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Desmond and the Very Mean Word Hardcover – Picture Book, December 3, 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 107 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

An actual event from the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s childhood forms the heart of a story about the difficulties and rewards of forgiveness. Young Desmond proudly rides his new bike through the streets of the township when he encounters a group of aggressive boys who taunt him with a “very mean word.” Desmond struggles with his own feelings of anger and retribution, but, after wise counsel from trusted mentor Father Trevor, finds his way to forgive. Writing again with Abrams (God’s Dream, 2008), Tutu offers a clear telling that feels much like a children’s homily, the earnest tone and clean language (the offending word is never mentioned) reflecting his own wholesome spirit. Ford’s dynamic paintings, with well-defined outlines and dramatic light, match the clarity of the narrative. The images fill the large-trim spreads, capturing the immediacy of the conflict and the tranquility of the resolution. An author’s note offers more information about the event, and the mentor, that inspired the story. Grades 1-4. --Barthelmess, Thom

Review

[A] heart-rending story...
—The New York Times Book Review

Ford’s oil illustrations do a fine job of capturing the dusty days of township life, as well as Desmond’s dark nights of the soul.
—Publishers Weekly

A thought-provoking lesson for young readers on the destructiveness of bullying and racism.
—Kirkus Reviews

Writing again with Abrams (God’s Dream, 2008), Tutu offers a clear telling that feels much like a children’s homily, the earnest tone and clean language (the offending word is never mentioned) reflecting his own wholesome spirit. Ford’s dynamic paintings, with well-defined outlines and dramatic light, match the clarity of the narrative. The images fill the large-trim spreads, capturing the immediacy of the conflict and the tranquility of the resolution.
—Booklist

Archbishop Tutu describes the power of words and the secret of forgiveness in a story from his South African childhood during apartheid...The story avoids a preachy tone by staying true to Desmond’s emotions and his struggle to reach a moral high ground. The book is both a lesson and a slice of life, giving insight into the person Archbishop Tutu became as an adult.
—School Library Journal

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Candlewick; Illustrated edition (December 3, 2012)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0763652296
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0763652296
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 6 - 9 years
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 1 - 4
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.05 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 10.13 x 0.37 x 11.63 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.9 out of 5 stars 107 ratings

Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5
107 global ratings
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star 0% (0%) 0%
1 star 0% (0%) 0%

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