Both my girls read this book and suggested I read it too. In fact, they were insistent!
It’s an easy read for adults and children alike and is a great way to begin to understand the insidious nature of bullying from a child’s perspective.
Why I want to help stop bullying and how this book can help
If you have been bullied as a child (or even as an adult in the workplace) then you know how being bullied for any reason makes you feel.
You are constantly excluded from school groups and life at school – or at home if that’s where you are bullied – and locations and events can often never feel safe or predictable.
At some point, the emotional or physical pain of bullying may well start.
Speaking from experience, it’s a horrible feeling and the after-effects can last long into adult life, effecting everything from life enjoyment to future potential.
If you haven’t had a chance to see the movie ‘Bully’ yet – here’s some more information about it – another great resource.
In Larger-Than-Life Lara by Dandi Mackall, Lara is truly larger than life – in some unexpected ways.
She is an overweight child and is ridiculed for this, yet she has special talents which finally open up the children’s hearts in the school where she starts over (again).
We get the impression from the story that she has moved from school to school already.
Lara’s story is told by another classmate, Laney Grafton who is initially relieved when Lara turns up since Laney as up until this point been the class kicking post for anyone with a bullying disposition…Laney realizes after the first 3 days of Lara’s school attendance that she has not been kicked, pushed or called names.
Here’s an excerpt from the book
Lara has just fallen on the floor at lunch since four boys got up quickly and flipped the lunch table (replete with food) on top of her.
And Lara’s (table) crashed to the ground. Trays of food slid down the table on top of Lara. The whole table tipped over, and part of it landed on her. She crawled away from it, pushing down on her green dress, which was covered in milk and lettuce and applesauce and pork ‘n beans.
Wayne laughed first. He was so loud that the entire school ran over to see. Kids shouted “Look! She’s got food all over her!”…And other things that will not be in this book.
Lara just sat there for a minute, like she didn’t know where she was. For just a second, I thought I saw a tear slide down her cheek, but it might could have been the applesauce. Then all of a sudden her smile came back. “I’m okay” she said. But I could see her leg was bleeding.
Larger-than-life Lara from the Spiritual Perspective
What’s interesting also about this book is that Lara has some special gifts. She is a poet and is able to forgive people in the moment – unconditionally.
Later on after this incident she speaks this poem to the ringleader
Joey Gilbert, I’m not mad.
I just think you’re very sad.
Maybe you still miss your dad?
Miss the love you never had?
Joey, it will be okay,
If you try out for the play.
I could help you learn your part.
The backstage crew could use your art.
Don’t pretend that you don’t care.
You can do what you can dare.
Help Stop Bullying – read this book with your children
Larger-than-life Lara is a great discussion medium for adults and children alike. Bullying is a black cloud that floats over us and is passed on from generation to generation.
Here’s one way to begin to dissipate that cloud and help stop bullying.
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