Former Denton teacher Dorothy Minter’s book series shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, the series’ heroine, a young black girl named Lucy Lou, has joined the growing chorus of voices against bullying.
“My friend Mary Smith works for the [Denton] school district, and we bumped into one another one day and she said, ‘[In] your next book, write about bullying.’”
Bullying has become a public health issue in recent years, following bullying-related suicides in different parts of the country.
While definitions of bullying vary from school district to district, it’s generally considered behavior intended to cause social isolation, humiliation and violence against targets.
In Minter’s latest book, which she published herself through Xlibris Publishing, the author said she chose to confront schoolyard bullying.
“I was bullied as a girl,” Minter said. “Her name was Savannah. She was real tall, and I was a tiny little thing. I wanted to be third baseman when we were playing ball. I was a little runt, and they never chose me to play third base.”
Savannah manhandled Minter as the teams picked field positions, and Minter stood up for herself.
“I jumped on her and scratched her,” she said.
In The Adventures of Lucy Lou: Lucy Lou Meets the Bully, Minter was careful to write a more peaceful response than her own. In the book, a new girl moves into town and starts going to Lucy Lou’s school. She’s mean to her new peers, pushing and shoving them. She trips Lucy Lou. With the help of a ghost who befriended Lucy Lou in the first book, the young heroine thinks up a plan to reform the bully.
“Lucy accepts the bully and gets the other kids to do the same,” Minter said. “You want to put an end to bullying, but one thing we don’t think about or talk about is going a step further, with acceptance.”
Minter spent more than 40 years in the classroom, and said she believes some bullies act out because they feel lonely or unlikable. If teachers and adults punish bullying behaviors, and then children are able to become friendly, Minter said, some bullying would be stopped.
“The bully has many faces,” she said. “It might be a rich kid who is being a bully. Sometimes it’s a girl. And there’s usually a reason behind it.”
Minter said that some students come to school from difficult and chaotic homes, and misbehave because they want an adult to pay attention to them.
“One thing is for sure: We’re not doing enough. The teachers, the adults, we need to address bullying,” Minter said. “If a child is scared to come to school, how do we expect them to learn?”
LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877.
The Adventures of Lucy Lou: Lucy Lou Meets the Bully
By Dorothy Jean Askew Minter.
Xlibris, 24 pages, $15.99 softcover, $3.99 e-book.
To buy Dorothy Minter’s new book, The Adventures of Lucy Lou: Lucy Lou Meets the Bully, visit http://bit.ly/1eXIvpQ.
ALSO IN THE SERIES
The new book is the sixth title in a series. Previous titles are:
Lucy Lou’s Ghost Secret
Lucy Lou and the Handicapped Pumpkin
Lucy Lou Lost in the Woods
Lucy Lou’s Easter Gift
Lucy Lou’s Ghost Gets a Name