Carletta Gaines and Rita Allen
Carletta Gaines, author of “Bully with the Big Lips,” is pictured with her former teacher, Rita Allen. The teacher in Gaines’s book is based on Allen.

Covington native Carletta Ealy-Gaines has published a children’s book and recently read it to students at Covington Integrated Arts Academy.

Called Bully with the Big Lips, the book is set in an elementary class whose students are terrified of the bully. One day, the bully takes another student’s lunch and eats her raspberries, not knowing she is allergic. The book’s conflict and resolution come after the bully’s lips swell.

Gaines attended Covington schools from start to finish, beginning with Covington Elementary, which is now CIAA.


“Ms. Rita Allen was my teacher and I loved her,” Gaines said. “The teacher in my book is based on her, so I wanted to go back and read to her class.”

Gaines is a 1997 graduate of Covington High School and a 2014 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University. She is currently attending South Dakota State University and is expected to earn her M.S. in Family & Consumer Sciences Education in December.

Bully with the Big Lips is available on for $14.95. Her second book is expected next spring.

Echo Day
Author: Echo Day

Echo Day is an award-winning journalist, photographer and designer. She is currently The Leader's managing editor.