Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How to Stop a Bully: Read a book and Write (especially on Wednesdays)!

Here’s hoping Jack, of I AM JACK fame and my Monday TeachingAuthors post, his creator Susanne Gervay and his U.S. publisher Kane Miller don’t mind my tweaking their terrific anti-bullying campaign logo – “Read a book.  Stop a bully.”

Of course, there's all sorts of action a person can take when up close and personal with a Bully, whether that person is the bullied, the bystander or the bully himself.
This being Wednesday, however, I’m focused on writerly action.

So here are three important anti-bullying books that prompt readers to pick up pen and paper and write from the heart, remembering and reflecting on what they’ve experienced first-hand and/or what they’ve witnessed

Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperTeen, 2011)
YA authors Carrie Jones and Megan Kelly Hall edited and contributed to this anthology of seventy personal bullying stories written by seventy well-known children’s and YA authors, including Carolyn Mackler, R.L. Stine, Lisa Yee and Eric Luper.  Booklist lauded the collection for its timeliness and the resources it offers, including an appended, annotated list of websites that furthers its usefulness and extends group discussion.
The book even has a website – dearbully.com.
LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL: Messages of Healing and Hope by Olivia Gardner, Emily Buder, and Sarah Buder (William Morrow paperback, 2008)
When teenage sisters Emily and Sarah Buder read in the newspaper about the unforgiveable bullying of northern California middle schooler and epileptic Olivia Gardner, they initiated a campaign to get their friends to write Olivia letters of encouragement.  The effort spread like wildfire.  This book shares many of the letters in which the letter writers recollected a panorama of bullying incidents.

EACH KINDNESS by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin, 2012)
A Jane Addams Award Book and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, EACH KINDNESS  beautifully underscores the “If only’s…” and lost opportunities  when one could have acted and shown kindness but didn’t.  In a starred review, SLJ noted the book “gives opportunity for countless inferences and deep discussion, inviting readers to pause, reflect, and empathize.”

Write on! Right on!

Esther Hershenhorn
Happy Birthday to my fellow TA JoAnn Early Macken, her twin sister Judy, our reader Linda Baie and our reader Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ husband! J

Don’t forget! Only a few hours remain to enter our Book Giveaway of Alexis O’Neill’s newest book The Kite That Bridged Two Nations.
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It’s Unity Day! Make it orange and make it end!  Unite against bullying!
Wear orange – or write with an orange crayon or magic marker – or even just write while drinking a class of orange juice!

In EACH KINDNESS, Chloe realizes it was too late to show her
now-departed classmate Maya kindness.

            “That afternoon, I walked home alone.
            when I reached the pond, my throat filled with
            all the things I wished I would have said to Maya.
            Each kindness I had never shown.

            I threw small stones into it, over and over.
            watching the way the water rippled out and away.
            Out and away.

            Like each kindness – done and not done.
            Like every girl somewhere –
            holding a small gift out to someone
            and that someone turning away from it.”

It’s never too late to turn around an “If only…”
Take a moment. 
Remember a time in which you stood by and watched someone being bullied.
(If you need to jog your memory, take the Pacer survey.)

Now, address the victim, as in - Dear ______.
Describe the situation – the place, the time, the situation, the people present, what was at stake.  Can you remember the weather, the nearby sounds, what you were thinking, why you chose to act as you did. (Note: April's WWW offers further suggestions for concrete details.)

Then write the words you wished you'd said.

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