Sarah Siggs has worked in a range of educational settings and as an SEND teacher and currently lives on a boat in West Sussex. In this book, beautifully illustrated by Amy Crosby, she has created a powerful story around the issue of bullying and feelings of helplessness and victimisation. Aimed at 5-11 year olds, it relates how a boy called Sam comes to experience ‘mud words’ being thrown at him by other children and how this begins to affect him physically and emotionally.
As the story develops, Sam’s family find out what is happening and contact the school and Sam also learns to recognise when other children are also being bullied and how to deal with this.
The notes provided by Pooky Knightsmith provide a useful guide to using the book effectively, suggesting questions to prompt thinking and activities to explore parts of the book more deeply. Some issues raised include:
• Why do children in the book throw mud words? Is it Sam’s fault?
• How did the mud words make Sam feel?
• Should Sam throw mud words back?
This is a lovely, gentle book that would be very useful in exploring sensitive issues around bullying, being bullied and feeling worried. It is a deceptively simple resource, in that it is clear that a great deal of thought has gone into weaving complex emotions into an accessible format.
Author: S.Siggs (with notes by P. Knightsmith)
Illustrator: A. Crosby
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers