Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser:
A Book about Bullying
by Catherine DePino
The kids at Ralph Bunche Middle School love to pick on Elliot Kravitz-Carnucci. He struggles with his weight, looks like a geek, makes top honors, and lives above the Carnucci Home for Funerals in South Philadelphia with his distant, workaholic father and Nonna, his quirky, overbearing grandmother.
Since his parents divorced, he splits spending his time with his funeral director father and his mother Rayna, who dreams of becoming the queen of commercials on the west coast.
At the hands of his peers, Elliot experiences a series of bullying episodes that escalate from entrapment in a school supply closet to a brutal “swirly” (head dunk in the toilet) that lands him in the hospital emergency room.
Elliot has a small circle of loyal friends and a mentor named Duke, an aging school custodian, who root for him to overcome his bullying issues so that he can enjoy his life as a teenager and a budding singer/performer. Can Elliot win his fight against the nasty bullies, or is he doomed forever? Read this funny, sad, and crazy book to find out.
What were they planning to do to me? Had they all gone over the edge? I tried to scream, but all that came out from under the gag was Mmmmmmmmm.
Most of the teachers and staff had already left to get an early start on spring break. Duke was probably somewhere in the building, though, giving the place a final once over before locking up. His doctor had told him to slow down after the tests proved he had lung cancer, but it only made him work longer hours.
Kyle slammed me on the back. “Tell you what, promise not to open your mouth and I’ll take the gag off.”
I nodded yes like my head was going to roll off.
He untied the gag, and I heaved in a gulp of air.
“We don’t want you to suffocate when your head hits the water.”
Were they going to throw me in the river? Drown me? Could they be that crazy?
I tried to make a run for it, but Kyle caught me before I could make it to the door. His biceps bulged like baseballs from his lean arms. How I wished I’d added weight lifting to my fitness routine.
Canfield looked at his friends. “Part of the fun is the anticipation. Right, guys?”
Why couldn’t they look at me?
I heard on the news that when you’re threatened if you call a person by name, maybe he’ll act more human and be less likely to hurt you. Was it worth a try?
“Kyle, you don’t want to do this…”
It is both my privilege and pleasure to feature Catherine DePino on Room With Books.
What experience led you to write about bullying, Catherine?
I’ve worked in city high schools in Philadelphia all my life and have witnessed bullying first hand as a teacher, disciplinarian, and department head. I’ve seen how kids can hurt one another physically and emotionally through acts of bullying. My daughter is a school counselor in a high school and also witnessed the problem of kids hurting each other with cruel words and actions. One day she said, “Mom, have you ever thought of writing a book about bullying?”
Shayna’s words gave me the motivation to write Blue Cheese Breath and Stinky Feet: How to Deal with Bullies, my first bully prevention book for the American Psychological Association’s children’s press, Magination. Published in this country and others, the book is widely used in bully prevention programs.
The next book I wrote, In Your Face, Pizza Face: A Girl’s Bully Busting Book was targeted specifically to girls who often present a different type of bullying than that practiced by boys, which is more overt and out-in-the-open. Girls, on the other hand, often employ Internet bullying, shunning, and more subtle types of bullying. But both are equally harmful and devastating to children.
My next book, Real Life Bully Prevention for Real Kids: 50 Ways to Help Elementary and Middle School Students, addresses teachers who are looking for kid-friendly activities to use in their bully prevention programs. After that, I wrote Who Says Bullies Rule?: Common Sense Tips to Help Your Kids Cope. This book gives parents practical suggestions to use with their kids and helps them navigate the school system in order to make it more responsive to their children’s bullying issues.
Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser: A Book About Bullying, the book you’re featuring today, is my first self-published bully book for middle grade students. I self-published it because it is different from all my other books in that it is more controversial. For one thing, it takes place in a funeral home, where my main character lives with his workaholic dad and quirky grandmother, Nonna. Elliot strives to overcome his bullying issues, but he knows he can’t do it alone. His two best friends and the school custodian, Mr. Boardly, offer practical help and advice along the way.
Out of all the books I’ve written, Elliot is the one closest to my heart because I feel that the main character represents a lot of bullied kids I’ve met and read about. The book offers something for everyone: kids, parents, grandparents, and teachers. One sub-plot involves Elliot’s mother trying to make it big in commercials on the west coast. Another involves his grandmother who has found a love interest. The book features a great deal of comic relief. I figured I’d need to lighten it up with the funeral home setting and the bullying theme.
I hope you’ll visit my website at www.catherinedepino.com and leave a comment. I love hearing from readers.
Thank you, Catherine, for allowing Room With Books to be part of your tour.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Catherine DePino has sold thirteen books for parents, teachers, and children to mainstream publishers. She self-published her fourteenth book, Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser: A Book About Bullying because she wanted to give it a wider forum. Her background includes a BS in English and Spanish education, a Master’s in English education, and a doctorate in Curriculum Theory and Development and Educational Administration from Temple University. The author worked for many years as an English teacher, department head of English and world languages, disciplinarian, and curriculum writer in the Philadelphia School District. After this, she worked at Temple as an adjunct assistant professor and student teaching supervisor.
Catherine has also written articles for national magazines, including The Christian Science Monitor and The Writer.
For many years she served on the board of The Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. She holds membership in the Association of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Her new self-help book, Fire Up Your Life in Retirement: 101 Ways for Women to Reinvent Themselves, appeared on the market in March, 2014.
Visit her website at www.catherinedepino.com
Catherine will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
I encourage you to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found by clicking on the tour banner below.