Bullying is No Laughing Matter

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Millions of Americans follow the adventures of Beetle Bailey, Blondie, Luann, Dick Tracy, Gil Thorp and other top comic-strip characters. We love to laugh at their adventures—and their misadventures. But, as the title of this powerful new comic book declares: Bullying Is No Laughing Matter. This full-color paperback represents a historic “team up” of America’s cartoon favorites, who are springing from the funny pages into this big new book. They’re united in encouraging kids to support each other when someone begins picking on them. National research shows that new forms of bullying follow kids wherever they go—inescapably plaguing them through social media on computers and smart phones.

Some of the comic artists contributing to this book have even added personal notes sharing their own experiences with bullies—or offering brief words of encouragement to kids. This book is a unique resource encouraging kids to build supportive relationships by starting with familiar characters they may have grown up with or will enjoy meeting in these pages. Many of these brief comics are presented as discussion prompts, starting a story about bulling and then inviting kids to consider: What will happen next? How would you respond?

The format of this comic book is unusual. It’s a “flip book” with two covers and two pathways through these comic adventures. The front cover takes kids (and the adults who love them) through dozens of individual comic panels and strips. Most of these pages contain personal notes from the creators of these comics. The “other cover” takes kids (and their parents, teachers and youth leaders) through a graphic novel starring a youthful super hero, The Cardinal.

The Cardinal confronts a seemingly horrible “enemy”—the Warthog—but readers discover that there’s far more to this bully than we guess in our first glimpse. In the middle of the book, Cardinal author and artist Kurt Kolka tells his own story of overcoming the effects of bullying and Camille Paddock, a teen-age girl who has become a real-life hero for her own triumph over bullying tells her story as well. Amazingly, readers discover that the Warthog and young Camille share similar crises in their lives. Kids can easily internalize these lessons about compassion and the courage necessary to help end bullying.

Bullying is No Laughing Matter unites 36 nationally distributed comic strips, many of them specifically addressing the issue of bullying for the first time in this publication. Readers will enjoy colorful visits from such regulars on the funny pages as Beetle Bailey, Blondie, Dennis the Menace, Dick Tracy, Funky Winkerbean, Gil Thorp, Luann, Stone Soup, Mary Worth, and many more. The book also contains a foreword by author and educator Greg Garrett, and a preface by comic strip creator Tom Batiuk.

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