Children’s author Tedi McVea has released a new book, âBullette University: A Kid’s Guide to Firearm Safety,â written in the days following the May 24 fatal shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
McVea, born and raised in Humboldt County, is the mother of 3-year-old twin daughters and a 6-year-old son. The 2004 McKinleyville High School graduate now works as a licensed clinical social worker in San Antonio, Texas, 85 miles east of Uvalde.
âThe tragic events of spring seemed too close to home. I was devastated for the families at Robb Elementary, frightened by the reminder that we weren’t guaranteed safe, and felt hopeless that I now had to find a way to have a difficult conversation with my 6-year-old that I didn’t. never wanted to have,â McVea said.
âOther parents have also shared that they experience the same emotions and challenges when talking to their children,â she said. âI knew I wanted to do something, so I decided to write a book to guide families. I imagined the small gated community I grew up in (McKinleyville) and the wide range of political views we all shared. I tried to create something that would speak to a community like that.
McVea says the idea for “Bullette” came to her at 3 a.m. as she was trying to sleep shortly after the Uvalde shooting.
âI couldn’t shut my brain down until I managed to mentally write the whole book. The next day I wrote my first draft and read it to other parents for feedback. My goals were one, to give parents a discussion aid; second, to help children feel less nervous about exercises or current events; and three, make it fun, light and silly,â McVea said.
“Bullette (the book’s main character) sets the tone as a sassy little diva bullet who’s super excited to have finished ammo training,” McVea said. âAs a formally educated ball, she strikes a playful, slightly know-it-all tone as she educates humans about safety. Most parents are familiar with this same tone, as our children can sometimes take it with us when they feel expert on topics, so it’s relatable confidence for kids.
“Bullette University: A Kid’s Guide to Firearm Safety” is a “nonpartisan, nonpolitical narrative and does not explicitly use words like ‘shooting’ or ‘school shooting’ anywhere in the text,” said McVea.
âThere is no particular position on gun control, and it is even recognized that some families use guns for recreation and pleasure,â she said. âWithout shaking the tragedy of the mass shootings, this book serves as a platform for each family to have individualized discussions that reflect their family values. â¦It is age-appropriate for little ones from 3 years old and is a good aid for introducing or responding to a variety of firearms topics.
The book starts at the beginning, she says, with the first gun ever invented. It goes on to trace some of the different uses of firearms through history to the present day, McVea said.
“The book makes no pro-gun or anti-gun statements,” she said. “It simply traces the facts and history of firearms in our culture and teaches our little ones about basic safety based on the current environment. I wanted to keep it fact-based so families can have conversations afterwards with their young who reinforce the opinions of their family.
McVea added, âI believe that as parents and educators we want to protect the innocence of our children for as long as possible, but we also need to arm our children with information so they can protect themselves. â¦ Readers are introduced to what a security drill can be like in their school: âSometimes there’s a loud alarm or sometimes there’s a flashing light. Your teacher may even tell you to get under your desk or hide. This is called a security drill. The focus of the material is on how hard adults work in children’s lives to make sure they are safe. The reason given is that not everyone uses a firearm for its intended purpose and because of this we want to be extra careful.
McVea says that so far people seem to find the new book “very useful.”
âFor example,â she says, âmy son’s first grade teacher read the book to the class. The class loved it and found it very informative. He shared, “I had to take breaks so many times because the students had so much to share and say.” It’s a good sign of commitment. I also think a lot of us are sad that a book like this should even exist, so people aren’t particularly “excited” to buy it, but still want help. However, overall the response has been overwhelmingly positive, and readers are surprised at how comfortable and balanced the tone is for such a difficult topic.
“While the book was in response to a school shooting,” McVea noted, “it’s also just a good general guide for those growing up around guns, interested in guns, or who are afraid of noisy safety drills. The book ends with an advice that if children hear something scary on the news, on TV or at school, they come and tell their adults. There is even a discussion guide for parents at the end of the book.
As a licensed clinical social worker, McVea says she provides therapy to a wide range of clients and in her children’s writing she aims to combine her knowledge of social work, her therapy experience and “my experience as a mom.” to create accessible ways to talk about difficult topics. .
McVea’s other books are “I Know About Germs”, aimed at helping children gain a sense of control over circumstances related to the COVID-19 virus, and “The Poop Farm: A Silly Way to Send Off Your First Potty Poops dealing with the subject of potty training. His three books are illustrated by Noel de la Mora of Guadalajara, Mexico.
“He and I have collaborated on three projects together and have plans for a three-part genre book series to come,” McVea said.
“Bullette University: A Kid’s Guide to Firearm Safety” is currently available on Amazon in English and Spanish, said McVea, who also hopes to get her book in local bookstores.
“This book is highly recommended for teachers and therapists who are also looking for help with bibliotherapy,” she said.
For more information about McVea and his work, visit https://linktr.ee/momeasebear.