It's back ...

An updated edition of the award-winning novel by Patricia McCord (writing as Pat Mauser McCord)


A Bundle of Sticks

"The popularity of the subject, the writing style, and the drawings ... suggest the book's appeal to reluctant readers."
--Aug 1982 Horn Book

"Ben develops self-confidence, and inner peace which enable him to stand up for his rights and the rights of others."
--A 1983 selection for "Children's Books of the Year"

"Readers will be pulling for Ben to really whip the detestable Boyd as (Mauser) leads them and Ben carefully into a showdown."
--May, 1982 School Library Journal

"Mauser's ‘boy vs. bully' theme is familiar but enhanced by the Eastern philosophies that offer interesting perspectives on the problem." --July, 1982 Booklist

Winner of The Mark Twain Award, The Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award and The Washington State Governor's Award


Published by Turtle Press

Ben Tyler hates to fight and Boyd Bradshaw knows it. When Boyd makes Ben eat mud at the bus stop, Ben's father decides that it's time for him to learn to defend himself. The thought of learning to fight makes Ben's stomach hurt, but he's willing to try anything to stop Boyd's bullying. When Ben discovers that he won't have to smash boards or throw people across the room, he decides that his Kajukenbo lessons might not be so bad. But even with his new self-defense skills, Ben doesn't believe he can stand up to Boyd until the day the bully kicks Ben's dog. Not only does Ben overcome his fears, he discovers a new kind of strength, one that was inside him all along.

Written for children ages 9 and up, A Bundle of Sticks is an honest, funny and sometimes painful look at how one boy overcomes his fears and stands up to the schoolyard bully.

Order A Bundle of Sticks from Turtle Press, Booksense,, or your local bookseller.

Also available as an Ebook.


A Message from the Author for Parents and Teachers

Back in the 1980’s, when A Bundle of Sticks was first published, I could not have imagined the degree of bullying that would be tormenting our children a quarter of a century later. Who would have believed that teasing could lead to murder or that the word ‘fag’ could incite a normally nice kid to turn violent in defense of his manhood?

The original version of A Bundle of Sticks was enormously popular among boys who were afraid to go to school, or who suffered from damaged self-esteem simply because someone had declared himself lord of the school grounds. But the book was also popular among boys and girls who could not be described as classic victims, some of whom believed their only choices were to bully or be bullied.

What A Bundle of Sticks seemed to give readers was a path for defending themselves without descending into the world of violence themselves. That path of course was martial arts, and hundreds of letters from readers told me that the book had hit a nerve.

A Bundle of Sticks has now been updated for the new generation, but its simple message remains: When you know you can fight, you won’t have to, as Sifu told Ben Tyler. His wisdom, coupled with martial arts know-how, enabled Ben to graduate from fear and shame into the sunny place we once called childhood.

-- Patricia McCord, September 2004


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