A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

  • Copyright Notice

    Copyright © 2016 Linda Martin Andersen.

    Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this
    material without express and written permission
    from Linda Martin Andersen is strictly prohibited.

    Excerpts and links may be used, provided that
    full and clear credit is given to Linda Martin Andersen
    with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

It’s Not Fair

Posted by lindamartinandersen on March 8, 2013

“It’s Not Fair” by Linda Martin Andersen


Welcome to “A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

When I was an elementary School Counselor in Cumberland County, NC, students studied character traits each month. Through blog posts at “A Writer’s Playground,” I continue to spread the word about good character. 

This month, like the Cumberland County Schools in Fayetteville, NC, I present the character trait of FAIRNESS, defined as “playing by the rules, taking turns, sharing and listening.”  To promote this trait, I selected a delightful picture book written by Darcy Pattison and illustrated by Steven Salerno.  It’s entitled 19 Girls and Me.


When you think of fairness, a nagging saying probably echoes in your mind:  “It’s not fair.”  Children say it.  Adults probably think it, but most won’t admit they do.  Here are some children’s books titles that include this expression:  It’s Not Fair by Charlotte Zolotow, It’s Not Fair!  by Anita Harper and It’s Not Fair! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld.  Check these books out for more on this saying.

This month I chose to spotlight a book about fairness that does not include the words “it’s not fair.”  In 19 Girls and Me, Darcy’s Pattison’s main character, John Hercules Po, is assigned to a kindergarten classroom full of girls.   John Hercules Po’s older brother tells him that the girls will turn him into a sissy, but John has a different plan.

19 Girls and Me is delightful.  It isn’t predictable.  The children’s imaginations are at play.  The end result is a win, win, situation.

Adults, the next time you hear someone say, “That’s not fair,” I hope you’ll remember to pull a copy of this book from a shelf and read how John Hercules Po and the 19 girls in his classroom chose to  handle their “unfair” situation in a positive way.   19 Girls and Me becomes an interactive reading by encouraging listeners to act out the scenes as they are read.  The audience can also call “Lunch” when it’s time.

Ask students to identify their favorite day of the week from the story.  Ask what happened that day on the playground?  Name something that surprised you in the story.  How did you expect the story to end?  How did John describe his classmates at the end of the book?  How do you feel about that?

Girls, have you ever been called a tomboy?  Boys, have you ever been called a sissy?  What do those words mean?  I’ve heard these called “fighting words.”  What do you think that means?  

If you’re a children’s author, I recommend checking out Darcy Pattison’s blog and upcoming novel revision retreats.  http://www.darcypattison.com/

March 24-30 is Tsunami Awareness Week–

and in observance of this, I’d like to suggest checking out another title by Darcy Pattison: Wisdom, the Midway Albatross, the oldest known bird in the world and one that has survived tsunamis and other natural disasters. 



Check for other books by Darcy Pattison at her website.

Thank you for joining us at “A Writer’s Playground.”  Come again soon and bring a friend.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

14 Responses to “It’s Not Fair”

  1. Darcy is a terrific writer. I follow her blog. I was called a tomboy, but I loved it. 🙂

  2. How often we as adults say this too!! We all need to read this book.

  3. jajmh said

    I’m headed for the library. I hope they have this wonderful picture book.

  4. What an interesting post! Children grow up believing that fairness and fair play should be the norm… adults become more cynical. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a world where fairness to all is the norm? At least, we can all individually aspire to ‘playing fair.’

  5. Joan Y. Edwards said

    Dear Linda,
    It is so neat how Darcy Pattison’s character turns an unfair situation into one of delight and a win-win situation for him and the 19 girls. Fun, fun, fun and inspiring.

    Enjoy your day, Linda and Darcy, celebrate you and your gift of writing and fairness.
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

  6. Susan Williams said

    Regarding World Tuberculosis Day: I went on CDC’s website to see how many cases had occurred in 1 year in the US. I could not tell if this data was just for the year 2010 or for an additional 6 months in 2011, but during this time frame, there were 11,182 cases of TB in the US alone. Worldwide, it is obviously a major health problem. Many AIDS patients also have TB, since it more easily attacks those whose immune systems are compromised. I’m sure Shannon Hitchcock will discuss this in greater detail in her blog, to which I look forward. I also look forward to reading her book.

    As a med tech in microbiology, my co-workers and I were responsible for isolating and doing a preliminary identification for Mycobacterium tuberculosis from patients. TB can grow on various sites in the body, not just in the lungs, the usual site. We wore a gown, gloves, and worked under a hood while processing patient specimens or working directly with the organism. If we found a patient with a preliminary identification of TB, we sent the information to the NC state lab so they could do more thorough testing and identification. The state lab then followed up with the patient so he/she could get treatment. Any patient contacts were also identified to see if they needed treatment. All this is required by law so the community is protected.

    Again, I look forward to Shannon’s blog.

    • Susan,
      Your research and work experience take this discussion to a higher level. You were brave to spend your career working with samples that you knew could infect you. I know you used precautions but still I say you were brave. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us. I’m looking forward to Shannon’s blog as well.

  7. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog
    that’s both educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail
    on the head. The problem is something which not enough men and
    women are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I came across this during my search for
    something concerning this.

Please Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: