≡ Menu

Character Education Guide


Summary of the Story:
Fourth grader John goes to Oceanside Elementary and because of his lazy eye, he is bullied by a boy who calls himself “Shark.” Shark gives him the hurtful nickname “Deadeye John.” John feels awful so his mom cheers him up by sending him on a treasure hunt where he discovers a magical chest full of loot! He finds an eyepatch and a pirate hat, and becomes “Captain Deadeye, Master of the Seven Seas.” Join Captain Deadeye on this seafaring pirate adventure where he battles a fierce storm; his nemesis, Captain Black heart; and a vicious shark, all while finding the courage to make a new friend and stand up to his real-life bully at school.


Stand up! Stand Out! Stop Bullying! Be a Lifesaver Campaign
Because of their own personal experiences with being bullied, Authors Dianne de Las Casas and John Couret are passionate about bringing awareness to the issue of bullying, helping students cope, and providing solutions to this pervasive problem. John was teased as a child because of his lazy eyes and called “Deadeye John.” Dianne was teased as a child because of third-degree burn scars covering a large portion of her body. In their Captain Deadeye anti-bully book series, a cast of cool characters (Captain Deadeye, Scarlet, and Buccaneer Bracey) go on swashbuckling adventures across the seven seas and find the courage to face their real-life bullies, creating positive change within their own communities.

In their fun, powerful, and interactive author visit program for grades K-8, students learn how to be “Masters of the 7 Cs” and become “Life Savers.” So join John and Dianne in their national campaign to Stand up! Stand Out! And Stop Bullying!

What is Bullying?
Definition of Bullying – According to StopBullying.gov, “Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.”

Physical – Physical bullying is inflicting bodily harm to another person. It can include:

  • Hitting
  • Slapping
  • Punching
  • Kicking
  • Tripping
  • Pushing/Shoving
  • Spitting
  • Stealing or destroying and/or tampering with another’s property

Emotional – Emotional bullying is using words and actions to make someone feel bad. It can include:

  • Verbal assault (name calling)
  • Humiliation (making someone feel bad in front of other people)
  • Intimidation (Using scare tactics)
  • Infantilization (Calling someone a “baby” or making fun of their tears)
  • Exclusion (Purposely excluding someone from activities to which others are invited)
  • Treatment which diminishes the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.
  • Cyberbullying – The use of electronic communication to bully a person online, typically by sending or posting messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.

Locker with Sticky Notes

How is John bullied in the story?


  • In Chapter 3, how did Shark use physical bullying to make John feel bad? (Answer: Tampering with another’s property [the golden fish sharks in the locker])
  • In Chapter 4, in the locker scene, what three types of physical bullying did Shark use to hurt John? (Answer: 1) Tampering with another’s property [the sticky notes], 2) shoving, and 3) punching)
  • In Chapter 11, Shark used physical bullying to hurt John once again. What types of physical bullying did he use to hurt John? (Answer: Shark bats (hits) the chocolate milk out of John’s hand and trips John in the chocolate milk)

Bullied on the Bus


  • In Chapter 2, how was John emotionally bullied on the school bus? (Answer: Shark intimidates John, makes him move from his seat, and calls him the hurtful name “Deadeye John.”)
  • In Chapter 3, Shark uses infantilization to make John feel terrible. What name does he call John? (Answer: Shark makes fun of John’s tears and calls him a baby.)
  • In Chapter 4, Shark uses verbal assault to make John feel bad. What names does Shark call John and how does he do it? (Answer: Shark calls John names using sticky notes posted to John’s locker. The names on the notes are: Deadeye John, Loser, Weirdo, Freak, and Fatso.)
  • In Chapter 10, who is Captain Deadeye’s bully and how does he bully Captain Deadeye? (Answer: Captain Blackheart is the bully and he tries to intimidate Captain Deadeye by chasing him with his much larger ship, The Skeleton Key.)
  • In Chapter 11, Shark intimidates John in the cafeteria. How? (Answer: He stands over John as he is eating and mimics him.)


Become a Master of the 7 C’s to stand up to bullying!

The 7 C’s

Courage – Courage is the ability to face your fears. It’s going forward and being brave to accomplish something good, even if it scares you.

Compassion – Compassion is showing someone else that you care.

Communication – Communication is the act of exchanging information and feelings with someone else and making a connection.

Conflict Resolution – Conflict resolution is the act of finding a way solve a problem.

Community – Community is a group of people that live and work together in harmony.

Choices – Choices are two or more possibilities.

Change – The act or instance of becoming different.

