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Ugly Fish + Giveaway: Bullying Series

We’ve all dealt with people who subscribe to the philosophy of “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.”  In fact, most of us have taught those children at least once (Let’s be real, MANY TIMES!) in our teaching careers.  Additionally, we’ve all worked with students who taunt others just to get a rise out of them, right?  Challenging doesn’t even begin to describe the situation when there’s more than one of those kinds of students in a classroom.  We need books to help us initiate conversations with our students about the injustice of these real-life situations.

Enter Ugly Fish, a book by Kara LaReau and Scott Magoon, dedicated to the subject of bullying.   Knowing many kids think it’s cool to be cruel to others, the story of Ugly Fish was born.  The main character in the book is an ugly, big, and mean fish (See the images below for evidence of his not-so-nice attitude.)  who enjoys swimming, but considers his turf his and therefore teases and chases other away other fish who get in his way.  However, one day he becomes lonely and begins to feel remorseful about the things he’s done to the other fish.  A new fish, named Shiny Fish, meets Ugly Fish.  Since I don’t like spoilers, let’s just say that Ugly Fish gets what’s coming to him by the end of the book. 

Ugly Fish uses the power of three to convey make readers understand the kind of fish (i.e., character) that Ugly Fish is.  The main character is not a person, but thanks to incredible personification in this book, he feels human.  Additionally, the book has a very satisfying ending for any kid who has ever been tormented by a bully. Therefore, it can serve as an excellent mentor text for any student who is writing about bullying.

Click on the image above to enlarge.

Click on the image above to enlarge.

NOTES:

  • Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for agreeing to sponsor a giveaway of Ugly Fish.

  • To win a copy of the book please leave a comment about this post, in the comments section of this post by Friday, November 26th by 11:59 p.m. EST A random drawing will take place on Tuesday, November 30th and the winner’s name will be announced in a blog post later that day.

  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment (Your e-mail address will not be published online.) so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address.  Once I receive your mailing address, I’ll pass it along to my contact in the marketing department at Harcourt who will ship a copy of the book out to the winner.

  • Permissions:   Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

62 thoughts on “Ugly Fish + Giveaway: Bullying Series Leave a comment

  1. I’ve been compiling your list of bullying books and forwarding them to our librarian. She just told me she has money from our recent book fair to spend!

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  2. A great message and extra bonus with demonstrating writing craft.I am always looking for books that model the power of three. Kids seem to take this on rather quickly and it shows them how successful they can be by using craft effectively.

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  3. I was just recently hired as a part time fourth grade teacher in a rural school. Since classsized reduction and budget cuts, many of the students in this group have had to work in an overcrowded classroom community that makes working together a difficult learning experience. I was hired to help this particular group which has experienced an overwhelming problem with immaturity and bullying. I am in my third week and have begun a program in my classroom to return value and the true idea of community to this particular group of students. We have an assembly on Wednesday the first about bullying and how to stop it. The book “ugly Fish” would be a fabulous way to enrich and support my community building efforts. I also appreciate all kinds of ideas and feed back from anyone who has successfully created a better (bully free) classroom community. I am a new teacher and feedback is an important part of my reflection process.
    Happy, Bullyfree, Teaching

    Lauren

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  4. Thanks for making me aware of Ugly Fish. I teach in a K-6 building and we are working hard to address bullying this year. We need to read this book to our students and use it to engage students in a conversation on the topic of bullying.

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  5. Thanks for finding these wonderful picture books to address a topic like bullying. Discussing this topic with the students only at one time in the school year isn’t really enough. Because a lesson learned can be forgotten so these books are great to read and discuss throughout the year.

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  6. Thanks for spreading awareness of such a great book — wonderful illustrations compliment a very important message. I agree it is worthwhile to address these issues through literature. I would love to add this one my library!

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  7. Always good to see more literature, covering this topic! I am excited to see this book and use it in my 5th Grade class. Our other bullying books, just don’t seem to hit home. I think this beautifully illustrated text might do it!

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  8. Thank you for sharing these great mentor texts that are relevant to classroom issues and also make for great read-alouds. Looks like a great addition to my classroom library!

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  9. Love the pics in this book – I had come across it before but I am glad to be reminded of it and I have to go track it down again – although maybe I’ll get lucky and win!
    Happy Thanksgiving to all and thank you for keeping your blog rolling – I know it’s extra work amid all that you are already doing. It’s making a difference for my classroom – thanks.

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  10. What perfect timing! I have the beginnings of this problem in my classroom. New student…… trying to fit in……… This book is a great “fit” with our Olweus Anti-Bullying program.
    Love your suggestions! Will definitely share this book with others.

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  11. Thanks so much for sharing this title. It would make an excellent addition to our Book of the Month program which focuses on character education.

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  12. Perfect timing for me as well … I have a very challenging group of 1st graders, with bullying and retaliation already making their presence known, even at this young age. “Ugly Fish” is going on my amazon.com wish list!

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  13. I love this book! We use it in Reading Workshop for first graders! Thanks for the reminder that it is also a great book to teach about bullying!
    Thanks for all the information you share with all of us! What a great resource!

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  14. I have a couple kids in my class This year that would benefit from this book. It looks great. I also mentor a couple kids that would enjoy it. Thank you!!

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  15. I agree with Jennifer K’s earlier comments – addressing difficult topics is always easier when you can refer to them in the context of a book – it can help students see themselves in a way that isn’t too threatening or too revealing (as it might be in a direct discussion) – using literature is a helpful tool to begin serious conversations

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  16. I like to share The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill before the students spend too much time on the playground. This one looks like another great example of thinking about others. And… maybe short enough to keep my mini-lesson from turning into a maxi-lesson?!

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  17. Thank you for all your book recommendations! I bought Guyku for my classroom. It immediately inspired a few boys to write haikus on as blog posts. I have ordered Day by Day too! I can’t wait to receive it!

    Books pass on powerful messages. The more we read aloud and discuss texts with our students we highlight important values and teach them that we can read to find the deeper significance. Unfortunately, bullying is something everyone faces…even as adults. Ugly Fish will be a great discussion starter.

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  18. This post is just great timing for me. I’m having a major problem with bullying in one of my classes. I’ve taught a mini-unit using the film “Bullied”, from Teaching Tolerance (a great movie), but I know the issue is far from resolved. I’m going to look into using “Ugly Fish” to further the conversation.

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  19. A great book for addressing such a hot topic. Kids will be able to relate to this for sure. I have actually had a child say to another that you have to be mean to be cool. Wait ’til we read this!

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  20. Thank you for sharing! It sounds like it’s a great book to utilize in a variety of ways. As a K-5 Sp. Ed. Teacher, I work with students that have varying issues – academic & behavioral. This book seems to meet all the criteria. We can “read” the pictures, the text, practice using thinking strategies, practice retells on issues they are face or find challenging & then perhaps even create our own class stories.

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  21. This book sounds like a very satisfying read. We have some challenging children in kindergarten this year. Finding ways to teach them how to get along is a challenge. Thank you for sharing books that might help with this challenge.

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  22. Thanks for posting this! I think that one of the best ways to address issues that arise in the classroom is through literature. The students are more likely to talk about the issues if they are doing so in reference to make-believe characters. Once they are comfortable, the subject can be broadened and they can begin to reflect on themselves and notice how they act. Then, through reflective dialogue with their peers and the teacher, real change can take place.

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  23. I love all the ideas for books that can help addressing the issue of bullying with students. This book especially looks like it would be very entertaining for young children.

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