Bullying is an issue that hits close to home for me. My son is entering Kindergarten this year, but he has already experienced bullying in his pre-K class and I want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I can’t believe kids as young as four and five years old already bully other kids, but it happens. Luckily for me, my son was able to talk to me about what was happening in school, and he had a wonderful teacher who was able to address this issue with the whole class, make sure the kids understood what bullying was, and teach them strategies to deal with it if it were to happen again.
This is a new year, and of course that means a new class full of kids, and the potential for bullying once again. Although I’ve talked to my son about what happened last year, and we’ve talked about what he is to do if someone is “mean” to him, but I really want to make sure he understands what to do if someone is treating him or his friends inappropriately. I was recently able to check out a book series entitled Captain McFinn and Friends. This book series is targeted for elementary children with the theme, “Be A Buddy Not A Bully,” which aims to eliminate the problem of bullying and encourage kindness and friendship. There aren’t too many resources out there that target young children; most books and programs are for middle school and older children so I thought these books would be perfect for my son.
ABOUT CAPTAIN MCFINN AND FRIENDS
Meet Captain McFinn and Friends, an original, innovative, and educational book series designed to promote kindness and friendship for children ages 4-8. Children, parents, teachers, school administrators, and camp staff will all enjoy and benefit from this collection of books and activities which includes 3 hard and soft cover books, an activity book, sing-a-long music CD composed by award-winning songwriter Terry Sampson, and educational materials for teachers, parents and the classroom.
‘Be a Buddy, Not a Bully’ is the underlying theme of this book series. According to the National Association of Elementary School Principals, bullying has become a national epidemic with an estimated 18 million children in the U.S. being bullied each year; negative feelings from being bullied account for 3 million student absences each month. Educators agree it is critical to educate kids about anti-bullying when they are young to discourage this negative trend.
The Legend of Captain McFinn and Friends: In this story we are introduced to the friendly black tip shark, Captain McFinn, who was once one of the biggest bullies on Sandy Dusty Reef. He meets the Undersea Friends who teach him, through kindness, that being a friend is always better than being a bully. Captain McFinn transforms from bully to leader and protector of the Sandy Dusty Reef.
Captain McFinn and Friends Meet Coral Rose: Captain McFinn and Friends go on an adventure of discovery when they stumble upon a new paradise where they meet their newest friend, Princess Coral Rose – The Princess Between the Tides.
Captain McFinn and Friends Rock!: The day Captain McFinn and his Undersea Friends start a band, they learn about more than just making great music. When Bella feels left out, it takes some extra Finn Power to get everybody ready for the big contest. Will hard work and friendship win the prize, or will Tox and the Barracuda Brothers ruin the fun?
Captain McFinn and Friends Mobile App and eBook will be available as a free download this fall for all iOS and Android platforms, Barnes and Noble NOOK and Amazon Kindle devices.
Captain McFinn and Friends ‘Come Along With The Friend-Ship Band’: This sing-a-long music CD is packed with 14 upbeat and catchy songs that young children, teachers and friends can dance and sing-a-long with and find out what all the fish are tapping their fins to! The songs were produced and written by award winning songwriter, Terry Sampson, whose other work includes Angelina Ballerina and Winnie The Pooh.
The entire Captain McFinn and Friends series is available online at www.captainmcfinn.com, and also at the major online retailers www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com. The retail prices for the hard cover books are $17.99 and the soft cover books are priced at $9.99. The music CD retail price is $9.99 and the activity book costs $5.99.
Beginning in the fall, Captain McFinn will introduce S.H.A.R.K. Patrol, an anti-bullying educational program for teachers to educate K-3 students how to recognize bullying, and protect themselves and others against it. S.H.A.R.K. (Students Help Achieve Respect and Kindness) Patrol was developed by accredited educators to prevent bullying by reinforcing positive behavior. The program offers educators tools for themselves, students and parents, such as storybooks, complete lesson plans, puppets, sing-a-long CD, posters, stickers and more. Items will be sold as a complete kit or separately; perfect for any district or classroom budget.
Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from Captain McFinn and Friends product sales will benefit the Captain McFinn Foundation, which supports a variety of children’s charities.
THE MOMMY BUNCH SAYS…..
I started out reading the first book in the series to not only my son, but my three year old daughter and six year old niece. The story is captivating enough to keep the attention of an older child, yet simple enough for my youngest to understand. What was really great about this story is that I could tell my son could relate. When we were reading about Captain McFinn and how mean he was to the other fish, I could see in my son’s face that his gears were turning. After we finished the story I asked him if he remembered if anyone was ever mean to him like that. At first he said no, but when I asked him about how a particular boy in his school treated him that jogged his memory and he said yes. He remembered how that boy would say mean things and sometimes throw toys at him and the other kids. I asked my son if he remembered what he is supposed to do when someone was treating him that way. He told me he was supposed to ask them to stop. I then asked him what he was supposed to do if the person didn’t stop. He said he was supposed to go and tell a teacher what was happening.
I am really glad my son remembers what he is supposed to do, and knows that he should not be treated that way. He is getting much better at sticking up for himself, and hopefully he won’t even have to deal with this issue in the future, but of course that is not a guarantee. My niece, who was staying with us for a few days this summer picked out the next book. She can be a bit of a bully herself at times, so I was glad she was able to read these books with us and learn that it is not okay to treat other people badly. I hope when she goes home she will remember some of the things we read and talked about in the books. Her favorite book was the second one that featured Coral Rose. She really likes books that have female characters, so this was a great book to have in the set. In this story, Coral Rose got help from Captain McFinn and his friends, and you learn how great it is to help others.
Once we finish the series, we have one book left to go, I plan on donating the books to my son’s Kindergarten class. These are great learning tools and I would love for everyone in his class to be able to learn from them. It would be wonderful for us to just keep them at home to ourselves, but that doesn’t help any of the other kids learn about bullying. My son has experienced it and learned from it, and now I would like other kids to be able to learn how to handle bullying as well. Since October is National Anti-Bullying month, it may be a great time for his school to take advantages of resources like these!
We haven’t had a chance to play around with the website too much, but there are tons of neat activities and resources available online at http://captainmcfinn.com/. My daughter will love the coloring pages, and both kids will like playing the puzzles. You can also learn more about each of the characters, and have your kids take the anti-bullying pledge! They also have a Captain’s Blog, where they talk about additional topics such as cyber-bullying and being a friend to the Earth. If you have a chance, I would suggest checking out the website as it is full of valuable resources!
Written by Jesica.
Disclosure: The Mommy Bunch was provided a free product to facilitate this review, however, all opinions are strictly our own!