Strathmore's Who's Who and America's Registry of Outstanding Professionals Celebrate the Achievements and Contributions of Educator and Author Dr. Elana Ashley

FARMINGDALE, N.Y., Jan. 29, 2018 -- Educator and Author Dr. Elana Ashley uses her professional and personal experience to share common sense strategies for coping with everyday life issues. As a journalist, I was intrigued to interview Dr. Ashley about bullying and her latest book Big Bully Holly Howler.

Strathmore’s Who’s Who and America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals Celebrate the Achievements and Contributions of Educator and Author Dr. Elana Ashley Strathmore’s Who’s Who and America’s Registry Celebrates the Contributions Dr. Elana Ashley
Strathmore’s Who’s Who and America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals Celebrate the Achievements and Contributions of Educator and Author Dr. Elana Ashley Strathmore’s Who’s Who and America’s Registry Celebrates the Contributions Dr. Elana Ashley

Bullies are those who repeatedly use abusive language or behavior meant to harm other people, and often use power and control to get their way. Young children must be taught that no one has the right to hurt another person through words or actions. Bullies tend to choose as their victims people who are different than themselves, like those with special needs; those who seem quiet or shy; or those who represent different religions, races, nationalities or ethnic backgrounds.

Warning signs of abuse can be subtle and may include physical marks, illness or pain; damaged personal items; emotional changes; diet, toilet or sleep habits; a lack of interest in usual activities or school; a loss of friends; a pattern change; or suicidal thoughts. Among young children, bullying often begins as verbal abuse [words like ugly, fat, stupid]; physical abuse [pinching, scratching; kicking, hitting] and social/relational abuse [preventing someone from taking part in an activity]. People in high school and college, as well as working adults, have been drawn to cyberbullying ─ the use of electronic devices and digital technologies to harm others. Examples include writing and spreading insults, rumors, lies and threats, as well as e-mailing revealing images to individuals and groups.

Ideally, parents should raise their children in empathetic and loving environments and teach them proper language and behavior. The health and safety of their children, homes and themselves should be paramount. When parents ignore these basic guidelines, they become bully models for their children. Using compassionate listening and discussion, parents must learn to speak honestly and openly when issues arise. Make sure children do not keep secrets. Maintain a journal of any bullying situations that take place. If parents are unable to resolve an issue, they should reach out to their child's school staff or a respected community mental health professional, so this bullying will not be allowed to continue.

"Only when we are open, honest, and direct, and show respect and dignity as we interact, can we can build a world of peace," said Ashley.

A valuable resource for children, parents, educators and mental health professionals, Big Bully Holly Howler includes a helpful series of aids to spur discussion and role-playing for people of all ages and backgrounds. It provides a foundation for communication using the message, "To make a friend ─ you need to be a friend." Use of animal puppets as storybook characters eliminates differences related to religion, race, ethnic background and nationality. Side-by-side English-Spanish text also helps.

Ashley's programs for school children through third grade involve dramatic readings, poems, songs, and discussions using puppets. Further, Ashley presents parent workshops that build self-confidence and problem-solving skills for their children, as well as engage participants in role-playing and anti-bullying strategies that teach conflict resolution. For further information, visit www.drelanaashley.com.

Following is the full text of the interview conducted by Sue Masaracchia-Roberts.

Introduction to the Interview by Host and News Writer Sue Masaracchia-Roberts:
Over the course of many years, I've had the opportunity to observe Elana Ashley, PhD, as she expanded her horizons in the realm of educational and social interests. I was asked to interview Dr. Ashley to learn first-hand her latest research and observations regarding the topic of Bullying. Further, I look forward to having Dr. Ashley talk about the unique features of her latest book BIG BULLY HOLLY HOWLER and the valuable lessons to be gained from her books.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to educator and author Dr. Elana Ashley.

Dr. Ashley:
Thank you so much for your introduction and this wonderful opportunity to share with you my most recent work and concerns relating to the topic of Bullying.

