Trouble Talk

Trouble Talk102508207Trouble Talk

Trudy Ludwig, author

Mikela Prevost, illustrator

Random House, 2008

Suitable for:  Ages 7-9

Themes: Gossip, Lies, Rumors, Relational Aggression, Trust

Opening/Brief Synopsis:  “I know a girl who has a really big mouth.  Her name is Bailey.  Big Mouth Bailey.  She doesn’t know I’ve called  her that because I’ve never said it out loud.  But that’s what I think.”  Maya and Bailey are friends until they attend a sleepover at Keisha’s house and Bailey makes a hurtful and embarrassing comment to Keisha.  Over weeks Maya observes Bailey spreading rumors, interfering and causing trouble for many other children.  Things get out of hand when Bailey spreads a false rumor that Maya’s parents are getting a divorce.  Maya is hurt and talks with her school counselor.   As Maya learns first hand, spreading rumors, saying hurtful things and sharing someone’s private information only leads to trouble.

Why I like this book:  Trudy Ludwig has written an important book that older elementary kids will easily relate to.  Mikela Prevost’s colorful  illustrations show a lot of emotion, expression and enhance the story.  Gossiping and spreading rumors is a big problem among kids.  Although the ending is optimistic, Maya isn’t sure she will be able to trust Bailey.  I was pleased that Ludwig shows that Bailey’s actions has consequences, and she has to learn how to respect others.  I especially like her use of words “trouble talk” and “‘friendship-tug-of-war.”  Kids get stuck in the middle with bullying or relational aggression.  I highly recommend this book to teachers, school counselors and parents.

Resources:  There is a wonderful Forward in the beginning of the book from a psychologist.  And, there is an Author’s Note, Questions for Discussion and more resources at the end.  There is plenty of information for a classroom discussion.  Visit Trudy Ludwig at her website.  She has recently written  a Wonder Lessons Guide for Random House about bullying.  A great tool for teachers and parents to use during National Bullying Prevention Month.  You may also want to check out the National Bullying Prevention Center.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

28 thoughts on “Trouble Talk

  1. This is a great book teaching children about the consequences of spreading rumours. A universal theme unfortunately, but with books like these will teach children respect and hopefully put things right. Another great choice Pat!


  2. I’ve used this one in 2nd and 3rd grade, and the students gasp at some of the cruel, yet very real things that happen. Such a great springboard for a discussion about empathy, too! Thanks Pat!


  3. Another great choice for this bullying awareness month, Pat. You can tell it is for older elementary kids and I do like the language examples you give us.


  4. We adults can all learn from this too…. rumor-spreading doesn’t stop after childhood. Thank you for helping us look at all the different aspects of bullying. We need lots more upstanders to say NO to teasing, gossip, ostracism, etc… whether it is on the playground or in cyberspace.


  5. Thanks for pointing out her WONDER guide for Random House – it was one of my favorite books this year and I am glad they chose such a well respected authority.


  6. Talk can definitely get a person into a peck of trouble. Another excellent book that you’ve shared with us, Pat! A “fun” activity that might help get the point across of how things can change and blow out of proportion is to play the whispering game in which kids sit in a circle, and one whispers something into the ear of the person next to him/her, and it’s passed by whispers all around the circle. The last person says it out loud — and it’s often very different from the way it started out!


  7. I know some adults who need to read this book, Pat. I’m thankful that an author tackled this very hurtful subject. I noticed last week you showcased this author’s book on bullying. Both important subjects! *waves*


  8. Thank you so much, Pat! I put this review on my FB page…and will try to link it up with my PPBF blog. What a great book…many do not realize that gossiping and spreading rumors is one of the nastiest (and sneakiest) forms of bullying!


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