May 22nd, 2015
by Alex Hallatt
I was bullied as a kid. It was rarely physical, but it made life at school miserable between the ages of about 8 and 12. This happens to be the age range of a lot of illustrated chapter books that cartoonists are writing for kids, so when I was given the opportunity to present an idea to a publisher, I knew what I wanted to write about.
Friends Against Bullies (FAB) Club is the book I wrote. It follows 5 characters as they band together to stand up to the bullies in their school.
I sent the draft off to the publisher and had some great feedback, but felt that the changes that they wanted made would make the book completely different to one that felt true to me. I used the feedback to edit the book and make it better and then I passed the book to a couple of friends, who had some great advice to make it better still. Then I passed it on to my cousin, who teaches 8 and 9 year olds. She wanted to test it out on her kids, so they spent a few weeks reading it in class and individually.
I went to the school last week and was blown away by the kids’ enthusiasm. They loved the book, but they also had some great insights that will help me re-write it in a way that will make it more accessible for them.
And they wanted more illustrations. I’ve got a lot of work to do.
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