When a bee stings, Ouch! That hurts!
When your finger gets caught in a closing door, that hurts a lot.
Hearing a mean or hurtful word hurts a lot, too. When other kids say something mean or hurtful, it is hard to know what to do.
Ouch Moments: When Words Are Used in Hurtful Ways explains these “ouch moments” in kid-friendly terms, offers practical strategies for what kids can do to help, and empowers kids to stand up to mean and hurtful language.
A Note to Parents and Caregivers by Kevin L. Nadal, PhD, provides more information about microaggressions, and strategies for talking to children about hurtful language, discrimination, and bias.
Synopsis: Sometimes kids use hurtful words to put down another child. They can be said by a child when they are trying to be funny, “oink goes the pig” or “he throws like a girl.” They can be used by kids to have power over other kids to make them feel small. Ouch moments happen quickly and other kids don’t know what to do. When these moments occur, the perpetrator, the victim and the bystanders need help. Readers will be encouraged to be caring and take a stand.
Genhart uses the term “ouch moments” as a synonym for microaggressions, as Garofoli pictures a diverse group of children bullying each other with hurtful words and slurs. From the expressions on the victims’ faces, it’s plain how much name-calling can wound, and the phrases themselves (“hurry up lame-o”; “he’s so gay”) are incorporated into the images. Genhart clearly articulates how, when bullying occurs, it can be hard to know what to do: “When ouch moments happen, who needs help? Everyone. The kid who is saying mean or ugly things needs help, the kid who is getting hurt needs help, and all of the kids who saw or heard what happened need help.” He encourages readers to avoid responding in kind, practice kindness (both to themselves and others), and talk to adults. It’s a solid resource for conflict mediation in clinical or school settings. Ages 6–8.
K-Gr 3—Published by an imprint of the American Psychological Association, this book on verbal bullying may fill a weak spot in many collections. This text looks at both sides of the issue: bullying and being bullied. Readers will consider how it feels to be made fun of, what to do if they or those they know are being hurt by someone’s words, and how to talk to themselves about words people may say about them. The cartoonlike illustrations are a good fit for the book’s intended audience, clearly showing typical settings and situations and the emotional reactions of those people the “ouch” words are inflicted on. An extensive note to parents provides more insight into microaggressions and how they are aimed toward marginalized groups, a practice continuing into adulthood. There is potential here for meaningful parent-child discussions and for kids and adults to examine their own actions and reactions in these moments. This title is reminiscent of the American Girl self-help books in tone, but for a younger audience. VERDICT People of all ages can learn and grow from the message of this offering. A great addition to collections.—Paige Mellinger, Gwinnett County Public Libraries, Lillburn, GA
People of all ages can learn and grow from the message of this offering. A great addition to collections.
Ouch! moments: When Words Are Used in Hurtful Ways by Michael Genhart, illustrated by Viviana Garofoli
“What a loser!”
“Move on fatso”
“He’s so gay”
“hurry up lame-o”
“reading is for nerds”
When kids feel hurt by the ugly words, other kids who see and hear what is going on often do not know what to do. Ouch moments happen quickly.
That’s part of what makes it hard to know what to do.
When Ouch moments happen, who needs help?
The kid who is saying mean or ugly things needs help,
the kid who is getting hurt needs help, and all of the
kids who saw or heard what happened need help.
And then the book goes on to empower kids to try to make a difference themselves, while still offering the idea of approaching an adult for extra help if needed.
The text is strong and kid-friendly, and the real-life mean and ugly words make it come alive. The illustrations are very expressive, adding the narrative flow of a diverse group of kids at school and play, experiencing and witnessing these Ouch! moments and learning what they can do.
Put out by Magination Press, the publishing arm of the American Psychological Association, the book includes a “Note to Parents and Caregivers” that gives advice on what adults can do when their child is the target of a microaggression or the enactor of the microaggression. What feels truly powerful about the book is that it makes the point that everyone who witnesses an Ouch! moment is involved, too. And, as the book tells us,
“…saying nothing is like saying it is okay to say mean things or use ugly words.”
This is definitely a picture book I wish had been read to me when I was a little kid. Frankly, I wish it had been read to all the OTHER kids I went to school with, too.
A note: I met this book’s author, Michael Genhart, because he also wrote the upcoming Little Pickle Press picture book, “Yes We Are!” — which stars a young boy with two dads. That book will be out Spring of 2017. Michael shared Ouch! moments with me, and I’m grateful he did.
Ouch! Moments: When Words Are Used in Hurtful Ways by Michael Genhart, illustrated by Viviana Garofoli tackles the topic of meanness in thought, word, action and inaction. Through very simple text, the author shows readers how to identify ouch moments and how to respond whether one is the target or a bystander. Key points include:
- Silence equals approval of the meanness
- Responding in anger makes things worse
- Seek out helping adults
- Avoid replaying mean self-talk in your mind
- Work together to be kind and resist ouch moments
- Justifying meanness as funny does NOT erase the hurt
Ouch Moments is published by Magination Press, an arm of the American Psychological Association. Their books stand on firm ground. The multicultural illustrations are engaging and feature diverse circumstances. This would be an excellent read for the entire family; sometimes even adults need to be reminded of the important lessons Ouch Moments strives to teach. This book includes an informative and practical Note to Parents and Caregivers
Why I like this book: Michael Genhart introduces readers to “ouch moments” that are usually directed towards a child that is different. His thoughtful book will help parents, teachers and children recognize mean, ugly, and hurtful words. The language is simple, hopeful and ideal for kids. The characters are believable. Children will learn strategies that will empower them to stand up to insults and hurtful language. This is a book that all children can identify with because they have been on both sides, as the perpetrator and receiver. Genhart also helps kids to recognize their own hurtful language in a way that doesn’t shame. Many times they repeat something they’ve heard from someone else. Viviana Garofoli’s illustrations are colorful, expressive and compliment the story.
Resources: This book is a resource for home and in the classroom. It is great resource for school teachers at the beginning of the school year to talk with kids about hurtful language and share their “ouch moments.” There is a Note to Parents and Caregivers about microaggressions, and strategies for talking to children about hurtful language, discrimination and bias.
The book explains, from a child’s perspective, words and actions that can cause pain. The author tells readers how to deal with words and actions that hurt, and who they can talk to about it. The digital illustrations are full-color, and resemble cut paper. The hurtful things that are said are italicized, and it may take an adult to point them out to the very young. This book is a good choice to share with young elementary children to empower them for the inevitable hurt that comes from peers.
– Grades K-5 – Kay E. Evey – Recommended