Shaler couple's book aims to teach students how to handle bullies
By Bethany Hofstetter
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
One Shaler Township couple hopes a group of vegetables can spread an anti-bullying message in their new book.
Melissa and Dave Survinski of Shaler wrote and illustrated “Brock Lee and the Lunchbox League,” which aims to teach readers in the third through fifth grades about standing up to bullies, friendship, and the importance of nutrition and school.
In the story, Brock Lee, a martial-arts-trained broccoli stalk, and the Lunchbox League — which includes Dr. Nan, the banana; Celea, the celery; and Zuice, a juice box — help Felix deal with bully Ozzie through words and not violence. They also show Felix the importance of eating well and studying in school while showing him the best ways to combat bullies by taking on their own bullies, Captain Snacks and his Sugar Crew.
In the end, Felix learns to like vegetables and becomes friends with Ozzie.
The self-published book is available for purchase at Amazon.com for $14.99.
Melissa, a Latin teacher in the Hampton Township School District, is involved in the district's storytelling club at the middle school and is part of the bullying-prevention advisory program at the middle school. She came up with the idea for the book, which is to stand up for oneself with words and not violence, from her work at the school district.
“The children's books I've seen focused on one theme … I struggled to find one that combined all of those things with characters that weren't huge superheroes,” Melissa said.
“I think it brings all of these themes into a nice package in a way they (children) can relate to it … and we wanted vegetables to be fun.”
“And likeable,” Dave added.
Dave, a software engineer for Westinghouse Electric Co., helped his wife revise the story and then used his graphic-design background to reproduce Melissa's clay creations of the characters as pencil sketches and finally manipulated them in Photoshop, a photo-editing software, to create the illustrations for the book.
“She had come up with a good story, so I wanted to take it to completion,” Dave said.
The Survinskis started working on the project together shortly after they got married in October 2011, and Melissa and Dave encouraged each other to create the published product. They now have plans to turn the book into a series featuring Brock Lee and other characters.
“It started off as a project the two of us wanted to work on and became a lot bigger than that,” Melissa said. “We really want to get it out to kids now.”
Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.