What Happens Next

By Susan Hughes and Carey Sookocheff

From 4 to | 40 pages

What Happens Next is a raw, realistic story told by an unnamed protagonist who feels different from everybody else, like she doesn’t quite fit in. Bullied by a girl at school, our narrator gives a terse script of the related facts (What Her Friends Do: Laugh. What Everyone Else Does: Nothing.) and emotions (How I Feel Sometimes: Bad. Really Bad.).

She takes these hurt feelings home, where Mom listens and offers some ideas. At school the next day, the narrator confronts the bully by spinning her “weirdo” obsession with science into an opportunity to find common ground, and maybe help the bully see the world in a new way.

Spare illustrations in a limited palette of blues and greens convey feeling alone even in the hustle and bustle of a crowded schoolyard. Graphic novel–style panels set a steady pace for the emotional impact of this important story that doesn’t simplify the realities of feeling like an outsider. It’s a powerful starting point for discussions of emotions, empathy, and how we relate to others.
What Happens Next is the type of picture book that comes along every now and then and stops you in your tracks. I was really impressed with the whole package – the unique telling of the story, as well as the design of the book... A truly multi-levelled story that will resonate with anyone who has been bullied, belittled or felt like an outsider.” - Tinlids, Inc.
“A simple, straightforward account of the way bullying takes place and an approach that puts the power in the children's hands. I think it will be a popular book and one that will give rise to lots of discussion.”

- Vancouver Kidsbooks
“This book’s perfect, emotionally healthy message is expressed with enough precision that it might help a real child to be brave too; or, it might guide a parent’s successful intervention. I hope so. I’d encourage librarians to give their patrons the opportunity of reading this important book." - Library Bound Inc.
"The way the story is told makes it really accessible to older kids and younger kids... The ending is true and not neatly 'tied up with a bow'. Like real life." - The York School
"An innovative question-and-answer dialogue format and the subtle use of color to convey emotions impart a positive message perfect for children, teens, and families dealing with bullying who just might need a new way of looking that is hopeful, heartfelt, and honest." - Foreword Reviews
"A powerful reminder to children that even if we seem completely different, we have enormous commonalities that bind us." - School Library Journal
"This title is not a cure-all, but it offers a starting point for an important talk in either a family or a classroom setting." - Booklist

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