Johnny Big Ears always had curly black hair and big ears. His first day of school he was so excited to start, and his mother cut his hair revealing his big ears. Johnny loved his new haircut and couldn't wait to get to school.
He arrives to school, meets his teacher and his day begins. He learns his alphabet, writes his name on the chalkboard, it's so fun to be at school.
Then it's time for recess. He's having fun, kicking a ball around when two kids start picking on him about his ears, "You're funny looking", "You have huge ears, I bet you could fly like a bird." As they continue picking on him, Johnny gets mad, but remembers what his mother told him about bullies and chooses to ignore them. They don't let up, following him around teasing him. Johnny can't take it any longer and finally runs away crying.
Finding a new spot, he starts kicking the ball around again, feeling very sad. A new kid comes up to him and says "Hi." His name is Charlie Freckles, and Charlie knows how Johnny feels because he too gets picked on because of his freckles. They begin playing together, and a new friendship is formed.
Recess is over and Johnny is sad because he doesn't want to stop playing with his new friend. Charlie and Johnny run side by side to go back into school and their friendship continues to grow.
At the end of the day, Johnny's mother comes to pick him up. Johnny tells her about his day, how he was teased and how he made a new friend. He asks his mother, "Am I special?" She answers him with, "Yes you are Johnny Big Ears, my sweet little man." She tells him that we should love people regardless of their actions, and very proud he didn't respond to the bullying, and rewards him with a pizza.
I think Padilla did a great job describing bullying in elementary school. It would be a fantastic book for teachers to share with their students, as well as parents to help kids learn about bullying, and how it can affect children.