The Gouda Town Mouse Chronicles is a story all parents should read to their children and follows Tilly, a young mouse bullied at school and the confusion and sadness that follows. It shows how parental help and friends can overcome bullying, and provide kids with the strategies to help them triumph over the difficulties they face in the playground and beyond into adulthood.
It's Tilly's first day at school and she's come across a bully called Snowbell who wants to steal her lunch, but Tilly's found a new friend called Lizzy. Join them as they find ways to outsmart Snowbell and see how they get on in life after they've left school. A masterfully written book with engaging dialogue and beautifully illustrated throughout with charming characters that come to life for every child by Aaron Pocock.
Author Lainey Sheldon skillfully puts forward a Grandmother's perspective and account of her granddaughter's experience of bullying at the age of 6 years old, which led to childhood depression and avoidance of class whilst she struggled to find her own circle and place within first grade at her new school.
Lainey Sheldon says; "We noticed my granddaughter's personality fade day by day, she became depressed and didn't want to go to school at all. Finally we uncovered what was going on and her mother, decided to throw a 'getting to know you party' with her new school class mates. My granddaughter ended up making a life long friend (Lizzy Squeak in the book), who stuck up for her at school and in the end help stop the bully'.
'It's also a story about friendship and I hope other parents and grandparents will use this example to help their kids and grandkids deal with bullying at school' continued Lainey. 'The Gouda Town Mice Chronicles' is a beautifully illustrated fictional story, based on fact, which follows Tilly Nibbles start at her new school after moving house with her family. As Tilly encounters Snowbell's playground bullying, including the stealing of lunches and unkind verbal torment, Tilly experiences depression, re-occurent avoidance of school with upset stomach and sullen behaviour at home.
Lainey Sheldon's 'The Gouda Town Mouse Chronicles' is a useful resource and tool for all parents with primary age school children between the ages of 4 and 9, who wish to give their child some further insight into how to deal with bully's at school in a fun and lighthearted way. Told from the inspiration of one grandmother, 'The Gouda Town Mouse Chronicles' is a story which parents and kids everywhere will relate to.
'The Gouda Town Mice Chronicles', is the first book of Three and is available nationally online at www.booktopia.com.au. Lainey Sheldon resides in Noosa Heads, Queensland. Writing has been a pleasurable pastime for her for many years and since becoming a grandmother, she has enjoyed writing many children's stories; The three volumes of "The Gouda Town Mice Chronicles" being the first to go to print.
Her three granddaughters, Steivy, Tyla and Jamaica are her inspiration. Listening and watching them play and interact with their little friends has proven to be a great source of information and ideas for the stories she writes. Stories acquainting children early in their lives with respect for one another, supporting their friends, learning to share, gender equality and working and playing as a team, help explain to children how the wonderful reward of friendship can be theirs when these important lessons are practised in their own lives.
The Gouda Town Mice Chronicles
Sid Harta Publishers
Author: Lainey Sheldon
What originally inspired you to write The Gouda Town Mice Chronicles?
Lainey Sheldon: At the beginning of grade two my granddaughter was being bullied and it was really sad what she was going through. I write as a hobby and over a period of a couple of weeks I saw what happened to her and decided to write the story and then send it off to a publisher and it has been published!
How did you deal with the fact that your grandchild was being bullied, at primary school?
Lainey Sheldon: I was living with my daughter, her partner and the children at the time. I saw it on a day-to-day basis. My granddaughter was a very bubbling little girl who was very happy and she started to change emotionally, over night she went from a very happy content girl to a very introverted and sad girl. We knew there was something happening at school so my daughter went about it carefully, not putting her daughter on the spot and making her tell us what was wrong. My daughter asked her questions and it finally came out what was happening and my daughter decided to put on a get-to-know-you-party for her daughter and invited all the friends from school and it went from there. From there she invited children round to play and she got invited to other people's places to play and it all got better and the bullying stopped.
One of the biggest things that helped was there was one little girl at school who befriended her and stood up for her and when she was told not to play with her, by the bully, she just said "no, I'll play with whoever I like". That was a really big thing and that plays a big part in the story too.
How will The Gouda Town Mice Chronicles help parents and teachers in explaining bullying to primary school age children?
Lainey Sheldon: When bullying occurs, there are no adults around to see it; very rarely do you see adults or someone of authority when bullying occurs. Bullies are cowards and they only ever bully when they can't be seen or caught out except by their followers, which they have. Usually a bully has followers because if they don't follow they are going to be bullied too. Children are made to feel like they are tiddly tats if they go and tell on someone who is giving them a hard time. Also, because there are so many other people around the bully, they feel intimidated. The story encourages children to go and tell an authority figure whether it is a teacher or parent and they are also told it is quite alright to tell as being a bully is not acceptable behaviour. The book gives the children the encouragement to tell, it also gives children the encouragement to stand up for their friends and other people who are being bullied.
The book can also make the bully stop and realise they're doing the wrong thing and it can almost help change them and realise what they are doing and that other people do not respect them for what they are doing. It tells all those types of things to children so they feel that they are within their right to be able to have someone stand up for them, stand up for themselves and also to go and report what is happening to them.
What tips do you have for parents and grandparents who know a child is being bullied at school?
Lainey Sheldon: Simply, sit the child down and say "look, you are showing all the signs of being intimidated or bullied, do you realise it is very wrong and whoever is doing this to you needs help? You need to speak to someone because the only way we can help them is by going and seeing the teacher, the head teacher and telling them who it is, so this person can get help."
How many books will we see as part of The Gouda Town Mice Chronicles?
Lainey Sheldon: There are three; The Gouda Town Mice Chronicles is a trilogy. The first book is out in book shops now and through www.booktopia.com.au. The second and third books will be out next year.
Can you explain the storyline associated with The Gouda Town Mice Chronicles?
Lainey Sheldon: I thought about what I should call the bully, I didn't want to use a girls name because a lot of little girls out there are called different names and if their name is connected to a bullies name it could make them feel bad. I chose to do the characters as mice and I choose to call the bully Snowbell because not too many girls are named Snowbell. I made the bully a white rat, but she is only a very small white rat, so all the other children think she is a big white mouse.
The little bullied child is Tilly Nibbles and her friend that stands up for her is Lizzy Squeak.
It is all in rhyme and there are a few words in there that a bit bigger, not a lot, but a bit bigger than the normal word a 4-9 year old might use or hear. These are a word that they will stop and ask "what does that mean?" which encourages them to ask what things mean; the books are a way of them learning new words. Children can very easily follow the story.
It is also a story that adults will enjoy reading because there are a lot of things in the story that can make sense to the adult and put a smile on the adults face because it has two meanings, in a good way. For instance, there is a verse where it says "Snowbell starts going around the shop and breaking things and suspicion becomes fact that she wasn't a big mouse after all that she was a little rat".
It is showing that if they're going to be bullies they are not going to have friends and anyone that they do have around them are people that are scared of them, or are just as bad as they're. It is a very good story for a bully too, it shows that if you don't live life the right way you won't have friends and you won't be accepted into a social group. It also shows that if you are a bully it will end up affecting your school work; there is a verse there that lets you know that the bully hasn't been doing her homework or paying attention in class, therefore she is behind the others, which is another reason she doesn't like them and picks on them because she thinks they're better than her.
It is a sad thing, for bullies, because they don't realise how much damage they do to themselves, especially when they're young. It starts at a very early age, if they are going to be bullying in the first, second and third grades then they will still be doing it, if they're not stopped, by the time they get to high school. By then, it can get very, very, dangerous.