Sue Roberts:
Dr. Ashley, I would like you to set the stage by providing for a foundation so we can better understand bullying and what led to the birth of your book BIG BULLY HOLLY HOWLER

Dr. Elana Ashley:
Over the years, communities throughout the globe have been building schools, colleges and universities. They have built huge industries in every field imaginable including agriculture, the sciences, and the arts. They have been developing sports teams, musical groups, and academic teams. They have created ways to move from place to place via air, land and water, as well as created parks of all kinds ─ including those for amusement, botanical specimens, and community-based centers, as well as buildings for all kinds of worship. Drones have also been created for the purpose of both improving life by getting into places difficult for man to explore, as well as for spy capabilities.

What is happening in your community? What is being taught in your schools? What is being taught those with whom you live, work, and gather among for joyful get-togethers? Throughout their years of growth and advancement, what are your children being taught? What are your neighbor's children being taught? What is being taught to all those newly born who first learn to creep, then to lift and move their arms and legs, and finally learn to walk?

What will be left for your children to see when they eventually walk upon Planet Earth by themselves, moving from state to state, from nation to nation, from continent to continent, from North to South Pole, from ocean to ocean?

Sadly, words from Oscar and Hammerstein's musical classic South Pacific ─ "You've got to be taught to hate and fear" ─ is still true. It rings out among the trees, drifts through the breeze, floating from continent to continent, above the tallest mountains, within the deepest caverns below the ground, spiraling through cosmic pathways.

Why is hatred being taught? Why do some people feel the need to violate, mutilate and end the lives of men, women and children who are trying to find somewhere on our planet where they can breathe and walk freely, have enough food to grow, stay healthy and build their strength to sustain the demands of living on Planet Earth?

What can we do to change this vicious cycle? How can we change the minds and hearts of those who still want to destroy humanity? The leaders of such evil plots have lost their "spirit." Perhaps they were never born with a "spirit."

How can we transform the world we live in into a world of friendship, harmony and peace? What can we say or do to change the direction that the world is moving in?

Do you ever feel the ability within yourself to lead people in a direction towards honesty and compassion where people show respect and dignity to everyone?

My way of trying to make a difference started with the birth of my latest book, BIG BULLY HOLLY HOWLER. I read books and articles related to bullying and its prevention, along with holding meetings and discussions with individuals whose lives were being destroyed by perpetrators of evil words and actions. I decided to create children's programs along with lectures for parents to work to reverse this epidemic situation. Throughout this interview, I hope to provide you with a general background on the subject of bullying, and then share with you the unique features of my children's book called BIG BULLY HOLLY HOWLER to give you a better idea as to what my book offers parents, children, grandchildren, teachers, mental health professionals and anyone who desires to transform our world into a planet of people who welcome, build and encourage friendship and peace.

Sue Roberts:
You have given us a general idea of what inspired you to delve into this area, but was there a particular incident that led to the writing of BIG BULLY HOLLY HOWLER?

Dr. Elana Ashley:
For more than 20 years I have presented programs geared for children from preschool to junior-high, and I wanted to put some of the important messages I had been teaching into the form of a book. This book provides a story based on a universal problem that not only children are being confronted with on a daily basis, but also a problem that is affecting adults in their workplaces, as well as entire families, schools, and communities. Further, it affects the balance of power in law and politics. That was one inspiration that led to writing my first and second books. 

The flip side of this coin of inspiration came from years of living, listening to the news and emotionally responding to life issues that raised their ugly heads, not only locally and throughout the United States, but also viciously appeared across the continents. These horrific issues heavily weighed on my mind as I daily read articles in newspapers and magazines about bullying, domestic violence, and shootings, as well as listened to television and radio news broadcasts where I would see or hear about these incredulous issues. With the accessibility of television, movies, and the technology-enabled world of computers and cell phones, it was difficult not to hear about cyberbullying, which often resulted in the consequences of suicide.

