My Books!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big Fat Loser: A Book About Bullying

My guest today has written a book on a timely subject: bullying. Let's see what she has to say.

1.Why did you choose to write a book on this subject?

My daughter, a school counselor, suggested I write a book about bullying because she sees it all to often in her dealings with high school students. As a lifelong educator, I’ve also seen first-hand how deeply bullying affects children. I believed that writing books on the topic would help kids and their parents learn how to cope with the problem. Blue Cheese Breath and Stinky Feet: How to Deal with Bullies, my first book about bully prevention published by the American Psychological Association, gives children practical tips on what to do if a bully bothers them.


Since that time, I’ve written Real Life Bully Prevention for Real Kids, a book for teachers to use in bully prevention programs. Who Says Bullies Rule? offers parents concrete advice on how to help their kids deal with bullying issues. My latest book, Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser: A Book About Bullying, chronicles the story of a high school freshman bullied by his peers. It’s set in an urban high school and features a protagonist who lives with his father and grandmother in an apartment atop the family business, a funeral home. Elliot’s parents are divorced and his mother, a would-be commercial actress, lives on the west coast. When I wrote this book, I tried to put in something for all age groups: kids, parents, and grandparents. Along these lines, it includes a sub-plot about Elliot’s grandmother finding love late in life. Out of all the books I’ve written on the topic, I feel the deepest connection to this one.

2.Do you know anyone who has been bullied?

I‘ve known many friends who’ve been bullied, and I once experienced a bullying episode in school. I think at one time or another everyone has dealt with bullying. Even as we grow older, bullying pops up in our lives. There’s evidence of bullying in the workplace and in retirement communities. The question is “How can we effectively start to stamp out bullying?” My books address this question and offer some user-friendly ideas for kids, parents, and teachers to help kids cope with this major societal problem.


 3.Do you think it's possible to ever stop bullying?

I seriously wonder if it’s possible to eradicate it completely. However, we have to start somewhere. I think the best place to begin is the home. Parents need to point out the dangers of bullying others, and they need to keep the lines of communication open with their children. It’s also important for the extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.,) to let kids know that they can come to them any time with a problem. It’s also vital for parents to be constantly aware of their children’s cell phone and Internet usage to help inform them if their kids are being bullied or bullying others. It’s not spying; it’s just common sense to know what’s going on in your child’s life.


4.How do you think schools and parents can help with this problem?

Parents and schools need to work together to prevent and stop bullying. If they cooperate with one another in helping bullied children, they will find answers. The school staff needs to learn how to identify these kids and how to help remedy situations as they arise. Most important, parents need to know how to navigate the school system to get results when their children face bullying. I explain exactly how to do this in Who Says Bullies Rule. The most important thing to remember is that no one can fight bullying alone. It must be a team effort.

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.


“Help–I can’t breathe–let me out. Somebody help...”


I pounded the inside of the musty supply closet until my knuckles turned blue. Did anybody even have the key?


What if they don’t come? What if I’m trapped here all night?


I could hear loud voices and laughing, so I knew Kyle Canfield and one of his friends from the basketball team were there, waiting to see if I would cave in and plead for mercy.


The bell blared. Classes changed. Kids stampeded through the halls. Then, silence.


Finally I heard someone shout, “I’ve got the key, Doc.” 


“Thanks, Duke,” Doc Greely, the assistant principal, said to Mr. Boardly, the man who’d sprung me loose.


Mr. Boardly, the head custodian, better known as Duke, offered me his arm, and I stumbled out of the closet. He was as thin as his mop handle, but all muscle–no flab like me. A scruffy white beard covered half his face.


He slammed the closet door shut and bolted the lock. “One of the hall guards reported noise coming from this area. We came as soon as we heard.”


Duke patted my shoulder. “Let me know if I can help, Elliot.” I could hear his keys clanging as he walked down the hall humming “Duke of Earl,” that old sixties song he loved. That’s where he got his nickname.


“Up to their old tricks again, Elliot?” Doc asked on the way to his office.
Author Information
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, 101 Easy Ways for Women to De-Stress, Reinvent, and Fire Up Your Life in Retirement,appeared on the market in March, 2014.
Visit her website at
Facebook Author Page:
Fire Up Your Life: 101 Ways for Women to Reinvent Themselves
Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser: A Book About Bullying
Excuse Me, Your Participle’s Dangling: How to Use Grammar to Make Your Writing Powers Soar
Who Says Bullies Rule?: Common Sense Tips to Help Your Child Cope
Hi, God, It’s Me: e-prayers for teenage girls
Real Life Bully Prevention for Real Kids
In Your Face, Pizza Face: A Girl’s Bully-Busting Book                                                                                                                          
101 Ways to Help Preschoolers Excel in Reading, Writing, and Speaking
Quick and Easy Grammar Games to Boost Writing Power
Blue Cheese Breath and Stinky Feet: How to Deal with Bullies
Hi, God, It’s Me: e-prayers for Teenage Boys
Ready, Get Set, Go, Grammar!
Grammar Workout: Twenty-Eight Lessons, Exercises, and Activities to Jumpstart Your Writing
 Catherine will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  You can find her schedule at


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Anonymous said...

Love the excerpt! Bullying is a serious problem these days.

Catherine DePino said...

Thanks, Kerry, for taking the time to write. It's going to take a lot to make an impact on the problem because it's getting more serious as time goes on. But we can try to help make it better for as many kids as we can. Please let me know what you think of my book if you read it.

Popple said...

I, too, agree that bully prevention has to start in the home. Start from the cradle up, making it known that it's not okay to bully people into giving up a favorite toy. At the same time, let them know that you're always willing to listen.
I've read and seen bullying in the work place. Fortunately diversity training helps with this. I've never heard about bullying in retirement communities and would like to understand more about it.
Thanks for a great post. ~ Barbara of the Balloons

Kathy Heare Watts said...

There was a time that families were more involved in their children's lives, friends, school and activities. Bullying isn't new but I think between the lack of morals on TV, we have lost so much. Kids hear things at home and decide it's ok for my parents, surely it is ok for me. My son was bullied on the bus and the driver just watched. She acted shocked when we took it to the school board. But knocking a kid down and kicking repeatedly in the stomach is serious. Our school that our grandchildren go to have a week at the beginning of the year teaching about bullying. Talking and listening is critical. If a child or even an adult says something about it, we need to listen and act to protect that individual.

Catherine DePino said...

Barbara of the Balloons, that's great advice. It would be wonderful if more kids would talk to their parents and vice versa. However, everything is so fast-paced now with parents worrying about making a living and kids totally absorbed in electronic games and the Internet. If parents and kids made a little time each day to touch base, it would go a long way in preventing bullying and other problems kids encounter. And yes, we've seen it in the workplace, even among so-called professionals who act like they're back on the schoolyard playing out their aggressions on one another. I've seen bullying going on in retirement communities. Again, it's like some of the residents are back in school where petty jealousies and vying for attention can make bullying rear its ugly head.

Catherine DePino said...

Heare2Watts: Thanks for posting! I'm so sorry about what happened with your son. And that bus driver's reaction was unconscionable! You did the right thing in taking it to the school board. I talk a lot in my parenting book, Who Says Bullies Rule, about navigating the school system to get results when a child faces bullying. No one should ever have to put up with the terrible scars that bullying leaves. There's always something kids and parents can do to get relief. You just have to know where to look. Education is the key.

You've made some excellent points. Thank you!

Mary Preston said...

A great post thank you.


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