“Sticks and stones may break my bones…”

The author of that classic nursery rhyme had good intentions.

As wikipedia states – ” It persuades the child victim of name calling to ignore the taunt, to refrain from physical retaliation, and to remain calm and good natured.”

It is a good lesson to help empower the “victim”, however to teach kids that words do not hurt is wrong.  We all know that words can and do hurt.

One of the things that I teach in my live school assembly program “We Choose Respect!!!” is that we need to realize that words have power, that we need to think before we speak, and that we can choose to use our words to lift people up instead of putting people down.


Shirin Zaqa Lederman has written a series of children’s books that teach kids simple but oh so very important lessons on how we should treat others.  Her latest creation, “The Trotters of Tweeville: Harraf Namrattle” introduces us to a strong little girl who likes to speak her mind, no matter what.” She doesn’t seem to understand that her words can hurt others and that somethings are better left unsaid.

One of the things that I found most interesting is Harraf’s strength. She did listen to her mom, but that didn’t mean she compromised her principles. She truly did learn to think before she spoke.

When she is not writing and illustrating beautiful children’s books Shirin Zarqa Lederman is a therapist who uses experiencial therapy in treating her young clients.

In this interview Shirin tells us about her unique approach to therapy as well as her inspiration for creating Harraf and the other wonderful characters that populate Tweeville.

Click here to find out more about my live school assembly program “We Choose Respect!!!”


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