One afternoon I simply could no longer contain all the ugliness and devastation built up not only around me, but  also the emotional trauma tearing me apart internally, so I began reflexively to release some of the built-up pressure through writing. This writing became the first version of BIG BULLY HOLLY HOWLER. I did not know in advance the plot line, or know how many characters would be in the story, nor did I have a specific literary structure in mind. Everything came pouring out over the course of several hours. 

Eventually, I added a series of questions for parents and educators, as well as a poem entitled "Why Are You a Bully?" at the end of the book. We can discuss later the plot and major messages in the book. At this moment, however, I'd like to focus on providing a broader understanding of what it is to be a bully and how to prevent bullying.

Sue Roberts:
That sounds great. Let's start with a definition of the word bully.

Dr. Elana Ashley:
A bully is a person of any age who uses abusive language and/or abusive actions that are specifically intended to harm another person. Such words and/or behavior are not used only once, but are repeated over time with the purpose of continually hurting the targeted child or adult.

Sue Roberts:
In any bully situation, the major players are normally the bully and the victim.  Please explain the difference between a 'bystander' and an 'up-stander,' and how each can make a difference to the outcome. 

Dr. Elana Ashley:
Of course. A bystander witnesses a bully initiating a situation and does not try to help or alter the situation that he or she witnesses. This bystander may watch from a distance and observe, but chooses to remain totally uninvolved.

In another instance, a bystander may personally be frightened enough that he or she may become the next target. This could prompt a person to walk away, distance himself or herself completely from the situation, and never say anything about what he or she saw.

In contrast, the up-stander may witness the bullying situation, but decides to stand up and help the victim in some way. For example, if a situation appears to be strictly abusive verbally, an up-stander might move directly toward the bully and say loudly and clearly, "Stop talking that way."  He or she may then turn towards the victim and add something like, "Come on Charlie (or Veronica); let's go."  This example exemplifies a student who feels strong and confident. However, if, upon getting closer, the up-stander gets the feeling the bully may try to do something to gain greater control, the up-stander may understand that the less said, the better. Clearly, the longer someone remains in the presence of those whose sole purpose is to harm another, the more the chance becomes for something worse to happen.

Sue Roberts:
Why do people become bullies?

Dr. Elana Ashley:
A combination of factors creates the climates and environments in which we live. Involved in this are the interactions among the people in our families, our schools, our communities, and in the places in which we work, as well as those we view in the media. I'd like to focus on parents.

It is a parents' responsibility to provide a warm, loving, empathetic, and compassionate environment for their children.  Also, it is the parents' job to set up a system of rules for appropriate language use and proper behavior, as well as providing consistent supervision for their children that reflects their sense of right and wrong and moral code. Additionally, it is their responsibility to guard and maintain their children's health and safety.

If any of these three basic areas are ignored, problems undoubtedly will develop and manifest themselves quickly, especially when parents turn out to be bully role models themselves! When parents become overly permissive or do not provide the warmth and/or concern their children need on a regular basis, their children will seek appreciation from other siblings, family members, or students. Unfortunately, these people will sometimes want to demonstrate power and control over these insecure individuals. Most often, this power is exerted over those who are weaker and more vulnerable.

Sue Roberts:
Who are the targets that bullies choose as their victims?

Dr. Elana Ashley:
Since bullies want power and control over others, they most often choose people who are "different." Examples of people perceived as different include:

  • People with disabilities, special needs and those who face other challenges
  • Those who are quiet, shy, weak, small, short, underweight, overweight…
  • Those who wear clothing, boots and shoes, hair styles, and other items considered outside the accepted norm
  • Those with different religious beliefs who belong to different races, or have different nationalities or ethnic backgrounds

But because bullies can act impulsively, their victims may be randomly chosen, not fitting any particular outside group. They may include those of average height, those who are extremely beautiful or really smart, or may just be an average child or adult.

Sue Roberts:
What are the warning signs a parent should look for to determine if his/her son or daughter could be the victim of a bully?

Dr. Elana Ashley:
The warning signs of bullying include a tremendous variety of possibilities. My list will not be, by any means, complete and all-inclusive, but it should help you become aware. If you are wary and concerned, this list will allow you to be ready to follow through by speaking directly with your children based on what you observe and hear.

