New Children's Book on Bullying Deals with Death and Forgiveness

"Of Petals and Hope: Sonny Sunflower Triumphs Over Bullying" by Adam Cafege and Marconi Calindas

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- How do you tell a story to children about the tragic death of a friend as a result of unrelenting bullying? Award-winning San Francisco based visual artist, Marconi Calindas, and up-and-coming writer, Adam Cafege, have teamed up to tell such a story in a sensitive and imaginative way. Their new book deals with this socially relevant issue and its tragic consequences amidst a backdrop of color, bold lines, and hidden images in a new children's book, "Of Petals and Hope: Sonny Sunflower Triumphs Over Bullying."

"Death is an unfortunate reality that occurs much too frequently in extreme cases of bullying.  In this book, death is incorporated to drive home the fact that bullying is not acceptable, and left unchallenged can lead to tragic consequences," said Cafege, adding that death should not be a taboo subject to be kept out of children's books. He said one only needs to look to earlier children's books, like Grimm's fairy tales, to see that death has been a part of many story lines. "In our book, the death of one of the characters is handled in a very respectful and sensitive way. The purpose was to convey sadness and hopefully elicit a strong emotional response because that is how the seeds of wisdom are planted into the minds of the reader; that is how one challenges people to change for the better," he said.

The 36-page, full-color children's book introduces us to Sonny, a very unique sunflower whose bright yellow petals become the center of ridicule and maltreatment from his fellow flowers. Cafege says, "Sonny's superficial differences elicit feelings of self despair and make him a target of harassment from the flowers around him. However, through the friendship and support of a few friends and his own innate strength of character, Sonny overcomes this dilemma and realizes his dream of being loved and accepted for who he is."

Calindas lent his artistic genius to create the grand visuals of the book that he rendered through a media of watercolor and pen-and-ink. Calindas, whose style has been eliciting serious interest from a widening audience in this country and abroad, created 22 original art pieces for the book. "I am very excited to share this wonderful book not only with children, but adults as well," said Calindas, adding that sharing a story about the issue of bullying transcends all ages.

"Having been bullied when I was growing up and knowing that others have suffered similar experiences, this story is not just my story, but everybody's story," Calindas said. "Many of us have had our share of being victims of bullying in our lifetime and many of us still suffer from the consequences of those early years of taunting and abuse."

The authors chose to focus on this social issue because they wanted children to know that it is okay to be different and to remind them that there are always friends and family around who love you for who you are. Cafege said he hopes that the reader will come away with a sense of hope and understanding that it is not okay to be a bully and that the one being bullied has the right to defend himself "against intolerance and persecution."

"Our purpose is to plant the seeds of knowledge into the minds of readers that will galvanize them to want to do something positive to eradicate bullying --whether it is through speaking up when they witness bullying or joining anti-bullying organizations," said Cafege. He added that this social problem can only be eliminated if people change from within and learn to be more loving and tolerant. "There is just not enough love and tolerance in this world. People have to be constantly reminded that it is not acceptable to bully and that the consequences and cost to society are too high. Bullying demeans a society."

The authors said that the book is dedicated to children who are still suffering from bullying and to those who have taken their lives as a consequence of unrelenting bullying. "We want you to stay strong as it will all get better someday. As for those who have left us, this book was written for you. Thank you for your inspiration!"

"Of Petals and Hope: Sonny Sunflower Triumphs Over Bullying" is now available in paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other leading online bookstores. The e-book versions are available at and on iBookstore.

This children's book made its debut at the 2013 National Queer Arts Festival at the SoMARTS Gallery in downtown San Francisco during the grand opening of the Zeitgeist Arts Exhibition reception, where Calindas' major art piece "Badlands SF," was also exhibited for the entire Pride Month. A major book launch and solo art show was held last July 27 at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Maui, Hawaii. Other book launches will take place in San Francisco and San Jose in August and September 2013.

The book is published by Pacific Raven Press on Maui, Hawaii. For book launching, book reading and signing events go to for more details.

Media Contact: Adam Cafege, Admaran International, Inc., 415-713-2614,

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SOURCE Admaran International, Inc.



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