New Book by Dr. Ken Mask, 'Griffin the Dragon and How to Tame a Bully', is Released
New Orleans, LA
The fourth in a series of children's books by physician Ken Mask, 'Griffin the Dragon and How to Tame a Bully' (offered in both English and Spanish text), addresses the widespread problem of bullying in an engaging story about schoolyard antics and the behavior of bullies. Illustrations by Simmie Williams accompany Mask's story, adding a bright, colorful splash that provides visual details of how Griffin and his friends fend off-and finally befriend-the character referred to as the "Bully Kid."
An elementary school playground is the backdrop in Mask's newest book in the series, where Griffin and his friends-Jackson the Hyena, and human friends Cattails and Alexandra-have gathered to chatter about their upcoming summer break and plans for the weekend. As the foursome engages in playful banter, friendly teasing and tumbling around on the ground, a large alien-like bully emerges and begins taunting the friends while they play. He focuses his attention and insults on Griffin, and pushes the others out of the way. Griffin tries to diffuse the situation with friendly comments and an offer to "Let's be friends," but to no avail. The bully, despite a reminder from Griffin's friends that the playground has a 'No Bullying" rule posted for all to see, takes a couple of swings at the big purple and green dragon who fires back-literally-and sends the bully limping away with singed shoes and uttering an apology. Griffin is scolded and grounded by his father for using his "power" and then celebrating his victory to the cheers of his friends. In the end, Griffin becomes friends with the bully (and starts tutoring him in reading), sending a powerful message about the importance of understanding the motivations behind this destructive behavior.
Bullying and poor sportsmanship on the playground are topics that are best discussed with children early on to help them recognize these dynamics, and to foster empathy and an understanding of why some kids exhibit these behaviors. "The motivation for this series was to continue to promote reading in young children and to discuss important topics," explains Mask. "The prime directive for 'Griffin the Dragon and How to Tame a Bully' is to give children a means of understanding how to handle delicate situations and how to provide solutions. Parents and children will get a better understanding of bullies, and what makes some of them do the things they do."
In addition to providing a positive message to children about how to deal with bullying, Mask has also added Spanish text to the fourth book in the 'Griffin' series. "A vital part of what we have done in this book-providing the text in both Spanish and English-is to offer the benefits of learning other languages early in the educational process," says Mask. "The focus on fun and interactive learning is important, and interactions among different species, animals, and humans provides an ongoing theme of acceptance and community."