Franklin Countys First News

Picture book combats childhood bullying

SOLON - In the third book in the Clipper Maine Island Labrador puppy series, Clipper and the Village Park Bully, our hero visits the village park for the first time. Excited to make new friends, he soon discovers he has a lot in common with other puppies. Then the park bully snarls at him and . . .

Clipper’s author, Anita de Laguna Haviland, takes on the bully in the park to help children and parents deal with this serious problem. Being bullied as a child can have harmful, long-term consequences, like being stunted emotionally and socially.

“I couldn’t sit by hearing about all the bully situations in our schools across America. I hope Clipper and the Village Park Bully will show children that there are answers to their situations, that they are not alone, and most importantly that people do care.”

“Everyone has a role to play in combating the epidemic of childhood bullying. I hope my paintings will connect with children so they know they are loved and important to us all,” said watercolor artist Ramona du Houx.

Nine out of 10 elementary school kids have been subjected to physical or psychological bullying by their peers, while six in 10 have been bullies themselves, according to a new study.

"The results show that even going down to young ages, we have very high levels of bullying and victimization," said study lead author Dr. Thomas P. Tarshis, who conducted the research while with the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at Stanford University Medical Center. The findings were published in the April 2017 issue of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

The Clipper series focuses on a sweet Labrador puppy who loves to get into mischief. His adventures on a Maine island reflect incidents everyone’s child somehow manages to get into. If we think far enough back, we got into them too. How Clipper solves situations, how those around him help or not provides direction—as a great picture book can do. All the while, this adorable puppy warms everyone’s heart and soul.

“These stories are based in experience. Our loving dogs have been wonderful teachers,” said de Laguna Haviland, who dedicates Clipper and the Village Park Bully to the memory of her loving dog Picasso.

Du Houx’s vibrant watercolor paintings bring the book’s words to life while inspiring children and fostering an appreciation of art. Studies show early childhood exposure to the arts helps calm children and encourages their imaginations.

“I love seeing the eyes of children light up as they turn the pages in Clipper. It’s so easy to fall in love with a Labrador puppy,” said Ramona. “He’s a wonderful role model for kids.”

Inspired by the visual splendor of the natural world and by children discovering it, Ramona has painted six picture books. Ramona’s photographic art has been exhibited worldwide since 1980. For the past twenty-two years she has worked as a journalist, artist, professional writer and photographer.

Clipper and the Village Park Bully is published by Polar Bear & Company, 8 Brook Street, P.O. Box 311, Solon, Maine. polarbearandco.org

The book retails at $17.95. ISBN 978-1-882190-64-5

For more information please see: maineislandpuppyclipper.com

The book is also available at great Maine bookstores, as well as amazon.com

Watercolor painting illustrations copyright © 2017 by Ramona du Houx. Clipper copyright © by Anita de Laguna Haviland. All rights reserved.

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