  • Physical indications of attack such as bruises and scratches
  • Internal, physical indications like complaints about having headaches, stomach aches, or other physical ailments
  • Physical signs that appear on a child's personal property, like unexplained clothing, damage or loss, or damage to other personal items
  • The sudden use of strange, unexpected, awkward gestures and body language that seem abnormal for this person
  • A sudden change in moods and feelings
  • A sudden complaint that nobody will talk to him or her at school
  • A shift to talking to himself or herself or suddenly being heard crying during the night
  • Problems appearing that involve eating, sleeping, and/or bed-wetting
  • A diminished interest in favorite activities
  • A decline in school achievement
  • A refusal to participate in activities with other students
  • A sudden isolation created by your child or by others – whether in the family or elsewhere
  • A loss of friends or changing friends
  • A change in route to go to school may indicate that he or she is trying to avoid a bully, as may also be the case of the child who purposely is trying to miss the school bus.
  • A child trying to fake illness to avoid going to school
  • Most horrifying is any indication that any child or adult might have thoughts regarding suicide. 

Sue Roberts:
What are the various types of bullying? Please suggest examples of each type.

Dr. Elana Ashley:
My focus is to target the children's age group for which my book is intended – kindergarten through third grade. Bullying categories for this age level falls into three major categories:

  • Verbal Bullying – This involves using abusive words to belittle, hurt, make someone feel they are incapable of learning, of advancing, of achieving any goals or dreams. One chosen word or several words can have devastating consequences for the targeted child. Comments like "You are stupid!" or "You are ugly! You can't do anything right!" or "You are a positive nerd!" can be very harmful.
  • Physical Bullying ─ This would involve a person who behaves in a physically abusive manner. This includes everything from scratching, pinching, slapping, hitting, heavier punching, pushing, pulling, shoving or kicking. In addition to abusive body movements, items can be used to cause extreme damage, like the use of a bat, a basketball, or any heavy item to cause physical damage and pain.
  • Social/Relational Bullying ─ This includes when a child is denied, refused or prevented from joining or participating in a group, like a sport or a game. This also could exclude a child being able to join others for lunch or another social activity. An additional type of social bullying is the spreading of rumors and gossiping.

Sue Roberts:
You introduced us to categories of bullying for particularly young children in elementary school. However, I would appreciate your sharing with us a few words about some of the subtler and, in fact, very ugly forms of bullying that  frequently occur in 4th through 6th grades and junior-high, but often can take on an even more devastating role in high school and college, as well as in the workplace.

Dr. Elana Ashley:
While my focus in programs is with younger children, I can definitely offer several comments about what students are beginning to experience in grades four to six and in junior-high. This includes the cyberbullying that often screams out loudly during the high school years. With the massive growth of technology, this has expanded to radio, television, the wireless world of computers, and to the realms of businesses and politics.

Cyberbullying is a form of repeated harassment which uses electronic devices and digital technologies to harm others. These forms of bullying especially include the use of the internet, telephone and cell phone, with specific techniques including e-mailing, instant messaging, blogging, and video and image sharing websites. These abusive attacks can take the form of spreading threats and/or rumors; sending out untrue statements damaging a person's reputation; e-mailing vicious messages and images to individuals or groups; stalking a victim with ugly, sexual messaging and deeply revealing personal photos and personal information, to name a few.  What a sad and mournful present existence for so many of us and our families, and this is a clear prediction of a frightening future for people throughout our planet.

The world needs more and more people who are ready to devote themselves to helping in any way they best know how to reach out to a chosen age group of children, adults and seniors, and use their skills and experience to help build a brighter future for people everywhere. My personal focus is helping to set young children on a positive path for growth, learning and fulfilling relationships.

Sue Roberts:
What is the importance of teaching children from an early age about bullying?

Dr. Elana Ashley:
Bullying must be taught to young children because evil is so prevalent in the hearts and minds of more and more people in the world today. Children must learn as early as possible how to deal with bullies, as well as how to lead a healthy, meaningful and joyful life.

