NEVER SAY A MEAN WORD AGAIN !!

NEVER SAY A MEAN WORD AGAIN, A TALE FROM MEDIEVAL SPAIN

never say a mean word again

Written by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by Durga Yael Bernhard

What could be more universal than name-calling and fighting – between children or adults? What could be harder to teach than effective conflict resolution? Choosing to become friends rather than to become enemies, is tough to do, tough to explain, and tough to teach. This delightful picture book presents in story how peaceful solutions can really happen.

NEVER SAY A MEAN WORD AGAIN shows a realistic change from being angry enemies to the “bumpy” unfolding of friendship. Two boys, Samuel who is Jewish and Hamza who is Muslim, accidentally collide into each other. Angry words and name-calling begin. Tempers flare. Any parent, teacher or librarian knows what usually follows next.   In this charming but realistic story (also a thousand-years ancient!) two hot-tempered adversaries become friends. But not how the reader might expect. Samuel is given permission by his father, the grand vizier (highest royal adviser), to punish Hamza: “Make sure Hamza never says a mean word to you again.”

Illustrations are engaging and informative, evocative of medieval Spain. Text is fluid and brief. Arguments and discussions between boys are realistic. All this plus the multicultural connection to a real story about the Jewish poet, Samuel Ha-Nagid (993-1056), who was once the official vizier in Muslim Spain. Author’s notes give the adult reader ample information to discuss with a young reader. NEVER SAY A MEAN WORD AGAIN is an engaging and effective way to begin discussions in home or school about compromise and conflict resolution. Published by Wisdom Tales, 2014.

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