Never Say a Mean Word Again A Tale from Medieval Spain by Jacqueline Jules

Never Say a Mean Word Again A Tale from Medieval Spain

Written by Jacqueline Jules
Illustrated by Durga Yael Bernhard


Never Say a Mean Word Again A Tale from Medieval Spain by Jacqueline Jules

No one ignores the grand vizier. The most important advisor in the royal court, he was considered the wisest man in the kingdom. He was also Samuel's father. Make sure Hamza never says a mean word to you again, he had ordered Samuel. What should Samuel do? He couldn't disobey his father. But how would he make sure that Hamza never insulted him again? Perhaps train a monkey to hold Hamza's lips closed, or give him some lemon juice to make his mouth pucker? Inspired by a powerful legend of conflict resolution in Muslim Spain, Never Say a Mean Word Again is the compelling story of a boy who is given permission to punish an enemy. What will he do?


Inspired by a legend about a Jewish vizier who advised the Muslim ruler of medieval Spain, this story tells of a conundrum faced by a boy named Samuel and the counterintuitive wisdom of his father, the vizier. After Samuel accidentally offends Hamza, the tax collector's son, and incurs endures his rage ('Donkey Brain! Stupid! Look what you did!'), Samuel's father instructs him, 'Make sure Hamza never says a mean word to you again.

-such as the boys

-Bernhard's (Around the World in One Shabbat) illustrations convey an elegant, multicultural castle environment. Energy and movement infuse the paintings, which humorously render Samuel's contemplated strategies ('Maybe he could train a monkey to sit on Hamza's shoulders. The monkey could clamp Hamza's lips shut'). Jules's (the Zapato Power series) down-to-earth narrative communicates Samuel's subtle internal transformation as the unexpected, amusing, and touching outcomes of his attempts to obey his father turn a power struggle into a budding friendship. Ages 4-8. Publishers Weekly A story of bullying, acceptance, and friendship, Never Say a Mean Word Again is a delightful account of turning meanness and rudeness into kindness and friendship... A moral tale of friendship, Never Say a Mean Word Again: A Tale from Medieval Spain, has an admirable story guided by marvelous illustrations that will inspire children and adults. Foreword Reviews

About the Author

Jacqueline Jules is the author of over two dozen books for children including the award-winning Zapato Power series and Unite or Die: How Thirteen States Became a Nation. A former school librarian and teacher, Jacqueline enjoys visiting schools to share her passion for reading and writing. She is a word person, who loves rearranging words on the page, the same way people have fun fitting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together. She lives in Arlington, Va. Durga Yael Bernhard was raised in New York's Hudson Valley and began painting at the age of 13. Ms. Bernhard is the illustrator of numerous award-winning children's books, including fiction and non-fiction, natural science titles and multicultural folktales. Ms. Bernhard is also a children's teacher of Hebrew, Judaics, and illustration. She lives in the Catskill Mountains in New York.

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Book Info


32 pages


Jacqueline Jules
More books by Jacqueline Jules


World Wisdom Books

Publication date

21st June 2014



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