Dave POW Tabain’s schoolmate Stu is being bullied by Johno and his crew. At first, Dave doesn’t know how he can help Stu. He’s ashamed that he just stands and watches, too scared to do anything. Then he remembers that his parents taught him how to deal with people who say and do mean things to others. Its time to make a plan.
Instead of doing his maths work, Dave spends the lesson writing out his POW PLAN. He explains it to Stu and their friend Bray, and they test it out that afternoon at sport. In a thrilling game of basketball, Stu overcomes Johno’s bullying and their team wins the game. The boys are so excited that the plan worked, they’re pretty sure it could work for other kids too.
Obviously there is a lot to like about POWman’s message, and I also loved a bunch of things about the way it is told!
As I mentioned above, the illustrations are brilliant. I feel like there are enough pictures throughout to really draw in a lot of kids who might otherwise be reluctant readers. The text is also really well done – it is super approachable and friendly, so that it sounds like of like you’re being told a story by a friend.
I thought it was really fantastic that the story is about standing up when you see bullying happen to someone else, rather than just how to deal with bullying yourself. I also liked that figuring out what to do is something our hero has to work through – he starts off unsure, and ashamed for not doing anything to help. I thought it was great to see that process – to know that it is never too late \to do better. The plan he comes up with is explained really well, and gives kids actual examples of what to do and things they can say to help.
And I really loved the way that feelings were dealt with – its ok for the hero to be scared, and one of items on his list of things to remember is that “crying doesn’t make you a baby, it makes you human.”
It feels like a really active move away from toxic masculinity.
I absolutely recommend this one for the kids in your life, especially boys (in about the 8 to 10 age group, I think). POWman is out now, and you can check out the website here. Thanks so much to Harbour Publishing for sending me a copy!