Pennsylvania prosecutor pens children's book on bullying

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NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Four years after writing a children's book to raise awareness about Internet safety, Montgomery County's top prosecutor has authored her second book, this time tackling the issue of bullying.

District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, the first woman ever elected as the county's top law enforcement officer, recently published "The Mouse Who Beat The Jungle Bullies" and is making it available to elementary schools countywide.

The book continues the exploits of Wesley, "an adventurous young mouse," who was depicted in Ferman's first book in 2011, "The Mouse Who Went Surfing Alone," which raised awareness among children and parents about the dangers of browsing on the Internet.

"I always thought it would be great to use the model of our lead character of Wesley and write a sequel, a follow up that would deal with bullying, because bullying and cyber bullying are some of the biggest challenges that our kids face in schools," Ferman said last Friday as she enthusiastically displayed her latest creation.

The book tells the tale of Wesley, who despite his parents' warnings journeys into the jungle and encounters many bullies, said Ferman, who has served as district attorney for eight years and will be moving on to a county judicial seat in January.

"With quick thinking, courage and common sense, Wesley stood up to bullies and returned home safely," according to the book's liner notes.

Ferman had some help from two of her children, Jenna and Jake, with writing the book, which Ferman said is a perfect way to talk to children about how to stand up to bullies, both online and in the real world.

"The goal was to take our hero into the jungle and show how he navigates challenges with different bullies, different sizes and shapes, and how he is able stand up to bullies and do what is right.and stand up for his rights," Ferman explained.

While "The Mouse Who Went Surfing Alone" was penned as a fundraiser for the Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center— a nonprofit corporation that serves as a child-friendly facility where medical professionals, social workers and law enforcement come together to streamline the investigative process and provide victims with the necessary support services to help them heal— the new book will be sent to schools as a learning tool.

"Once we published the book we were able to send it out to all of our public elementary schools in Montgomery County so that they can use it as a resource in their libraries, in their guidance programs and in their classrooms," Ferman said. "Right now, we still have copies of it, so if there is a school in the county, perhaps that we didn't get to, they can just call and let us know and we're happy to send it out."

"They're real teaching tools, and that's the goal of it, for children, to get down on their level and talk about these topics that we all as parents know are very challenging and often don't have the tools to know how to talk about," Ferman added. "This is a way to do it on a child's level and say, 'These are things that we all face and there are some really easy ways to deal with these problems.'"

A nationally-recognized anti-child abuse advocate, Ferman was inspired to write her first book featuring "Wesley" the mouse by her own three children, who she observed becoming more aware of Internet games and social media websites. Ferman, who has sponsored Internet safety programs in schools for a number of years, realized there were no resources to teach youngsters, specifically preschoolers, about safety online.

While the idea for her first children's book was spurred by the experiences of her own children, Ferman said her desire was to not just educate her children, but to focus on how she could take what she knew from law enforcement and provide it to other parents so they could start educating the youngest children, appropriately, about online safety, and now bullying.

To bring her fictional tale to life, Ferman worked with DDCworks, an advertising and public relations company in Conshohocken, and Derik Fetters.

The book offers a list of "Ten Tips for Dealing with a Bully or Cyber-Bully."




Information from: The Mercury,

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