MADISON, Wis.– When you think about the power of words and the ability they have to help or hurt us, you’ll understand why 10-year-old Jaia David is telling kids to look at words differently.
“After all I am D.U.M.B. D-delightful, U-unique, M-magnificent, and B-beautiful,” said Jaia.
The Madison fifth-grader wrote the book I am F.A.T. The picture book helps kids rethink the horrible words they hear when bullied by creating acronyms.
“A lot of people say that it’s impacted their life for the better,” said Jaia.
It’s a technique called reframing. For example the word fat, found in the title of the book, can be broken down into F-fabulous, A-awesome, and T-terrific.
“It’s simply taking something negative and you put it in a positive light,” said Jaia’s mother, and co-author of I am F.A.T., Tondra Davis.
Jaia said she was the victim of bullying at Elvehjem Elementary School. Girls in Jaia’s class called her fat, tattletale and lame.
“They just said words that I can’t even describe how they hurt me,” said Jaia.
Jaia’s family and the school got involved, which ended the bullying, but Jaia’s mom said I am F.A.T. was a way to lift her self-esteem.
Jaia represents about one-in-four kids. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports depending on a child’s age up to 30 percent of student have experienced bullying, and more than 70 percent have witnessed it.
While Jaia’s book may not stop kids from saying mean words, reframing will help kids take those word and instead of feeling crushed they can pick themselves up.
“If they ever call me fat again I’ll be like, ‘Oh thank you! Have a nice day,’” said Jaia.