NEVER SAY A MEAN WORD AGAIN

by Nancy Bo Flood on September 4, 2014

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NEVER SAY A MEAN WORD AGAIN, A TALE FROM MEDIEVAL SPAIN 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 an enemy, is tough to do, tough to explain, and tough to teach. This delightful picture book shows us how peaceful solutions can really happen.

NEVER SAY A MEAN WORD AGAIN shows a realistic change from being angry enemies to the 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 follows next.   In this charming but realistic (and also quite ancient!) story, 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 advisor), 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 connection to a real life story to the Jewish poet, Samuel Ha-Nagid (993-1056), who was once the real vizier in Muslim Spain. Author’s notes give the adult reader ample information to talk about with a young reader.

Published by Wisdom Tales, 2014.

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