I will interject here a recent, personal experience. When I was flying to New York on April 1st, 2017, I went to experience the unveiling of photos of myself, my children's books and my puppet storybook characters which would be revealed on two electronic, digital screens in Times Square on Monday, April 3rd, sometime during the day. Seeing is believing. So, I was sitting on a plane next to a very pleasant gentleman with whom I started having a conversation, and I shared with him the reason for my flight.  He told me about an incident with his preschool child who attended a school in Chicago. His child was being struck by another preschool boy, who was scratching and hitting his son's face to the point that blood poured down his cheeks. The man I spoke with was, in fact, out of state at the time that this had happened, but learned about it upon his return. In fact, he was able to view a video recorded the day of the abuse in his son's classroom. Watching the video, the father directly witnessed the abuse of his son that took place at the school. As if that was not horrible enough, he also saw that the teacher, who was present in the room at the time, remained seated, and did absolutely nothing!

In short, this illustrates how we must begin with the simplest tools to help our children cope with bullying situations. With much thought, parents need to build upon that base to create further strategies for handling such issues as our children grow. 

Sue Roberts:
Dr. Ashley, knowing that parents must wisely create a warm environment in their homes, I would like to ask you to repeat the three major responsibilities you mentioned earlier, but in a different context. I think these guidelines are an important foundation for parents to reference in order to raise healthy children.

Dr. Elana Ashley:
Absolutely.
#1 First and foremost, a parent's responsibility is to provide their children a warm and loving environment in which their children grow.
#2 It is equally important for both the mother and father to teach their children a moral sense ─ what behavior and language are right and wrong when it comes to the words they use talking with others and their behavior with others. It is only when all parents are sharing these basic, high ethical values and standards that society can build a world of friendship and peace.
#3 ─ Parents must make sure their homes are healthy and safe for their children. 
#4 ─ In addition, it is up to father and mother to teach their children anti-bullying strategies they can put into action when someone uses bad language or inappropriate, abusive behavior with them.   

Sue Roberts:
Suppose I learn that my child is a bully. What should I do?

Dr. Elana Ashley:
Use compassionate listening and calm talking with your child in order to get his or her help in explaining to you what has caused their bullying behavior.

If you are not successful in getting the truth out of your child, get the help of a mental health professional at your child's school or someone well-respected in your community.

If you get the truth from your child and learn that he or she has learned all they know from you, that you have been the model of bullying behavior, then you need to do some serious thinking about how you are going to change your own language and behavior in order to become the compassionate, supporting parents you had hoped to become.

Sue Roberts:
What is the most important thing that a parent should teach a child about bullying?

Dr. Elana Ashley:
The most important thing that a child needs to know is that NO ONE has the right to harm them with words or actions. So if a bully comes up to a child and starts saying bad things, one approach is to encourage your child to let the bully know exactly how he or she feels.

Sue Roberts:
Let's get into some specific strategies children can use to deal with different bullying situations. Please provide some suggestions.

Dr. Elana Ashley:
We will start with the simplest of situations – verbal abuse.
1st ─ If you want your son or daughter to take a strong stand and face the bully head on, then your child should look directly into the eyes of the bully, and without blinking, say loud and clear words that tell the bully exactly what your child thinks and exactly how your child feels. The following are only three examples of what could be said: ●Stop calling me names! ●Stop using those ugly words! ●Stop saying horrible things about me!
Usually bullies try to take advantage of people who they think are weak, quiet, shy, people who are afraid to talk back. By your child saying something loud and clear, it could surprise the bully, and the bully just might step back and move on to someone else the bully thinks he or she can take advantage of.
2nd ─ Your child always needs to keep in mind his or her own safety. Every situation is different. So, if your child is feeling fearful, he or she does NOT have to say anything. The important thing is for the child to leave immediately and as quickly as possible. The sooner you leave, the safer you are. Definitely walk or run away.
3rd ─ Definitely do NOT LISTEN to a bully who says, "You better not tell anyone about this." It is extremely important that you report what happened. If this happens at a school, the child should report the full information to a counselor, social worker, teacher or principal, providing the name of the bully, what he or she said or did, when it happened and exactly what happened.
4th ─ I suggest parents further keep a personal journal of all such reports and information.

