "Do you think Jeremy knows how Eric and his friends feel about him?"
Finally, there's a "Trading Places," question: "How would you feel if you were Jeremy and you weren't invited to Eric's party." (p 32)
It's these "Trading Places," questions that I feel are the most powerful. Putting yourself in someone else's shoes really helps others feel empathy and perhaps enables them to be brave enough to stand up and change destructive behaviors.
The overarching message of the book is to follow "the golden rule" and to treat others the way you'd like to be treated. In the author's final note, Ms. McLeod Humphrey states, "You don't have to be 'best friends' with everyone, but you can still treat everyone with respect and courtesy" (p. 121).
In the back of the book, you can also find bullying statistics, online resources, and an afterword that includes more information about bullying and action steps bystanders can take to help prevent it.
This book makes a perfect read aloud for teachers and students and parents and children, and is chock full of discussion opportunities that can make a huge difference and perhaps even save lives.
Inevitably, one gets their behavioral cues from others, who may not really be the best influences.
So, how does one negotiate one's way through this potential minefield without getting blown to smithereens.
Hot issues, cool choices explores all these potential dilemmas in the form of metaphors. They are well imagined, beautifully described, and quite entertaining. Inevitably, one will recognise the characters, and identify, and so I recommend this book, what would you do for example if the cool people wanted you to be in their group, but only because they are too lazy to do their own homework, and want you to do it for them, or they tell you who you can and cannot associate with.
As you get further into the book, it's easy to imagine a teacher using stories from this book in class, and what I particularly like about this book is that the author does not tell you what to think, merely inviting one to explore the dilemmas such situations present, and truly come up with one's own ideas of what to do.
It 's easy to imagine a group of kids or teens, having a laugh reading this book, and exploring the scenarios, then to find themselves making better decisions. The more options one has in how consider a situation the better the their response will be, and the wiser the action.
In that respect it's quite a brilliant book, and quite rightly it has gained kudos from many quarters, including winning a Mom's Choice Award. My wish for this this book is that it be available in everyschool, and read by every adolescent, an ambitious idea, yes, that's how important I think this book is. If that's not possible, at least if someone were to buy this book right now, that would be a good start.
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