January is “No Name-Calling Month” according to a coalition that includes Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
The idea seems to be an expansion of GLSEN’s “No Name-Calling Week,” which started in 2004. Barnes & Noble’s partnership with GLSEN will allow “No Name-Calling Month” to be shared worldwide, both in stores and online. The project aims to “Bring awareness to the seriousness and severity of name-calling, teasing, bullying and cyber bullying,” a cause which Mary Amicucci, Vice President of Children’s Books for Barnes & Noble states, “is very important to Barnes & Noble.”
No Name-Calling Week, which, thanks to Barnes & Noble, has become “No Name-Calling Month,” stemmed from The Misfits by James Howe, a book I devoured in high school after meeting the author at a GLSEN conference. The book, intended for 10-14 year-olds, has a message that resonates with people of any age.
Bullying, unfortunately, is universal and thus our response to the problem must be universal as well. Barnes & Noble’s website features a myriad of different books that will encourage dialogue from tots to teens, as well as a resource section for parents and educators. The website also has videos from “famous authors and celebrities about their experiences and thoughts about bullying and bullies.” The site features free articles from professionals that give parents a tangible way to decrease name-calling among their children.
Barnes & Noble, the largest bookseller worldwide, is fostering dialogue at various events in stores over the course of January. Every Barnes & Noble will be hosting a storytime event on Sunday, January 15th at 11 AM.
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes and One by Kathryn Otoshi will be read and there will be arts and crafts and other activities for children of all ages.
To gear up for “No Name-Calling Week” in schools January 24th to 28th, Barnes & Noble will have educator information, lesson plans, buttons, pins and flyers available in stores the week prior. Some local GLSEN chapters will host discussions in conjunction with Barnes & Noble.
As we all know, one week is not enough to end bullying. Most likely one month will not be sufficient enough. Still, the most important thing this month does is afford us all an opportunity to discuss name-calling, teasing, bullying and cyber bullying with our friends, family and children.
Photo thanks to Hey Paul via Flickr