Rhonda Patton has never been one to just sit back and watch as things transpire in front of her. So when she heard that her daughter was being bullied, she knew she had to do something about it. Going to the principal and the teachers was a start, but what was being done to educate children about the negative effects of bullying at a young age? Her Own daughter was in middle school, and by the time Patton found out what was going on it had been taking place for a long time.
“There isn’t a lot of education for younger kids about bullying,” Patton said.
She was upset, but found a creative way to vent her frustration. She had already written one children’s book, called The Croak 500, and decided to use her talents for story-telling to create an entire series of books that deal with bullying. And so the Ted and Raymond series was born.
Ted and Raymond are two anthropomorphized frogs who go on adventures together. They also are constantly bullied by another frog, named Grayson.
Rhonda’s Husband, Chester McDaniel, illustrates the books himself. “I told Chester I wanted the bully to look big and menacing, and that’s exactly what he drew.”
The books are geared specifically for kids from 5-8 years old. “Even at five years old, a child can look at the facial expressions of a character that’s being bullied and realize how upset the character is.” Patton tries to get the point across that bullying isn’t fun and games, and can have serious consequences for the victims.
Patton’s experiences with her daughter are hardly unique, her son was also bullied, as was she and her husband when they were in school. According to 2016 study done by the National Center For Educational Statistics, 20.8% of students have been the victims of bullying. In a Yale study, it was discovered that victims of bullying are anywhere from 2-9 percent more likely to attempt suicide, and every day more than 160,000 students stay home from school out of fear of being bullied.
Bullying takes on many shapes; whether it be name calling or shaming, or even physical attacks such as hitting or shoving. Regardless of the type of bullying, the effects on the victims is often devastating.
That’s why Patton believes it’s so important to teach children as young as five that bullying is harmful. Her hope is that eventually the books will find their way into elementary schools, and can be a cornerstone of anti-bullying education that begins with kindergarteners.
Currently she has seven books published, five of which deal with the subject of bullying. They also have themes of morality, courage, and friendship. The books are on sale on the Amazon Kindle Store for around 99 cents. “I didn’t want them priced high because I want everyone to be able to afford them. I feel the lessons inside are much more important than making money.” They are also available at Walmart.com and at Patton’s website: thecroak500.com