The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand Up for Others
Authors: Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy
Illustrator: Kim Shaw
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The Juice Box Bully begins with Pete, a new student joining the school. He does not want to follow the rules, and he acts like a bully to his classmates. After stealing the soccer ball from some students at recess on his first day, he squirted his juice box on Ruby’s shirt the following day. As Ruby gained frustration for the way Pete has been treating everybody, she decided she would tell everyone to ignore Pete so he wouldn’t make friends. Ralph instantly stood up for Pete, reminding Ruby of “The Promise” made in Mr. Peltzer’s class, in which states that students would no longer be bystanders to bullying, and they would stand up for themselves and others when encountered by a bully. Ralph made Pete realize he doesn’t have to be a bully to make friends, and through treating people with respect, it is much easier to get along with others. At the end of the day, Pete proudly made “The Promise” as he made new friends in Mr. Peltzer’s class at his new school.
Element Four – Social Movements and Social Change:
This book sheds light on the fourth element in that Pete and Ruby were able to overcome their differences. As Ralph spoke to Pete about his past of bullying others, the two were able to form a connection, as Pete could make changes in himself for the better. Through this, Pete agreed to make “The Promise” that all the other students in Mr. Peltzer’s class made. This promise united an entire class of students who vowed to make social change. Rather than being bystanders of bullying, the entire class would work to stop it if they ever saw it or were victimized by it. I feel this is a perfect connection to the fourth element being that the students came to realize that injustice does not need to be accepted, and once we realize social change is possible, it is then that we can act on it.
After reading The Juice Box Bully to the class, I would ask them if they would have stuck up for Pete after squirting Ruby with the juice box, as Ralph did. This question could be discussed through a turn and talk, as I listen to student discussions. From here, some students would share their thoughts whether Ralph should have listened to Ruby and ignored Pete so he would have no friends, or did Ralph do the right thing in sticking up for Pete? From there, we would create our own promise as Mr. Peltzer’s class had done. Bullying is a huge issue seen in and out of schools, and if we can take preventative measures in school to eliminate the negativity, that would be a huge step to lessen the issue. As a class, we would come up with rules that we stand for as a class, and we would vow to follow these rules to create a peaceful classroom environment. From here, I would read “The Promise” described in the back of the book, and the class could see the similarities and differences in both promises. Hanging these rules in the classroom would be a constant reminder to the students that it is important to stop being bystanders of bullying and to try to stop the situation or let an adult know what is going on. If our class created a promise, this idea could spread to other classrooms in the school as well. Through this, students would understand that social movement and social change could happen, regardless of the size of the community who is making the change.