Character EducationDee Dee Whisks John AwayCompassion

  • In Chapter 3, how does Dee Dee show compassion to John? (Answer: Dee Dee whisks John away from the bullies.)
  • In Chapter 11, how does the janitor show compassion toward John? (Answer: Janitor Jolly helps John up after he falls in the spilled chocolate milk.)
  • In Chapter 12, how does Captain Deadeye show compassion? What action does he take to demonstrate kindness? (Answer: Captain Deadeye releases the captive shark instead of keeping him prisoner.)
  • In Chapter 15, Captain Deadeye shows compassion toward someone else. What does he do to show he cares? (Answer: Captain Deadeye decides to rescue the person who sent an SOS message in a bottle.)
  • If you see someone being bullied, how can you show compassion?
  • What is a bystander?
  • Is compassion being a bystander or being a lifesaver?

Captain Deadeye Faces Bull SharkCourage

  • In Chapter 11, how does John demonstrate courage? (Answer: John shows a little bit of courage when he stands up, faces Shark, and says, “My name is not Deadeye John.”)
  • In Chapter 12, how does Captain Deadeye show courage with the bull shark? (Answer: Although he is afraid of the massive bull shark, Captain Deadeye faces the shark and wrestles with the predator in self-defense.)
  • In Chapter 14, why does writing a letter to Shark take courage? (Answer: John is afraid of Shark because he bullies John very badly so writing a letter to John’s bully is an act of bravery. It shows that he is willing to stand up for himself in a positive manner.)
  • If you are being bullied, how can you find the courage to stand up to your bully? What action could you take?

Message in a Bottle


  • In Chapter 14, what does John do to communicate with someone else? (Answer: He writes a letter and creates a message in a bottle.)
  • With whom does John communicate? (Answer: He writes the letter to Shark.)
  • What are some ways to communicate that you or someone you know is being bullied?

Shark Gives John Necklace

Conflict Resolution

  • In Chapter 16, how does John show Shark that he is willing to resolve their conflict? (Answer: John reads his letter of forgiveness from inside the bottle to Shark.)
  • How do we know that the problem is solved? (Answer: John extends his hand to Shark and helps him up. They are “cool” with each other.)
  • In Chapter 18, John gives Shark a gift. What is it and why does it help to resolve their conflict? (Answer: There are two gifts. 1) John gives shark a treasure map. 2) The map leads Shark to a treasure chest filled books. 3) This helps to resolve the conflict because John filled the treasure chest with books so he could help his new friend to read.)
  • In Chapter 18, Shark gives John a “peace offering.” What does he give him and why? (Answer: Shark gives John his favorite shark’s tooth necklace as a way of saying “thank you” for John’s kind gesture.)
    How would you resolve the conflict if you found yourself in a situation of bullying?

John and Sirena look at mapCommunity

  • In Chapters 6 and 7, John’s mom, his sister, and his Uncle Henry form a community. How do they come together to cheer John up? What do they do for him? (Answer: John’s mom and sister send him on a treasure hunt. They, along with his Uncle Henry, transform the shed into a Captain’s Clubhouse and they give him a treasure chest full of goodies.)
  • In Chapter 18, how do John and the kids show that they are part of a community? (Answer: When John offers to teach Shark how to read, Dee Dee and The Squid Boys also want to help.)
  • What do they offer to do for Shark? (Answer: They all want to help Shark learn how to read.)
  • What are some ways you can contribute to your school community to stop bullying?

John sets bull shark free


  • There are many times that John could have made poor choices. Name some positive choices that John made throughout the story. (Answer: John could have fought with Shark many times but instead, he chose a different way to deal with the situation.)
  • Captain Deadeye also made some positive choices. What does he do in Chapter 15 that is a better choice? (Answer: Captain Deadeye could have hurt the shark or kept him a prisoner. Instead, he felt compassion toward the bull shark and released him.)
  • In Chapter 15, when Captain Deadeye finds the message in a bottle, what choice does he make? Could he have handled the situation differently? If so, how? (Answer: Captain Deadeye could have ignored the SOS message but he made the choice to rescue the person who sent the message in a bottle.)
  • What kind of positive choices can you make when you are angry or upset? Is it ever okay to take it out on someone else? Why or why not?

John and Shark shake hands


  • How does John change throughout the story? (Answer: John finds the courage to stand up to his bully in a positive way by forgiving him and offering to help Shark learn how to read.)
  • What positive changes does Shark make? (Answer: Shark stops bullying John and becomes more understanding when he finds that they are not all that different from each other. Shark became a bully because he wanted to feel more powerful. Not knowing how to read made Shark feel bad about himself so he chose to make other people feel bad too. In the end, Shark realized that bullying was not the way to solve his problems. He made peace with John and in the end, he made a new friend. His actions also influenced The Squid Boys.)
  • How does John’s little community change? How does he make new friends? (Answer: John, Shark, Dee, and The Squid Boys are all now friends and on the same team.)
  • How can you help to create positive change in your school when it comes to bullying?