Carmel Valley author’s ‘Mean Doreen’ book tackles bullying
Carmel Valley’s Victoria Bennett has published her second book, “Mean Doreen,” a children’s book that addresses the difficult topic of bullying.
A native New Yorker, Bennett taught for several years on the east coast before moving to San Diego to raise her family. She taught special education and early childhood education classes in San Diego Unified School District for five years and was a substitute teacher for many years, subbing locally at Solana Highlands, Carmel Creek and Sage Canyon Schools.
“When I was a teacher, a day did not go by without bullying of some sort,” Bennett said.
As a teacher, she tried to help students who were picked on to understand why their bully was acting that way and to come up with strategies to stick up for themselves and others.
Her first book released in 2002 was a 130-page novel, “The Creeps in Room 112,” aimed for fourth through sixth grade readers. She used the book to start conversations about bullying when visiting Carmel Valley schools.
For the last several years, Bennett has done college counseling but writing a second book was always in her thoughts. She wanted to reach a younger audience with this new book, deciding to do a picture book for ages 3-7.
“It’s 28 pages with cute illustrations and. of course, has a happy ending,” said Bennett.
Written using rhymes and repetition, it tells the story of Maisie, who is having a terrible time at school dealing with Mean Doreen. She has to figure out a way to stop her from picking on others, learning a little something about Doreen along the way.
Bennett believes the book’s whimsical illustrations by Karine Makartichan help to tell the story—she found the Armenian artist online and they worked well together despite the distance between them.
She hopes the book will be useful in starting conversations about bullying at a young age. Bennett believes it’s a good message to share in this time when there are so many disagreements, people don’t listen or try to understand each other and are often quick to anger: “Let’s show kindness instead,” she said.
Order the book online at amzn.to/2Cg6Y0v
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