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3.54  ·  Rating details ·  141 ratings  ·  46 reviews
ONE POWERFUL WORD Standing up to bullies of all kinds in a poignant tale.

The word "No" repeated three times is the only thing said in this otherwise wordless book that speaks volumes. A young boy sets out to deliver a letter and witnesses acts of war along his way, both on the personal level, and on a world-wide scale. At a time when our country is at war, NO! is a touchin
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by Roaring Brook Press
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Average rating 3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  141 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Hilary by: Found in the library
I found this in the picture books for older children section of our library. A boy goes to post a letter, war planes fly overhead bombing, some armed soldiers break down a door of a young families house, a tank blows up another, an old man is attacked for defacing a propaganda poster. When the boy reaches the post box an older boy blocks his way so he shouts No, three times. Everything changes, the soldiers bring the family gifts, the old guy is helped up, the war plane drops a bicycle down on a ...more
Jan 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
Irksome. Didactic and preachy. The kind of thing where you understand what the author was getting at, and maybe under normal circumstances you'd agree, but the presentation does nobody any favors. Better books about bullying and peace have come along. This one can be avoided. ...more
In this picture book, you follow a young boy who writes a letter to the president and is walking to the mailbox to mail it. While on his way to the mailbox, the illustrations show happenings of war going on behind him, fighter jets, fires, and soldiers checking doors. When we makes it to the mailbox, there is another boy who bullies him and takes his letter, the little boy shouts “No!” And gets his letter back and is able to mail it. This book shows examples of bullying and war happening, I thin ...more
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Supposedly a book about bullying and standing up to bullies, but it all seemed a bit implausible to me. I think war was probably to harsh a comparison to make in this book.
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Way too naive and kind of insulting to kids. Just because you said no to a bully doesn't mean that the soldiers breaking into your neighbor's house are now giving them presents.

It's a no for me.
Cricket Muse
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Surprisingly, this MCPhail story received strong negative responses from readers. Some see its presentation as didactic and the illustrations a bit overbearing, even “creepy,” yet the almost wordless story resonates with emotion that does indeed generate some sort of response—it is not a story to be ignored.

Some say the message places the burden on the victim to stop violence.
There is also commentary that the perpetrators are not held responsible for their actions.
Yet, the shift in the story com
Jan 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm not sure what I think about this one. I suppose it's all how you look at it--it could be seen as blaming the victims for not standing up for themselves, whether they are victims of bullying or of war. Or, it could be seen as a manifestation of the slogan "War Is Over (if You Want it)"--we choose our behavior, and we can choose to behave in acts of aggression or acts of friendship and peace. The world looks a lot better when we choose peace.

Personally, I would also say "No" to the violence i
James Potts
This book was very very interesting. It only has one word in the inter book. And that word is "NO!". This book is mainly a picture book. It follows a young boy in a red hat. It is showing all the bad things happening around the boy until he finally say no and the whole story changes. This book has a different type of message to it. I would recommend this book be "read" by and older crowd. This would be a great discussion book in the classroom setting. ...more
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 4th, bullying, 5th, activism, 6th, 10th
Only one word, "No," appears in this otherwise pictures-only book. Uttered bravely, "No!" changes the course of the story. Use to illustrate the power of speaking up and standing up to bullies, either at the mailbox or on the worldwide stage. ...more
Wilde Sky
A boy stands up to violence.

Good central message, but given the level of violence around and the fact that most perpetrators don't care this book was an order of magnitude too simplistic.

Reading time around ten minutes.
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a story that teaches kids how to stand up to bullies. Moreover, it's a story that likens bullies to countries that beat up other countries. Hate bullying but support war? This book isn't for you. Actually, it is for you. Go. Read it, now.

No! is brilliant. The only word in this book is "No!" which is genius, as bullies often target the silent, shy, and passive--people who, the bully knows, aren't likely to stand up for themselves. The majority of No! follows a little boy as he silently w
Apr 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
“NO!” by David McPhail is one of the books that could help open spaces for discussion about justice and structural issues. The book depicts (literally) a child experiencing systematic structural violence in forms of armed conflict, robbery, poverty, and generally acts of war. The only word in the book is the word “NO!”, and the first time it is employed is when the protagonist experience personal level violence: when he is bullied by an older boy who won’t let him put a letter in the mailbox. T ...more
Apr 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A young boy sets out to deliver a letter and on his way is faced with all sorts of war actions including bombing, troops, and tanks. When he is bullied by a larger boy, he speaks out and stops it. This nearly wordless picture book only has a single word, repeated three times in different tones. The illustrations in McPhail’s classic style paired with the single word make this a very powerful book about the power of one voice, one word, one person.

