Kiki Kicks


Kiki Kicks

By Jane Yolen and Ariel Stemple

Illustrated by John Ledda

Ariel Stemple, one of the authors of Kiki Kicks, was bullied as a child. Despite family support, she was often scared when she was with others. At 7 years old, she started practicing martial arts and her life changed for the better.

Like the author, Kiki’s mother practices karate. Like her mother, Kiki wants to feel strong and confident; she considers her mother a mountain, a mountain of strength.


Encountering bullies at school, she knows they want to be strong for the wrong reasons…to be mean to others, to hurt those who cannot defend themselves. Kiki wants to be strong enough to defend herself in a gentle way. She also knows, if others sense her confidence, she will likely not be bullied.

The picture book, Kiki Kicks, has colorful and clear illustrations that are both soft and loud. You will likely be able to decide which pictures are gentle and which are strong.

Meet Kiki’s Sensei and learn the moves she teaches her students as well as the attitudes she instills within them. Like Kiki, you just might be able to say, “I feel strength. Power. Peace.”


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