Sue Roberts:
Dr. Ashley, parents come from so many different backgrounds. Clearly, these different backgrounds strongly affect the types of rules that parents establish for their own children. How do we as parents accommodate or deal with these differences?

Dr. Elana Ashley:
As you already indicated, those different backgrounds determine how parents themselves act and what they use to model correct, behavioral responses. The parents reading these words should be teaching their children what is RIGHT AND APPROPRIATE IN THEIR OWN EYES, IN THEIR OWN HEARTS, if a bully attempts to strike their children. Consequently, parental responses vary:

  • Some parents may tell their child to say nothing.
  • Other parents tell their children not to use bad language in reply or not to strike back.
  • I personally feel that a child definitely has the right to try to push the bully off of his/her body if the bully has initiated physical contact.
  • Anything further is based on the particular circumstances and what parents have taught their children as appropriate for further action.
  • In contrast, other parents see to it that their children take self-defense classes so that they have the physical know-how to defend themselves.
  • Schools should definitely be providing programs dealing with bullying prevention and anti-bullying strategies.
  • Parents definitely should be reaching out to participate in programs focusing on anti-bullying techniques to better equip themselves for helping their son or daughter at their children's school or in their community.             
  • Fathers and mothers have to decide on the rules they will encourage their children to follow should such a situation happen – what to tell their child to do if the bully is using vicious language or going beyond that, and being physically abusive.

An Important Note:
If something happens, it should NOT be kept as a secret. A trustworthy family member, outside friend or adult must be told, and such person needs to support and provide help for the victim so such behavior is not allowed to continue!

Sue Roberts:
Earlier, you discussed strategies for parents to use in bullying situations. Could you expand upon that discussion by offering additional, helpful ideas as to how parents can handle situations in which they discover that their child is not the victim, but, in fact, the perpetrator in this negative situation?

Dr. Elana Ashley:
I definitely can add to my previous thoughts related to the situation in which a parent discovers that his child is the bully. For starters, if you learn from teachers, other parents or other children that your child is bullying students at school, you need to use your time wisely before engaging in a direct conversation with your child who is a perpetrator of bullying behavior.

  • First, before speaking directly with your child, you and your spouse need to think carefully about whether another sibling in the family, or a friend of yours who frequents your house, are modeling bullying behavior.
  • Second, if, as you consider this issue carefully, you recognize yourselves as potential catalysts promoting bullying behavior, you better get smarter with the language you use with your children and the actions you are taking to get across wise information and suggestions. It is up to you to be able to establish in your child a sense of right and wrong behavior.
  • Third, if your child comes home and openly tells you that he or she has been acting like a bully at school, you have to keep yourself as calm as possible since the first words you utter, the first tone of your voice, your immediate gestures and bodily responses need to be kept in control so that you show your child you have his or her best interests from the get-go. No doubt ─ easier said than done! Especially when something like this might happen so suddenly.
  • Fourth, when you speak with the child who has been a bully, talk quietly and with compassion, and make sure your child speaks only of his/her role in the bullying incident Not about anyone else. Speaking with your child should include some of the following questions:
    • Did you understand why you were acting that way?
    • Do you recall: Did you intend to hurt the student?
    • Did you think that what you did was right or wrong?
    • What could you have done instead?
    • Have you done this before, and if so, why?
    • What do you think your choices are now?

Ideally, the best scenario of your parent-child discussion should lead to the child taking responsibility for his/her actions and acknowledging the hurt that was caused to the bullied student.

Sue Roberts:
Suppose the parent is unable to get to the root of the problem. What does the parent do then?

