Desmond and the Very Mean Word

Desmond and the Very Mean Word

A Story of Forgiveness

eBook - 2014
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Features audio read by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Based on a true story from Archbishop Desmond Tutu's childhood in South Africa, Desmond and the Very Mean Word reveals the power of words and the secret of forgiveness. When Desmond takes his new bicycle out for a ride through his neighborhood, his pride and joy turn to hurt and anger when a group of boys shout a very mean word at him. He first responds by shouting an insult, but soon discovers that fighting back with mean words doesn't make him feel any better. With the help of kindly Father Trevor, Desmond comes to understand his conflicted feelings and see that all people deserve compassion, whether or not they say they are sorry. Brought to vivid life in A. G. Ford's energetic illustrations, this heartfelt, relatable story conveys timeless wisdom about how to handle bullying and angry feelings, while seeing the good in everyone.
Publisher: Somerville : Candlewick Press, 2014
Edition: Read-aloud edition
ISBN: 9780763667979
Characteristics: 1 online resource : color illustrations
Additional Contributors: Abrams, Douglas Carlton
Ford, AG

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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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