Desmond and the Very Mean Word

Desmond and the Very Mean Word

A Story of Forgiveness

Book - 2013
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While riding his new bicycle Desmond is hurt by the mean word yelled at him by a group of boys, but he soon learns that hurting back will not make him feel any better.
Publisher: Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2013
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780763652296
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) :,color illustrations ;,30 cm


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Sep 23, 2017

Good story with a happy ending.

Jul 03, 2016

good book

SPL_Childrens May 14, 2013

The power of words is demonstrated again in a true story from the South African childhood of Desmond Tutu, Desmond and the Very Mean Word.

Words such as insults and racial slurs can hurt. They can also heal - as in the act of forgiving.

Desmond is happy and proud as he pedals his new bicycle through his neighbourhood. Suddenly a group of boys shout a terrible word at him. Hurt, shocked and angry, he later speaks with kindly Father Trevor who advises him to forgive the boys.

However, the next day, Desmond finds that he can’t leave the mean word behind no matter how fast he pedals to school. It seems to follow him around “like a shadow in the hot sun.”

Later, riding past the boys, Desmond shouts an insult at them - and discovers that getting back with more mean words doesn’t make him feel any better.

A few days after that, Desmond sees one of the boys being bullied by his brothers. His anger changes to compassion and he forgives him. The two boys make peace.

Although the mean word is never specified in this story, few children have not dealt with their own “mean word” and the hurt that it can bring. Father Trevor’s wise advice rings true – that the act of forgiveness can release that hurt.

Indeed, words have the power to incite hate – or to overcome hate.

This thoughtful story, with its expressive illustrations, teaches us that forgiving is a choice that everyone has the power to make. Forgiveness doesn’t need to depend on an apology.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, was awarded the prestigious Templeton Prize this year for his “life-long work in advancing spiritual principles such as love and forgiveness which has helped to liberate people around the world.”

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SPL_Childrens May 14, 2013

SPL_Childrens thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 6 and 10


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