Back-To-School Should Not Mean Back-To-Bullying

While shopping for new folders and new shoes are on the top of our back-to-school shopping lists, the social challenges that our kids may encounter this year are not included. Some of the least coveted parts of any school environment are the “mean girls” or “mean boys” in the classroom. Yes, this can happen even in the nicest of schools. I have seen it.

I’ll never forget when my daughter came home from school and told me about the “mean girls” in her class. Really?? I thought to myself, but that family is so lovely! I realized that even in a religious school, bullying does happen. I was not prepared and my heart sank every day when she would come home crying. I didn’t know where or who to turn to. I just cried along with her. Things changed when I learned about the Captain McFinn and Friends book series at the New York Book Expo this past June.

Thanks to Captain McFinn and Friends Book, a colorful series is here for us all. It is the perfect tool for  parents to share with young children grades K-3.  Teaching children how to recognize bullying and protect themselves against it at an early age, will  have a positive impact on them for life. I can’t tell you how important this is to me.

As kids step into their new shoes and school supplies this month, Captain McFinn will introduce S.H.A.R.K. Patrol, an anti-bullying educational program for teachers to educate K-3 students how to recognize bullying, and protect themselves and others against it.  S.H.A.R.K. (Students Help Achieve Respect and Kindness) Patrol was developed by accredited educators to prevent bullying by reinforcing positive behavior.  The program offers educators tools for themselves, students and parents, such as storybooks, complete lesson plans, puppets, sing-a-long CD, posters, stickers and more.  Items will be sold as a complete kit or separately; perfect for any district or classroom budget.

That’s not all! October is now officially Anti-Bullying Month  Children, parents, teachers, school administrators, and camp staff will all enjoy and benefit from this collection of books and activities which includes 3 hard and soft cover books, an activity book, sing-a-long music CD composed by award-winning songwriter Terry Sampson, and educational materials for teachers, parents and the classroom.  eBooks for NOOK, iBook, Kindle and mobile and tablet applications for Android and Apple’s iOS platforms will also be available for back-to-school.

‘Be a Buddy, Not a Bully’ is the underlying theme of this book series.  According to the National Association of Elementary School Principals, bullying has become a national epidemic with an estimated 18 million children in the U.S. being bullied each year; negative feelings from being bullied account for 3 million student absences each month. Educators agree it is critical to educate kids about anti-bullying when they are young to discourage this negative trend.

Captain McFinn and Friends was created by Phyllis Cafaro, with inspiration from her grandchildren.   In 2006, she began her journey to teach important life lessons to children through fictional stories and music.  Her goal is to initiate positive changes in children everywhere.

“My ultimate goal with Captain McFinn and Friends is to make the world a better place in which to live, one child (and fish) at a time,” says Phyllis Cafaro, author and founder of the Captain McFinn and Friends series. “Bullying in schools is a major issue nationwide, occurring on a daily basis. No parent, grandparent, or educator wants children to feel unsafe at school, because schools should be a place for learning, fun, and friendship.”

My kids fell in love with this series as soon as I brought them home. The colors and layout of this engaging 3 book series also includes an activity book with stickers, sing-a-long audio CD, mobile apps, eBooks and a wide variety of educational materials perfect for every educator’s budget. Here is what is included:

New to hit shelves – Captain McFinn and Friends Rock!: The day Captain McFinn and his Undersea Friends start a band, they learn about more than just making great music. When Bella feels left out, it takes some extra Finn Power to get everybody ready for the big contest. Will hard work and friendship win the prize, or will Tox and the Barracuda Brothers ruin the fun?

The Legend of Captain McFinn and Friends: In this story we are introduced to the friendly black tip shark, Captain McFinn, who was once one of the biggest bullies on Sandy Dusty Reef.  He meets the Undersea Friends who teach him, through kindness, that being a friend is always better than being a bully.  Captain McFinn transforms from bully to leader and protector of the Sandy Dusty Reef.

Captain McFinn and Friends Meet Coral Rose: Captain McFinn and Friends go on an adventure of discovery when they stumble upon a new paradise where they meet their newest friend, Princess Coral Rose – The Princess Between the Tides.

Captain McFinn and Friends “Finn-tastic” Activity and Sticker Book: This fun-filled activity book, which ties into the series, includes connect-the-dots, coloring pages, stickers, mazes, matching pictures, word searches and more!

Captain McFinn and Friends Mobile App and eBook will be available as a free download this fall for all iOS and Android platforms, Barnes and Noble NOOK and Amazon Kindle devices.

Captain McFinn and Friends ‘Come Along With The Friend-Ship Band’: This sing-a-long music CD is packed with 14 upbeat and catchy songs that young children, teachers and friends can dance and sing-a-long with and find out what all the fish are tapping their fins to! The songs were produced and written by award winning songwriter, Terry Sampson, whose other work includes Angelina Ballerina and Winnie The Pooh.

The entire Captain McFinn and Friends series is available online at, and also at the major online retailers and  The retail prices for the hard cover books are $17.99 and the soft cover books are priced at $9.99.  The music CD retail price is $9.99 and the activity book costs $5.99.

Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from Captain McFinn and Friends product sales will benefit the Captain McFinn Foundation, which supports a variety of children’s charities. Now, this is a brand I am in love with!

I am so happy that bullying is not something ignored or put to the side these days. I feel so much better now that I can reach for a book that will help not only my children combat bullying, but that there is also the S.H.A.R.K. Patrol is available for teachers to educate K-3 students how to recognize bullying, and protect themselves and others against it. The fact is that bullying can happen anywhere, even in religious schools. I know, I’ve seen it!

Check out Captain McFinn and Friends online at They are also on Facebook, subscribe to their feed and get the latest news on anti-bullying. School days should be the best days for our children! It just takes one bully to take that away!

Disclaimer: I received the Captain McFinn and Friends book and CD to review. The opinions in this post are my own. I also received compensation for my representation of Captain McFinn and Friends at the Niche Mommy Conference in August 2012.


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