One of my absolute passions is teaching children, teachers, and parents about bullying and relational aggression. When I saw Patricia Polacco’s new book, Bully, I knew it was a must read. Polacco usually creates characters with which readers make connections easily. This is certainly true with Bully which introduces Lyla, a middle schooler moving to a new school. Lyla wants to be like other girls with cell phones and facebook. Even with savvy parents who are strict about technology rules, Lyla still becomes the victim of cyber-bullying. Parents might not understand the ins and outs of cyber-bullying and this book is an excellent primer.
Fans of Patricia Polacco will appreciate her sensitivity and authenticity. Lyla feels compelled to fit in, but is torn when she witnesses ‘mean girls’ at work. The characters are insightful, but also deal with real life problems. One character makes the comment that “[the bullies] aren’t happy unless they are putting someone else down.” I was also interested in how the school authorities were portrayed in dealing with cyber bullying, as there is much debate within education as to how to deal with this ever growing problem. This book would be an excellent read in upper elementary and middle schools or even with older students to start a discussion. In fact Polacco ‘ends’ the story by giving options for the characters and asking what should be done.
Recommended for MG readers including teachers, parents, fans of Polacco, people who are against bullying, and those who want to learn more about cyberbullying.
Additional Anti-bullying Resources
One way I teach about bullying is by offering teacher and parent professional development courses on anti-bullying based on Operation Respect’s “Don’t Laugh at Me”. For free information and resources from “Don’t Laugh at Me”.
Take this quiz quiz to see how much YOU know about bullying. One surprising fact: According to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), fear of losing computer privileges is the main reason why kids don't let their parents know when they are being cyberbullied.
Over at Imagination Soup there is an excellent post about being a parent or teacher who helps stop bullying. I love the header for the article which reads: Bullying 101, Stop, Listen, Help.
Storytime Standouts and Story Snoops each have prepared lists of books with antibullying themes. StorytimeStandouts has a great list for elementary and MG readers while Story Snoops lists YA books with the theme of cyberbullying for older readers.
Parenting.com also aims to educate parents and children about bullying with this informational post. Several resources are listed as well as helpful tips for parents and antibullying videos to watch with your child.
As always, if you have comments or additional resources to share,
leave me a comment here and I will add your ideas. Thank YOU!