Bullying is happening in schools more often than we’d like to admit. Not only do we need to teach our students what bullying is (and isn’t), but we need to ensure our students have the skills and strategies to stand up to bullies. Julia Cook has recently updated her book Bully B.E.A.N.S. Not only does this book help children identify bullying, but it offers strategies for those who are targets and bystanders. I have a few activities you can pair with this story, too.
I received a copy of this book from the National Center for Youth Issues (NCYI) in exchange for an honest review.
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All About Bully B.E.A.N.S.
As I mentioned, this book has been recently updated with new artwork and a shorter format to help hold the attention of younger readers. This book has also changed the main character from Bobbette to Mean Maxine. Let’s take a closer look.
Maxine liked to pick on kids…especially Winston. Winston is the smartest kid in our whole school. Maxine made him do all of her homework and give her all of his lunch money. Maxine liked to make Winston cry…then she’d call him a crybaby.
“If you don’t do exactly what I tell you to, I’ll knock you into next week!”
Nobody liked the way Maxine treated Winston, but we were too afraid to do anything about it.
In this story, the narrator explains that Maxine doesn’t have any real friends. Everyone pretends to like her so she won’t be mean to them. She even goes to Maxine’s house because she was too afraid to say no.
While at Maxine’s house, she witnesses Maxine’s brother bullying her. She starts to wonder if that could be the reason Maxine bullies other kids.
When she gets home, she talks to a trusted adult, her mom. That’s when she learns about Bully Beans.
She also learns a few strategies she can try next time she sees Maxine acting like a bully.
Together, the kids take a stand against Maxine and her bully behavior.
I did appreciate that the narrator admits that even though Maxine has changed, she still may not become a real friend. The book shows them being kind to one another which is a more realistic expectation.
I truly believe that Julia Cook not only understands the issues students face in classrooms today, but she has a special way of teaching students the skills and strategies needed to tackle these tough topics through her books. Bully B.E.A.N.S. not only helps students identify bullying, but it offers clear strategies that students can use whether they find themselves to be the target or a bystander. This book would be a great addition to your school or classroom library!
Bully B.E.A.N.S. Activities
I have put together a few activities you can use after reading Bully B.E.A.N.S. This first is a series of discussion questions to help guide your students through the story. You can also use these questions to check for comprehension.
Since this story teaches children how to stand up against bullying, I have included this writing template. As a class, you can brainstorm the different ways students can stand up to bullying. Students can choose one to write about.
You can find all of these activities for Bully B.E.A.N.S. here.
If you enjoy this resource, you might also like these book activities.