Ella, eight years old, Redwood City

Who are your heroes?

Ella, an eight-year-old girl in Redwood City, California, admires her friends—“but only my good friends,” she clarifies, “‘cause some of my friends tease me.”

To Ella, a hero stands up to bullies, is nice to friends, and says yes to people who ask to play with them.

“Some people that I’m playing with say, ‘No, you can’t play with (new people),’ but I disagree, and I don’t think that’s fair ‘cause if somebody’s alone, you should play with them,” Ella explains.

Ella says that if a hero doesn’t like what a bully is doing, they can talk to the person, try to let the person understand the hero’s side, and ask whether the person can express their anger a different way.

Of her friends, Ella says, “One of them always just decides that we’re going to play tag, and she always says whoever touches their nose last is ‘it’—and sometimes I touch my nose last, then it would be fair; and sometimes, I also touch my nose first, but they always make me ‘it.’ And they make three or two bases every time, so I can never tag them.”

Ella wishes someone would stand up to them.

Insights from the Urban Playground

Cities are breeding grounds for bullies sometimes. With so many people in one place, it can be hard to stand out as the best. Some people use mean behavior to get attention, and that’s not fair. In fact, it is a total bummer.

A thrill about cities is that heroes are everywhere—on the school yard, at the park, and pretty much anywhere. Many heroes can step in and stand up to people who don’t play fair.

Cities have all kinds of different people. Really, no two are alike. Some people don’t know how to play nicely with people who are different from them. Those who seek attention sometimes bend rules. The rule followers want bullies to understand that the rules are there to make life better for the whole group, even if one person makes sacrifices to do what the rules say.


1. If someone asked to play with you, would you say yes?

2. How do you think heroes should handle bullies?

3. Can someone be your friend and a bully at the same time?

4. Do you think standing up to a bully makes someone a hero?

5. How many bases do you think there should be in a game of tag?

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