I am a fan of wordless books because so often as
Marissa Reyes
The book NO! by David McPhail is a well illustrated book that portrays the feelings of helplessness that a young child feels in this vast world. This text is designed for advanced readers because even though the pictures are childlike the idea behind them are complex. As the child walks down the street he witnesses signs of bullying from adults, however, he believes he cannot do anything because he is little and no one would listen to a child. But as the child reaches the mailbox an older child ...more
For those who are ready to throw up their hands at all of the anger, hatred and violence in the world today, this nearly-wordless book has so much to say. As the little boy in this book is walking down the street to mail a letter, he faces so many acts of war and brutality. A bully at the mailbox is the last straw, and finally the word "No" is repeated three times. This book was originally created as a response to the growing amount of bullying that takes place in neighborhoods and schools. On t ...more
Apr 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
An almost wordless fable about a small boy setting out to mail a letter and witnessing heartbreaking acts of violence on the way (a plane dropping bombs, faceless soldiers breaking down a door). When he gets to the mailbox a bully threatens him and he yells "NO!" His no stops not only the bully but all the evil that is surrounding him. It's a deeply moving book. McPhail writes that he was moved to write this book when he read about a teacher's struggle to end bullying on the playground: "How can ...more
Catherine Woodman
THis is a book that could win the Caldecott award--not so much because i think it is so great, but because it is illustrations only--the author apparently wanted to write a book about empowering kids to put a stop to bullying, that when they walk by atrocities it allows them to continue and when you say no forcefully, repeatedly, and when you really mean it, the force of that emotion is powerful enough to turn some tides....well, maybe....but it does feel a little bit like blaming the victim, an ...more
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
At first I was confused by what this picture book was trying to show me and it took me at least a second time to look through the images to see that it was a child witnessing acts of war. This child goes through a town to go deliver a letter and on his way he witnesses the horrible parts of war. He finally screams “No” and the scenes change to ones of peace. If you are considering introducing the subject of war to a child this could be one of the books that you could use. You can look at the pic ...more
Ying Lee
Dec 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Genre: Wordless
Copyright: 2009

A little boy writes a letter and wants to send it out. On his way to the mail box, he sees the invading tanks and combat aircraft on the street as well as several rude soldiers intruding houses and attacking people. As he is about to put the letter in the mail box, an older boy stops him with impolite acts. The little boy yells “No” three times to the older boy to stop the about-to-happen bullying. Though “No” is the only word shown in the book, the pictures deliver
Dec 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: t-l-544
Genre: wordless book
Copyright: 2009

A little boy is heading to mail box in order to send his mail out. On the way to the mail box, he sees violence happened everywhere on the street, such as soldiers attacks people,and the tank destroys houses. When he almost gets the mail box, an older boy stops him with violent action. He firmly yelled three times "No!" to the older boy. The older boy then stops the violent action. Moreover, all violent actions the little boy sees on the street stop as well. Th
Ashley Nunn-Smith
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely wonderful book.

In simple terms that anyone can understand, McPhail tackles the weighty subject of war and its effects on people. What's more, he shows us what we can do to stand up and say NO.

I read this with my 2 3/4 year old son and he totally got it. We talked about the negative effects in the first half of the book, what the boy did to say No to the bully and then the positive things that we can do instead to help one another in the second half. Because of its hopeful message,
Kate Hastings
Mar 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: early elementary, social justice, values and character, moral courage
Wordless picture book shows a boy observing war planes bombing, soldiers blasting in doors, and a policeman beating a graffiti artist. When a bully tires to beat up the boy trying to mail a letter, the boy shouts NO at the injustice of it all. The following pages show how the world changes when people say "No." Police socialize and help people, soldiers give presents to people, planes drop a bike the boy needs to get around, and the bully helps him ride. It takes a lot of moral courage to speak ...more
Apr 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kidlit, picture-books
Wordless book with the themes of persistence in the face of adversity, and hope in a time of conflict. A boy sets off to put a letter in the mailbox and all around him along the way he's bombarded with acts of warfare: bombs going off in the distance, soldiers storming into a house, and stealth planes flying overhead. He calmly continues along, but we sense his inner tension. Sure enough, when he faces a challenge to his task, he responds with a forceful explosion: "NO!" This is a good one for o ...more
Another wonderful picture book by David McPhail, "No" (2009) is short on words and long on visual story. McPhail's illustrations show us a city in western Europe during WWII, and just how strong one boy's stance against hatred and agression can be. Young picture book readers will understand one message: that standing up for yourself and saying no to bullies brings positive change. Older readers will understand its global message as well. ...more
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
On the first page we see a little boy writing a letter. Then he leaves home to deliver the letter. The images show a city a war---faceless soliders, tanks, guns. The boy falls victim to a bully and finally screams, "NO!". After the boy delivers the letter, the violence in the images diminish and good things begin to happen. On the last page, we see the letter the boy wrote addressed to the President.

A powerful book about saying "NO!" to violence.
Mar 25, 2013 rated it liked it
A wordless (well almost) book about bullying that is set up in a way that shows a war taking place. David McPhail wrote on the back cover his reason behind the book. How can children learn not to bully when adults seem to do this. Would definitely make sure this was used with older readers who would understand this. Younger readers might be successful, but I can see a lot of explaining having to take place.
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teachers, students
Recommended to Nicole by: Ayden O
A beautiful picture book with few words (No!). A little boy walks to the post office and encounters violence such as war, bullying, police brutality. Having seen enough, he stands up to the bully at the mail box and changes his world. With a comment by Amnesty International at the back of the book, this is a book that is worth class discussion in any classroom from primary right through to senior.
Mar 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: ...
I'm glad McPhail explained his project on the back flap because I might not have gotten it otherwise. The message of the book is slightly muddled. Don't be mean? Don't make war? Let people mail their letters?

I like the overall project (really really like it), but if you have to explain yourself then you're just not going to reach as many people as a self-explanatory book would.
Jun 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Interesting use of a nearly-wordless story to give speaking up an impact. What could change if people would say No to injustice, and if adults would follow the no-bullying rules they impose on kids? Sometimes it just takes one.
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David was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts and attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. While there, he began illustrating. He is now an award-winning author and illustrator of nearly 200 books beloved by children, parents and librarians across the United States. McPhail has garnered many prestigious awards, including a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year ...more

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