Big Bully and M-Me
Arti Sonthalia
Sebin Simon
age group: 
9+ yrs
Number of pages: 
stammering school disability bullying


A disability of any sort is hard for a child, but for one who stammers life can be pretty distressing. Whereas some disabilities receive sympathy or support, stuttering definitely does not. As they struggle to articulate coherently, the children may experience fear, embarrassment, anger, frustration and shame owing to which over a period of time their confidence and self-esteem could be undermined forever.

For them, it is a double whammy, for even though what they have to say is important, they may not be taken seriously by their peers. Instead, they are often subjected to bullying, ridicule and teasing. Sometimes, even well-wishers add to the frustration of the child, by jumping in and pre-empting what the child has to say, and try and complete the sentence for them.

Sadly, in the days of old, Indian cinema, too, added fuel to the fire, by often giving stutterers a role in the movies for the sole purpose of comic relief in which even the ‘hero’ of the film poked fun at him.

Hence, this book that tackles the issue is doing a great service and adds an interesting new dimension to children's literature. It highlights the fact that even though kids may stammer, they can be pretty bright kids; normal in every other way, with a lot going for them.

Krishna, alias Krish, stammers. When the teacher announces a contest in which the students have to give an impromptu speech, Krish is devastated. How would he ever be able to overcome that hurdle? To add to his woes, he has been partnered with the school bully!

The struggle of the protagonist, both physical and emotional seems to be well-researched and for a book this size and has a certain amount of profundity to it.

One wishes however, that the bully was better characterized thus giving the book some more depth.

Highly recommended!

Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee