One question I get asked all the time is, “What inspired you to write this story?” My latest book, DON’T CALL ME FUZZYBUTT!, was inspired by my son. Around the time when he was in third grade, he went through a terrible-no-good-very-bad phase where he used to think it was cool to say bad words. After all, these were words he wasn’t allowed to say that older children and adults did say. And he’d hear these words everywhere—in the lunchroom, at recess, and on the walk home from school. And once he learned a new word (even a bad word), he was more than eager to give his new-found word a test drive to the great delight of his proud parents.
My first drafts of Don’t Call Me Fuzzybutt! focused on using bad words. In fact, the book was originally titled, Bear Said a Bad Word. But as the book evolved in the yearlong revision process, it became clear that the story wasn’t just about saying a word that should never ever be repeated. It was about calling others names and the hurt feelings that ensued.
Name-calling, use of bad words, and gossip, not only sting in the moment they’re said, but they can cause permanent damage in how children see themselves and how others view them. I wrote DON’T CALL ME FUZZYBUTT! to show children in a very gentle way the hurt that can result from one’s words.
In DON’T CALL ME FUZZYBUTT, Bear is an extremely light sleeper. But if Bear doesn’t get his much needed 243 ½ hours of sleep (to be precise), he turns grizzly. So, Bear builds a brand-new door to keep the noise out of his den. As it happens, one of Bear’s neighbors is Woodpecker. He is a master carpenter with a speciality in real estate development. But lately, he’s been noticing that his houses are disappearing. One day Woodpecker discovers a trail of debris and this of course leads him to Bear’s new front door. Words are exchanged. Feelings are hurt. And Bear and Woodpecker need to figure out how to resolve their problems.
We all have moments when we’re feeling grizzly. Books and activities that promote social emotional learning (SEL) can help students learn how to better manage their emotions. One such activity is teaching students how to craft an “I-Statement.” An I-Statement looks like:
I feel . ..
when . . .
because . . .
Hilary uses my favorite magic marker and often forgets to put the cap back on.
I feel sad when Hilary uses my favorite magic marker because she often forgets to put the cap back on and dries out the ink.
In conjunction with the above, students can collaborate just as Bear and Woodpecker did, by making and decorating their own bird houses. I found these wooden houses at Michael’s for $ 0.99 cents each.
For the activity, students will need a clean cardboard container or pre-fabricated birdhouse, construction or decorative paper, twine, glue and/or tape, scissors, hole punch, and decorating materials (paint, markers, pencils, glitter, stickers, buttons, twigs, beads, etc.).
More information on how to use DON’T CALL ME FUZZYBUTT! in the classroom will be available in the teacher’s guide. Coming soon!
On March 13th at 3PM, Robin will be having her virtual launch at Books of Wonder via Crowdcast. Please join me for the fun!
Here’s the link re the event:https://booksofwonder.com/blogs/upcoming/launch-event-for-dont-call-me-fuzzybutt-by-robin-newman
|Launch Event For Don’t Call Me Fuzzybutt! By Robin Newman – Books of Wonder|
Books of Wonder is delighted to host the virtual event for Don’t Call Me Fuzzybutt! by ROBIN NEWMAN on Saturday, March 13th at 3pm EST via Crowdcast! Celebrate the release of this amazing picture book with ROBIN NEWMAN as she shares her newest book and answers questions from the audience during the live feed! Ages 6 & Up, Saturday, March 13th at 3pm EST via Crowdcast.booksofwonder.com
The first 100 orders will also receive a free FUZZYBUTT giveaway!
Raised in New York and Paris, Robin Newman is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the City University of New York School of Law. She was a practicing attorney and legal editor, but she now prefers to write about witches, mice, pigs, bears, and peacocks. Author of the award-winning Wilcox & Griswold Mystery Series, she’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, National Writing Project’s Writers Council, the Bank Street Writers Lab, and PEN America, CYAB. Robin lives in New York with a motley crew of fuzzybutts, including a husband, son, and three spoiled dogs. She is represented by Liza Fleissig at Liza Royce Agency. For more information, please visit www.robinnewmanbooks.com.
Robin is giving away a copy of DON’T CALL ME FUZZYBUTT to one winner chosen at random from those who leave a comment on this post. Winner will be announced on this blog at a later date. Share the post on social media for a second entry.