Book Review: For No Reason
Kathleen Gauer, the author of For No Reason, has written a tale of a girl who is being picked on by the new boy in class.
Jamie can’t figure out why she’s the target of this new bully. He’s picking on her for no reason.
As she is picked on, she turns to her teacher and then her mother for help, but ultimately she solves the problem herself.
For No Reason is easy to read, with repetitive aspects that kids seem to enjoy.
The storyline leaves plenty of opportunities to expand and discuss the situation, which allows parents and teachers to delve further into the actions to take if children find themselves in a similar situation.
In the end, Jamie uses humour to turn the tables on her bully. She ends up not only solving the issue of being bullied but also solves the bully’s challenge of fitting in at his new school.
The response of the adults, however, was less than helpful. That said, real children are unfortunately more likely to relate to these less than ideal circumstances, as it often happens that way in real life.
Additionally, the story demonstrates that children have the power to make a positive change despite ineffective adult intervention. By using creative problem solving, they are more able to find a positive outcome.
For real children who are being bullied, For No Reason can be a useful story for opening up a dialogue with their parent or teacher, so instead of having to come up with a solution on their own, they can brainstorm with their trusted adult to figure out a good way forward.
Author Interview: Kathleen Gauer
This Is Your Second Interview With Abrazo And Coze, So We Already Know A Little About You From That First Interview. Instead Of Telling Us About Yourself, Instead, What Is Something Interesting About You That Many People Don’t Know?
My childhood bully was a girl named Norma. She used to make fun of my clothes in gym class.
Well, guess what?
Last year, I met up with her at a book fair where I was selling my books. She and her granddaughter stopped by my author’s table and we remembered each other after more than 50 years! I told her that I had been afraid of her.
She said, “Oh no, was I a bully? I’m so sorry…I had anger issues back then.” But you know what? She bought both of my books – even For No Reason about bullying!
How cool is that?
I tell children that you never know whom you will meet again in the future so you had better be nice. Life comes full circle sometimes!
What sparked the idea for For No Reason?
The inspiration for writing For No Reason came to me one summer while I was reading in my backyard.
Two brothers in the yard behind me were talking to their mother by their pool and the littlest brother whined to his mom, “Christian pushed me into the pool for no reason. I thought, “That sounds like a great title for a children’s book about bullying.”
And so I ended up writing about a young girl, Jamie Higgins, who has a problem with a classroom bully, Brad Lugsley.
Why did you decide that both children should experience imposed consequences after Brad bullies Jamie?
The teacher in For No Reason, Ms Rosso, didn’t see Brad pushing Jamie onto the floor so she decided to keep both of them inside with her during recess to find out both sides of the story and to help them resolve their differences.
From Jamie’s perspective, it seemed like she was being punished for no reason.
Why do you think Brad was picking on Jamie?
My intention in writing For No Reason was for teachers and parents to discuss this question after reading the story. I also wanted them to encourage children to share their own experiences and come up with positive bullying solutions.
I feel that Brad is trying to hide his feelings of insecurity from being the new kid in the class. He tries to get Jamie’s attention but is going about it in the wrong way by bullying her. And bullies tend to pick on kids who are not good at standing up for themselves.
There could also be other problems in Brad’s home life that cause him to be mean. But then things change when Jamie is proactive in solving the problem.
She decides to smile at Brad for no reason and gets the whole class laughing with her. She ends up not only solving her problem, but Brad’s too when they become friends at the end of the story.
Based on your experience within the school system, what advice would you give teachers and parents of children who are being picked on or bullied?
Teachers can discourage bullying by creating a safe, friendly, kind and respectful classroom.
Bullies are less likely to pick on kids who they are friends with. Discussion topics such as what makes a good friend, what do good friends say to one another or do for one another, etc. are also helpful.
Parents can help protect their child from being a bully by teaching them to respect themselves and others.
Besides enlisting friends for support, victims of bullying can also choose to ignore the bully or use humour to show that the bully has no control over you. And sometimes, the best thing is to tell an adult you can trust and ask for their help.
What are you working on now?
I am working on another picture book that is in its final stages. My main challenges have been keeping the word count down, showing and not telling, making my characters more engaging through dialogue and creating a satisfying ending.
Tell us an inspiring story about you or share a joke with us.
Last month on a three-week adventure to Thailand, I was invited to visit Wanmaharach School in Ban Pong, Ratchaburi, Thailand. After the school’s devoted and caring director, Mrs. Weeraporn Sangpratoom introduced me to the friendly staff and students, I was taken on a fascinating tour of the school.
In appreciation, I donated copies of my books, For No Reason and High in the Sky, to the school library. It is exciting to know that even though I am back home in Canada, my books are being read on the other side of the world!
What did the tree say to the tree that was being a bully? LEAF me alone. (Groan)
For No Reason is a worthwhile addition to a home or school library. The watercolour illustrations by Sari Richter reveal the frustration Jamie is experiencing as she deals with her bully.
The characters are diverse and the posters on the school walls are inclusive (and ironically many depict anti-bullying sentiments).
If you’re looking for a book to help you broach the topic of bullying, For No Reason is a good jumping off point for those discussions.
You can buy the book directly from the author’s website, or on Amazon.
Has your child been the victim of a bully? How was the issue resolved? I’d like to hear all about it in the comments below.