Dr. Elana Ashley:
1st, it becomes crucial that the parent personally speak with a counselor or social worker at your child's school to understand and eliminate the internal issues.
2nd, once the root of the bullying is clear, the counselor can help brainstorm possible ways for the bully to achieve what he or she may have originally wanted.

Sue Roberts:
How can parents empower themselves and their children to stand up to a bully?

Dr. Elana Ashley:
TRAINING IN SELF-ESTEEM is an important ingredient
Children and adults need to build up their self-esteem, build up their self-confidence.
They need to focus on positive thinking and the use of positive vocabulary to express their thoughts and feelings.
They need to develop an INTERNAL POWER, AN INTERNAL STRENGTH.
For example, say to yourself out loud [and believe it when you say it]: "I am worthy, valuable, and talented. I can use my skills and techniques to be successful. I can be a Winner. Just watch me!"
Put that belief in yourself into action when you need it. That is the KEY. That is the GOLDEN KEY. That is SPLUNKEY'S GOLDEN KEY THAT HE OFFERS YOU WHEN HE JOINS ME IN THE PRESENTATION OF WORKSHOPS FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS. Such workshops are provided in the areas of

  1. Building Positive Self-Esteem
  2. Conflict Resolution
  3. Understanding and Using Anti-Bullying Strategies

Sue Roberts:
How about focusing on your children's book ─ BIG BULLY HOLLY HOWLER. Share with us the most important messages from the book you most want people to remember.

Dr. Elana Ashley:
At the end of the book, there is a picture with the storybook character Splunkey, who stands proud and tall with his message for people of all ages: "To make a friend ─ you need to be a friend!" And that message is based on the understanding that all people must choose to use the highest of human and humane values ─ including such values as compassion, kindness, honesty, support, loyalty, respect and dignity ─ when they communicate and interact with others, and only through such use of language and behavior will people be able to live in a world of friendship and peace.

Sue Roberts:
What features make your book a unique and invaluable resource for children, families, educators, and other mental health professionals?

Dr. Elana Ashley:
1st, my children's book BIG BULLY HOLLY HOWLER teaches the importance of high values and positive, strong character as in Splunkey's message "To make a friend – you need to be a friend!"
2nd, the storybook characters are animal puppets [3 to 5 feet in height] who talk very openly and honestly. By my using animal puppets as the storybook characters, the issues of race, religion, nationality and ethnic background are eliminated. Further, puppets are a wonderful medium to use for they share their thoughts, feelings, and ideas simply and directly.
3rd, the settings of the story take place in real life settings – in a school, in the real out-of-doors, and in a real home. In the story, puppets are living children's lives and presenting real-life struggles of friendship and bullying in a real school setting. And children feel comfortable and familiar with real-life settings.
4th, the English-Spanish edition, La gran abusiva Holly Howler, has the double text side-by-side, so that the readers can learn individual words, phrases and sentences either in Spanish, English or both. Whether using the English edition or the English-Spanish edition, family members can sit and read together at home, becoming the voices and personalities of the eight puppet storybook characters. And, of course, this dramatic group role play can be used in the classroom, or even used in a business office or business workshop.
5th, as another unique feature, I chose Ellie Elephant, the major target of Bully Holly Howler, to be the one responsible for creating the major transformation that takes place – it is through the wisdom and advice of Splunkey, as well as Ellie Elephant's smart thinking and common sense, that Ellie is able to transform the Bully Holly Howler into a friend! Ellie first comes to recognize the need to change how she herself has been thinking, talking and acting, and then building a new action plan which creates a positive outcome. Children learn from Ellie the importance of being strong and courageous. Read the book and find out how she accomplishes the transformation.
6th, a final unique feature which appears following the story is the use of Questions for Educators and Parents, as well as the poem "Why are you a Bully?" The questions and the poem provide a broader understanding of what the story is about, and opens up the multiple issues that are presented in the story as kick-offs for discussion and role-play for people of all ages and all backgrounds. These valuable resources of information and messages are important for families to share together, for students and teachers to discuss together, for a large group of student peers to enjoy and talk about together, and even for business associates to talk about with one another.

