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Sammy and Goliath Review by Renita Kuehner

Sandy Kegel
Orange Hat Publishing
603 N. Grand Avenue
Waukesha, WI 53186

Bullying is a prevalent issue in our society today among our young ones. Schools try to lead the way and prevent bullying, but there are still issues that schools need help tackling. We recently had the opportunity to read Sammy and Goliath written by Sandy Kegel. What a great book packed full of lessons and showing kids how to put a positive light on a bad situation and turn it around.

In the story of Sammy and Goliath, Sammy is a bright student who is being bullied on a regular basis by Goliath. Goliath is a much larger student in his class and most of the kids are afraid of him. After enduring so many bad experiences, Sammy transfers schools. In his new school, he moves ahead from the pain he had suffered and builds a positive life. Goliath on the other hand, continues to get into trouble. He faces a life of pain and bad decisions. In the end, Goliath does get the help he needs and turns his life around also.

Sammy has very important decisions that he must make about bullying. Children that face bullies in their lives may feel helpless. Sammy definitely did. Should he have stood up to Goliath? Do they try to pick back at the bully? Do they seek revenge? Why are his classmates afraid to stick up for him? In Sandy Kegel’s story of Sammy and Goliath, life is turned around for both boys as they grow up and become adults. I thought the spin of Goliath not receiving the help that he needed in school was interesting. By Goliath slipping through the cracks, he suffered into adulthood and made very bad decisions. Sammy got the help he needed early, and his life turned out wonderful. If we see a bullying situation, do we stand up and get help for both the bully and the victim?

At the end of the story, Sandy Kegel has provided several links for both families and students to do more research on bullying. There are also some wonderful positive expressions listed, which I use on a daily basis in our home and with students. The last couple pages of the book contain 10 discussion questions that you can draw out your children with. Some include a good point about how Goliath could actually be considered a victim of bullying because of his nickname. Just because he was bigger than the rest of the kids in the class and the nickname is from a Biblical character, did it make George or “Goliath” as he was called feel good? Maybe in the beginning, but after a while he did not like it anymore either. If this nickname went away, would the story of Sammy and Goliath be different? These questions can make both the children and parents think and really look at themselves and their own actions. Are you bullying and not even realizing it?

Sammy and Goliath includes full-colored illustrations. This soft-covered storybook is great for use in schools and with families to have open-discussions with their elementary aged children about the consequences of their words and actions. Words may not physically hurt, but they can hurt emotionally for many years.

-Product review by Renita Kuehner, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May, 2018