How Not To Get Bullied: Every Kid Should Feel Safe At School was written and illustrated by Debora Kuetzpal Vasquez, a local artist and Associate Professor and Visual Arts Program Head at Our Lady of the Lake University. The book was created to inspire and empower kids who may be feeling unsure and unsafe due to the taunting and actions of other kids and sometimes parents. Getting bullied as a child affects a person into their adult life. Although the book only slightly touches on parental abuse, the writer was greatly motivated when watching the documentary on the Gabriel Fernandez story, the child that was killed by his mother and stepfather for appearing to be gay. The book focuses more on children empowering themselves to overcome bullying they face in school.
Written from the perspective of a Mexican American child, Diamantina aka Diamond rallies her primito (cousin), best friend Itzel, and some other kids that have been bullied to do “something” about not feeling safe at school. The book offers alternative methods that can be realized by kids. With the positive actions exemplified in the book, it moves the focus off of the negative effects of bullying mostly without adult intervention. Even at the end when some parents come together with administration to try to make institutional changes, it has been organized by their children. This can be an amazingly empowering achievement for children!
Code-switching is applied in the content as it is written how many Indigenous and Mexican Americans speak. Sometimes it comes out in English and sometimes in Spanish, but we always make ourselves understood. How Not To Be Bullied is in English with a few Spanish and Nahuatl words sprinkled in for sabor (flavor). Nahuatl is one of the ancient languages of the Mexica (Aztecs). Translations are offered immediately after. The Mexica tradition is integrated by adding several symbols of the creative forces from the Mexica Calendar. Translation of the Nahuatl words and interpretations of the symbols is an educational experience that is rarely taught in schools. Your child will enjoy learning some words in Spanish, Nahuatl while learning some ways to avoid and stay safe from bullies.
How Not To Be Bullied: Every Kid Should Feel Safe At School will be introduced on Drag King Bilingual Storytime by Nacho Marx (Jessica Hawkins) and Sir Gio (Giomara Bazaldua) the dynamic duo of the Los Mentirosos. Nacho will be reading the story and Sir Gio will be exemplifying Diamond’s favorite dance moves. There will be two live but VIRTUAL performances. We still want to keep the kiddos safe. The first will take place on Wednesday, October 20th, 2021 @ 9:30 am for several schools, and the second will take place on Saturday, October 23rd, 2021 @ 11:00 am which is open to everyone, young and not-so-young. The public will be able to link in to either performance.
This is a project supported by P.E.A.C.E. Initiative Putting an End to Abuse through Community Effort, a non-profit and community organization to educate the community about the extent, and often-deadly consequences of domestic violence and to respond effectively through collaborative efforts. For the first year, half (50%) of the proceeds from the book will go towards a preventative arts program for kids focusing on LGBTQIA+ kids and kids in domestic violent homes. So get yours soon. This program will be supported by P.E.A.C.E. Initiative. The book will be available digitally and on paperback on Amazon on Friday, October 22nd, 2021 and will be priced at $9.99