Sue Roberts:
To learn more about your children's book series, entitled SPLUNKUNIO SPLUNKEY DETECTIVE AND PEACEMAKER, as well as about your recent book BIG BULLY HOLLY HOWLER, please share with us your website?

Dr. Elana Ashley:
I happily invite you to visit my website: www.DrElanaAshley.com 

Sue Roberts:
How can schools, libraries, PTOs, youth organizations and others who are interested get in touch with you about your books, as well as about the programs you offer for children & parents?

Dr. Elana Ashley:
For the purchase of books, you can visit Dream Image Press Book Store located at the end of my website. You can send written requests for personally, autographed books or send other questions to: [email protected]

Sue Roberts:
What closing thought would you like to offer?

Dr. Elana Ashley:
Only when we are open, honest and direct, and show respect and dignity as we interact, can we build a world of peace.

(End of interview.)

Strathmore's Who's Who recently announced they will again honor educator and author Elana Ashley, PhD, Industry Leader in Education and Entertainment, 2018 - 2019. As a result, the interview above was ordered in an effort to help spread Dr. Elana Ashley's message about bullying and her latest book, Big Bully Holly Howler. The interview will appear on Strathmore's Who's Who website, https://strathmore-ltd.com/, in January 2018. An article about Ashley's interview also will appear in Issue 1, Volume 1 of America's Magazine, a special new publication created, produced and distributed entirely by the Strathmore & America's Registry publishing conglomerate. Strathmore first bestowed the title of Industry Leader on Dr. Ashley in 2017, along with the title of Professional of the Year in Education and Entertainment. America's Registry of Outstanding Professionals also has honored Ashley both years with the title of Professional of the Year in Education and Entertainment – Anti-Bullying Programs. 

Ashley attracted Strathmore's attention through her Spanish/English bullying book, Big Bully Holly Howler. They were also attracted by the messages of her previous children's book, The Missing Friendship Bracelet. Both works are extremely valuable resources not only for children, parents, and teachers, but also for mental health professionals and their clients, as well as adults who are concerned with the importance of high, humane values as the foundation for the communication and interaction of people throughout the world and throughout their lives within their homes, communities, businesses and the political arena.

The Missing Friendship Bracelet targets the themes of friendship, teamwork, conflict resolution and the problem of loss; it comes with a CD, as well as a Teaching Guide for Educators and Parents. Ashley's second book, Big Bully Holly Howler, deals directly with bullying situations and anti-bullying strategies by emphasizing teamwork and friendship.

When Elana Ashley first came to Chicago from Maryland, she was invited to conduct a series ofchild abuse prevention educational programs for Highland Park Hospital (IL) as part of their licensed health and safety program series called KidSafe®. During these programs, which included police force and fire department presentations, Ashley and her puppets helped communicate safety messages to elementary students, providing them with strategies for coping with abusive issues in the home, the school, and the outside community. This led her to further educational efforts in the field of child abuse prevention, leading to the creation of additional programs for drug education, character and self-esteem development, as well as conflict resolution and bullying prevention programs for children and parents. Over more than two decades, Ashley has worked with more than 250 public and private schools in Chicago, as well as in schools in nearby suburbs.

About Strathmore's Who's Who

Strathmore's Who's Who publishes an annual two thousand page hard cover biographical registry, honoring successful individuals in the fields of Business, the Arts and Sciences, Education, Law, Engineering and Government.  Based on one's position and lifetime of accomplishments, we honor professional men and women in all academic areas and professions. Inclusion is limited to individuals who have demonstrated leadership and achievement in their occupation, industry or profession. The Times Square appearance is given to the individual who has demonstrated consistent excellence in their career. The visual celebration of this individual will be displayed on digital screens at the venerable and historical 3 Times Square, New York, one of the busiest and most high profile landmarks in the nation. Dr. Elana Ashley was honored with a Times Square Appearance ─ photos of the author, her books and her puppets were displayed on two electronic screens in Times Square, April 3 - 6, 2017.

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