Another uplifting story about bullying caught my eye today. It is the wonderful tale of a 6-year old girl who is refusing to let bullies control her life.
LaNiyaha Bailey is a young girl who is overweight due to a medical condition and because of that, she has been bullied on a regular basis since attending preK and day care. Her mother, Latoya White, said that her daughter would come home from preschool crying because she was being called elephant girl and fatty pants by other students. As a result, she reached a point where she didn’t want to go back to school, so Latoya says she contacted the supervisor of the day care center telling her what was happening, but the situation wasn’t really handled, and eventually she moved her to a different day care center.
LaNiyaha wanted to help other kids like herself and to teach those who tease and bully others that bullying isn’t cool, so she and her mother worked together to write a book called Not Fat Because I Wanna Be. The book explains some of the situations that LaNiyaha faced and how they made her feel. She also tells how her mother helped her through some of the rough times.
Here are two excerpts from the book to give you an idea of how precious this book is. Remember, this is a 6-year old.
“I always tried to hold back my tears but they came anyway. ‘BJ called me a big-fat elephant girl.’
I sobbed, ‘And they all call me fatty pants.’
My mom would hug me tight and say, ‘Don’t cry honey. Don’t give them the pleasure. People often judge others by how they look on the outside. They don’t take time to discover the beautiful person that’s on the inside.’”
And this one…
“One day my mom and I were watching the kids channel on TV and we saw Michelle Obama, that’s the president’s wife. She said if kids ate healthy they wouldn’t get obese.
I guess that’s just a fancy word for fat! This made me sad. I do eat healthy food, but I’m still fat. A lot of those kids with the president’s wife looked like me.”
When she was asked what message she hopes this book will send to parents, Latoya said, “It all starts at home. You know, you’ve got to teach your kids self-confidence. You’ve got to tell them you love them. You’ve got to really create a pathway for them to be able to come home and talk to you about anything. And when you’re not doing that, a lot of times kids take their anger or whatever they’re not getting home out on other children, which isn’t good. And that’s how bullies are created.”
The book is getting rave reviews from people who have read it already and are being so supportive of LaNiyaya and what she is doing. This is a book I will definitely pick up to use in my own classroom. I believe it is a must-read for any classroom. Who knows how this book might inspire other children just like LaNiyaya? What a brave, young girl!