Book Title: The Watermelon Shield
Authors: Rose McCallum (she/her) and Finn McCallum (they/them)
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
About the book
‘The Watermelon Shield’ is a true story co-authored by Rose and Finn McCallum (both real life characters in the book and a mom and child duo - along with their dog Ginger!).
The story shares how Finn overcomes bullying at school by developing a compassionate understanding of why bullying happens and ways to handle these situations through conversations with Mom.
When Finn 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 Finn to use to protect their heart. The best part of the story is that it worked and kept unkind words from hurting!
‘The Watermelon Shield’ encourages children to stay happy and confident in themselves, and be kind, empathetic and understanding towards others.
Some of the key learning points in their story:
And to remember:
Why we wrote it
When Rose came up with the idea for Finn 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 Finn was eight years old, they decided to write a book about ‘The Watermelon Shield’.
Finn felt very strongly that the story could help many children who were coping with bullying. Finn wanted to share our strategy so others who feel victimized by bullying could develop a better understanding of bullying behaviors 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 behaviors, help children develop a compassionate understanding of why bullying happens, and that it will inspire change in those who carry out bullying behaviors - whether they are children or grown- ups!
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 Finn 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 behaviors. We believe our book will inspire positive changes in feelings, understanding, compassion, kindness, and behavior for everyone while helping children stay true to who they are!