If you've worked in a school you'll be familiar with that moment, just after morning or lunch break, when a stream of children appear back to the classroom, you hope, ready to learn and work, but nope, there's been another happening in the playground and likely there are tears, anger, a child that wants to tell you everything and a child that won't tell you anything. And so it starts again and you wonder whether it would have been far more beneficial to have trained to be a referee!
You make it home and you can't find your youngest, and they're hiding in their wardrobe trying to get away from the happening that happened to them in a playground today. But it won't go away. And you see for the very first time the reality of bullying. It's not just an annoyance, it's an annihilation of a childhood.
So, you put on your teaching head alongside your parenting head and you write a book and you call it Mud Boy. And you hope it helps happenings to cease for the streams of children passing through schools and for the curled up children in the bottom of wardrobes and their parents who are looking for them - and the teachers, who will always have so much more to be getting on with than being referees!
My name is Sarah Siggs and I'm a former SEND teacher. Mud Boy's illustrator is Amy Crosby, primarily a writer, who thankfully agreed to be part of the Mud Boy story. Her pictures have such a depth of feeling to them and open up the message of the book to even the youngest of children. The last few pages of Mud Boy are filled with the wise words of Dr. Pooky Knightsmith. Pooky's support and advice for any adults sharing the book with children makes a powerfully illustrated story an even greater resource.
It was always our united hope that Mud Boy would do much good. I notice the theme for Anti-Bullying Week 2020, (16th - 20th November) is United Against Bullying. We all need to unite in helping children to learn about the importance of being kind and what to do if others aren't. We owe it to those children in the bottom of wardrobes.
If you'd like to buy a copy of Mud Boy, an independent book shop will always order one in for you or it's available online from all other bookshops, Jessica Kingsley Publishers and Amazon. I'm always happy to connect with and follow others:Twitter @SSiggsInstagram username 55iggs