Tag Archives: Bullying

Thirteen Reasons Why

  • 13 reasonsThe cassette tapes arrive two weeks after a classmate’s suicide, and each recipient is instructed to listen to the tapes and mail them to the next person on the list—or else there will be consequences and possibly criminal charges. Each person on the list figured in the sender’s emotional unraveling, some simply missed the warning signs, some pushed her over the edge. With the opening pages, this book’s ending is revealed. Still, between those opening pages and the final pages, Jay Asher delivers a suspenseful tale that is a haunting eulogy.

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Why is Everybody Always Picking on Me: A Guide to Handling Bullies

By Terrence Webster-Doyle; Weatherhill; 1991; pp 131.

Ages: 9 to 12

Think about it. You and your spouse are having marital problems. Would you walk around carrying Dr. Phil’s Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting with Your Partner?! Sheesh. So the biggest problem with this book—and it has several—is the title and the cover art. A kid might as well walk around with a sign that says “kick me!” as check this out of the library. The book does provide sympathetic insights into the roots and causes of bullying, interesting examples (yes, parents can be bullies), and role-playing strategies that can help youngsters cope with and avoid bullying. Each chapter includes questions and thought-provoking exercises that increase awareness of bullying and victimhood and even allow readers to see bullying through the eyes of the perpetrator. However, the book fixates on the martial arts (Disclaimer: the book was published in cooperation with the Martial Arts for Peace Association) and then veers again, discussing how propaganda is a form of bullying and war is the ultimate permutation of bullying. Great topics, but this might not be the venue for those discussions.

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Please Stop Laughing at Me

By Jodee Blanco; Adams Media; 2010, pp 304
Plot/Review: This autobiographical work reveals how school one misunderstood girl was systematically ridiculed and tormented—and physically abused–by her classmates in grammar, junior high, and senior high. I am not sure what the takeaways are, if any, from this book. Blanco was a “tall poppy, a precocious child who stood out and someone whom the other kids had to chop down. This book doesn’t offer coping strategies or advice. In fact, Blanco’s revenge was in becoming a wildly successful public relations professional and author. As if all victims of bullying should be so lucky! I’m not sure it’s useful, but it is a vicarious glimpse into the inner thoughts of the bullied and will appeal to some readers in a titillating sort of way. Recommended with reservations.

 Ages: Ages 13 and older

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Confessions of a Former Bully

By Trudy Ludwig; Tricycle Press; 2001; pp 48

Ages: 9 to 12

Plot/Review: Tight. That’s how my 10-year-old daughter described this book, which looks like a spiral note book and reads like a girl’s journal. The book is premised on 10-year-old Katie, who lands herself in the principal’s office after being busted bullying a friend on the school playground. Her punishment includes meeting with the school counselor once a week. Katie keeps a diary of her reflections with observations about why kids bully and how to avoid bullies. In the margins are Katie’s doodles and her reflections include quotes and reminders that are pasted in her journal. The section of reporting versus tattling was very useful not only for dealing with bullies, but sibling tensions. This book is just slick in concept and execution. Very useful, very credible. Kids can carry it around AND look cool. Kudos to the illustrator. As an added bonus the writer included loads of Recommended Resources. Tight!

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