Dave Pow Tobain’s school friend Stu is being bullied by Johno and his crew. At first, Dave doesn’t know how he can help Stu. He’s ashamed that he just stands back and watches, too scared to do anything. Then he remembers that his parent taught him how to deal with people who say and do mean things, so he makes a plan.
That afternoon at school, Dave and his friends try out the POW plan during a game of basketball. Stu overcomes Johno’s bullying, and the crew think that the plan could be useful for other children.
The POWman series is more than just a fictional book. It’s a fantastic anti bullying resource designed to really help children. It draws on Tabain’s own experiences of bullying, and was written with guidance from Australian psychologist Lachlan Hinds. Dr Hinds advised Tabain on the book’s format and ensured it was a useful resource for teachers, parents, and of course children.
Worland is a teacher, and her career includes time working as a special needs consultant with a focus on autism.
The book is presented in almost comic form, with bright pictures, a simple colour palette of just three colours, and is a short, easy read. The book gives children the tools to help overcome bullying, with the POW plan included within the story. Additional teaching resources for classrooms available via the publisher.
It is very cleverly done, delivering a deep, affecting message in a ‘fun’ way. The bullying depicted in the book covers a lot of ground – including physical violence, teasing, cyber bullying, and ‘smash-lighting’. The idea of autism or a child needing learning support is hinted at, but isn’t made the focus of the story.
The only negative of this fantastic book is the use of current social media slang. Tabain and Worland have included words like ‘lol’, ‘lit’ and ‘GOAT’, which will instantly feel comfortable for this current younger generation. However, it will age the book drastically in a few year’s time, and perhaps turn readers off.
Regardless, it was an unexpected delight. This book should absolutely be required reading for any upper primary school classroom. It is well researched, relatable, practical and a good read to boot. The second book in the series is already underway, led by a character called Frankie. The POWman series has contributed immensely to highlighting social issues within our younger generation, and provided an incredible resource to help change reader’s lives.
Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser
Harbour Publishing House, RRP $ 14.99