Book cover with a girl looking triumphant with her dog. The words reflections and video reading by the authors Rose and Hope McCallum.

Book Title:  The Watermelon Shield

Authors:  Rose and Hope McCallum

Illustrator:  mikemotz.com

For ages:  6-10 years (a good read for all ages)

Topics:  bullying, kindness, compassion, empathy, character development, juvenile self-help

Related learning areas:  social and emotional learning (SEL), well-being/self-confidence, communication/healthy boundaries

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About the book

The Watermelon Shield is a true story co-authored by Rose and Hope McCallum (both real life characters in the book and a mom and daughter duo - along with their dog Ginger!).

The story shares how Hope overcomes bullying at school by developing a compassionate understanding of why bullying happens and ways to handle these situations through conversations with her Mom.

When Hope continues to struggle, internalizing the unkind words from the bully, Rose comes up with the idea and visual coping tool/symbolism of a watermelon shield for Hope to use to protect her heart. The best part of the story is that it worked and kept unkind words from hurting her!

‘The Watermelon Shield’ encourages children to stay happy and confident in themselves, and be kind, empathetic and understanding towards others.

two cartoon kids with a message: teachers sign up for out quarterly newsletter for free SEL and kindness resources
Some of the key learning points in their story:
  • to help children grasp a deeper understanding of why children bully
  • to create an understanding that children who bully often aren’t getting the love and kindness that they need in their own lives & when they say or do things that are unkind, those things are merely a reflection of how they feel inside (in big terms ‘projection’)
  • unkind words and actions have nothing to do with the child who is targeted, and everything to do with the child who is bullying
And to remember:
  • people who have love and kindness in their hearts don’t say or do things to hurt other people
  • always wish for kindness in other people’s hearts
  • always protect your heart and bring out your imaginary ‘Watermelon Shield’ & stay your awesome and amazing self!

Why we wrote it

When Rose came up with the idea for Hope to use a ‘Watermelon Shield’ at school, there was no thought that it would turn into a book. It was just a simple visual coping strategy to help with the establishment of healthy boundaries. It was two years later, when Hope was eight years old, she asked her mom if they could write a book about ‘The Watermelon Shield’.

cartoon mother in kitchen with a watermelon on the counter with child looking in the door
Part of the story from the book The Watermelon Shield

Hope felt very strongly that our story could help many children who were coping with bullying. She wanted to share our strategy so others who feel victimized by bullying could develop a better understanding of bullying behaviours and maintain their self-confidence.

It took us 3 years to develop, write, create the ideas for the illustrations that our illustrator amazingly brought to life, and then self-publish. 

What we hope children learn from it

We hope our book will empower and build self-confidence in children who are targeted by bullying behaviours, help children develop a compassionate understanding of why bullying happens, and that it will inspire change in those who carry out bullying behaviours- whether they are children or grown ups! 

Part of the story from the book The Watermelon Shield

We believe that everyone has the ability to be a loving and kind person!

We truly hope that it helps a child you know, as much as it helped Hope grow, and understand!

How we hope parents and teachers use it

We hope that parents & teachers will find ‘The Watermelon Shield’ a great ‘go to’ resource for their children\students who are experiencing bullying, and who also may be exhibiting bullying behaviours.   We believe our book will inspire positive changes in feelings, understanding, compassion, kindness and behaviour for everyone while helping children stay true to who they are!

AUTHOR: Rose & Hope McCallum - The Watermelon Shield 
Rose & Hope McCallum are from Ontario, Canada. Hope is now in Grade 7, takes piano & art lessons, swims & raises butterflies in the summer with her family. Rose is a Registered Horticultural Therapy practitioner often incorporating the use of symbolism with gardening and nature, and butterfly rearing in her programming.
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