Frends01.jpg (29650 bytes)Hugs

     We've just read a story called Willie's Not the Hugging Kind by Joyce Durham Barrett.  We spent a lot of time talking about the characters and the problem (Willie's best friend Jo-Jo thinks hugging is silly, so Willie stops hugging his family).  Read our letters to Willie to find out how we feel about hugging and what advice we had for him.

 

 

Dear Willie,
Tell Jo-Jo that all people are different. Some people just need hugs, even grownups. Don't listen to Jo-Jo. Just go on and hug someone. You might feel better. Hugs show that you love people.
Love,
Melissa

Dear Willie,
I think that hugs are nice and warm. You should keep on hugging if it makes you feel better. If you see Jo-Jo and he says hugging is silly, you should just ignore him Jo-Jo doesn't know how a hug is and feels.
Your friend,
Robert

Dear Willie,
If I were you I would tell Jo-Jo hugging feels safe and good. ''If you don't like hugging then you're silly.'' If you think Jo-Jo is right then don't hug around Jo-Jo. Tell Jo-Jo to hug someone. It will feel good.
Your friend,
Chris

Dear Willie,
It is ok that you're hugging everyone. I feel bad for you because Jo-Jo made fun of you. If I were you I would feel good for my hugging. I hope you feel better. He must be mean to you. I hope Jo-Jo says sorry to you. If I were Jo-Jo I would say sorry and if I were his parents, I would ground him for a week.
Your friend,
Jenna

Dear Willie,
Do you think Jo-Jo is being mugged? Do you still sleep with that towel? Does your sister still sleep with that bear? Do you still hug your Mom and dad, and what about your sister? Don't go near your sister! You got a problem man. What is your favorite food? Is it pizza? My favorite is chicken.
Your friend,
Jonathan

Dear Willie,
If I were you I would say to Jo-Jo I don't want to listen to you because I think hugging is nice. You are a nice boy. You should not listen to Jo-Jo because he is silly and funny .I think Jo-Jo should listen to what you would say .I think Jo-Jo should be taught a lesson. You should ignore Jo-Jo because sometimes he might be wrong on some things. Don't think you have to do what Jo-Jo thinks because I'll tell you a secret; I think hugging is important.
Your friend,
Nura

Dear Willie,
I want to be in the book. When I read the book I said to myself, I want to be in that book. I like when you act out the story and I am sure that you like it too. I like the part when everyone was in the kitchen and I want to know if you like it a lot. I am sure that your sister would like it a lot. Do you like the story that you acted out?
Your friend,
Danielle

Dear Willie,
Why don't you like people hugging you? You shouldn't listen to Jo-Jo because maybe you really like people hugging you and Jo-Jo doesn’t like people hugging him. If someone makes fun of you just say that you don’t hug your family and just walk away. That’s what I do when my dad drives me to school. Do you still sleep with that towel and does your sister still sleep with bear? Sometimes I sleep with a teddy bear but my sister doesn’t sleep with a teddy bear because she thinks I am a baby to sleep with a teddy bear.
Your friend,
Jamie

Dear Willie,
If Jo-Jo is making fun of you about hugging your dad when you get out of the truck, you could make fun of him back. But also you don't need to listen to him. You could say, "sticks and stones break my bones but words do never hurt me.'' Also his parents could ground him for a week.
You friend,
Kathryn

Dear Willie,
JO-Jo is lying that hugging is silly. Hugging is a nice thing to do. I hug my sister and my mom and my dad. I hug my cousin. I hug my friends. I even hug my godparents. It is cool to hug. I hug because it makes me happy.
Your friend,
Arun

Dear Willie,
I think that you should not listen to Jo-Jo because Jo-Jo shouldn’t tell you what to do. I think that it is OK to hug people. Jo-Jo thinks that it is silly to hug people. I don’t. If Jo-Jo doesn’t like hugs it doesn’t mean you don’t. When you want a hug, just take it. If Jo-Jo thinks it is silly don’t listen to him.
Your friend,
Vinny

Dear Willie,
If I were you I would tell Jo-Jo that it is not funny to give hugs because some people need hugs to feel safe. I like the book because it was a good story. You should not listen to Jo-Jo because Jo-Jo is not right. Hugs feel nice and safe.
Your friend,
Olivia

Dear Willie,
I know you have a really, really bad problem. You like hugs, don't you? Well, here's the solution. Don't listen to your friend. Listen to yourself. It's your choice. Do what you want. You don't have to say the same thing about hugging like your friend Jo-Jo. If you like hugs, listen to yourself. If you listen to your friend Jo-Jo, that's not being you.
Your friend,
Lara

Dear Willie,
Why don't you like hugs? Hugs make you feel warm. I hug my mom, dad, and also my sister and they hug me. Don't listen to Jo-Jo, he doesn't know about hugs. I think hugs are cool and they are great. So what if Jo-Jo makes fun of you. Just don't be his friend, just tell him hugs are good. I like when you hugged the tree. It was funny. And I also liked it when you were hugging the towel!
Your friend,
Marcelo

Dear Willie,
If you want to hug your family do it because you do not have to listen to Jo-Jo. Maybe Jo-Jo doesn't like hugging his family. You should act normal and not a copycatter. If I were you, I would hug my family and not listen to my best friend because when someone hugs me I feel special in my heart. Give your family a hug!
Your friend,
Stacey

Dear Willie,
I think Jo-Jo is weird. Don't listen to him. He is dumb. Just hug your mom and dad you can hug if you want to. You can have a hog from your mom or dad. Just ignore Jo-Jo and give a hug once in a while. It's not that bad.
Your friend,
John

Dear Willie,
I know how you don't want to get hugged. That 's how I feel too. And I think I am not the hugging kind too, just like you. I like your friend Jo-Jo too. I think you are cool. Do you like your sister?
Your friend,
Matthew

Dear Willie,
Don't listen to Jo-Jo. Hugging is not silly. Everybody need's a hug once in a while. I like hugs too. I like the part when you hugged the tree. It was funny. I think that Jo-Jo likes to hug too. He is just trying to show off. In the story your parents look very nice, I know they love you.
Your friend,
David

 On September 28, 2001 we were very surprised when the following email came from Joyce Durham Barrett, the author of Willie's Not the Hugging Kind.

Dear Mrs. Taverna and Students,
I just read some of the letters to Willie about hugging. It's always fun to see children enjoying my story! I can see by the letters that you had your children really think about the story and what the characters were saying to one another. 
I'm so happy that you like the story, and that it reinforces your belief in hugs. 
Sincerely,
Joyce Durham Barrett,
Author

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