Thursday, March 31, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

These reviews appeared in the Stratford Gazette on March 30, 2011
Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian

Confessions of a Former Bully, by Trudy Ludwig, 42 pages.
@ SPL:  J FIC Ludwi
Ten-year-old Katie hadn’t realized that she was being a bully.
She hadn’t tripped, pushed or hit her classmate, Monica - but she had deliberately been mean to her, repeatedly excluding her from recess games and encouraging her friends to do the same. She had also teased and insulted her.
After being reported to the principal, Katie met with the school counselor and learned that her behaviour toward Monica was indeed, bullying. Insulting or taunting someone – even teasing them repeatedly – is “emotional bullying”.
Bullying happens when someone chooses to be mean to someone else in an emotional or physical way. Who bullies? A bully can be anyone – a boy, girl, even an adult.
Bullying is a learned behaviour – and it can be unlearned – which is exactly what happened with Katie, as she describes in her illustrated journal, Confessions of a Former Bully. Her candid, refreshing account of her transformation from bully to former bully lets kids know that change is possible, and her journal provides practical tips to help kids identify and overcome emotional bullying.
Websites with more information are provided at the end of this outstanding book, which should be read by anyone who has been, or is being bullied, in any way.
A quotation by author J.K. Rowling is appropriate here … “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
** Recommended for ages 7 to 12 years.
Bullying and Me: Schoolyard Stories, edited by Ouisie Shapiro, 32 pages.
@ SPL:  J 371.58 Sha
The “schoolyard stories” included in this collection were written by thirteen students of various economic and cultural backgrounds who were bullied in some way at school. Each decided that they would do something about it and that they would share their stories in hopes of helping other victims of bullying.
Bullying is wrong. Always. And anyone can be a target of bullying. Mariah was teased constantly simply because she was new to the school and the community. Jaevon was called cruel names when he began to have seizures. Andrew was bullied by five boys throughout grade 7, never knowing why the bullying had started in the first place. Emily was bullied by two of her former friends, which was a very painful betrayal.
The students’ responses varied. Some stood up to the bullies. Most told their parents or friends. Some received help from their school counselors and one student even helped to form an anti-bullying committee.
What did they learn? The students learned plenty. For example, they learned that real friends don’t bully. Often, bullies don’t have real friends – instead, their so-called “friends” are actually afraid of them. Sometimes bullies are in fact looking for a way to be liked and accepted. Victims should tell someone – an adult, friends – to obtain moral support and to get ideas for possible solutions. And whenever possible, a victim should ignore a bully and simply walk away.
The students’ honest and moving stories have been told by Ouisie Shapiro, a children’s author who also writes television documentaries. Each story is accompanied by a photograph of the student and some advice from Dr. Dorothy Espelage, a professor of educational psychology. Tips on dealing with bullies are supplied at the end of the book.
** Recommended for ages 8 to 14 years.

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