70 authors contributed to make this fascinating book that once you start reading, you can't put down. Seriously, I got a copy on the mail and I cracked it open with the intention of taking a little peek, and before I knew what happened, I'd already read three of the stories.
There are a lot of things I love about this book, but one of the things I love is how there are different sections so you aren't simply getting a book where everyone talks about being bullied, although, you get that too. And some of the stories will make you cry, I promise you. Because these authors know how to put you there - right there - as if you are the one being picked on.
But back to the different sections. There's a section called Regret, and there we read stories where authors talk about doing things they regret - mostly going along with the crowd because as long as they did that, they weren't the ones being picked on. It was self-survival, in a way, because of course, if you stand up to the bullies, you're next, right? And nobody wants that.
And yet, sadly, every day, thousands of kids are being forced to go along, or worse, on the receiving end of the insults, threats, and sometimes, yes, even physical attacks. Do they know they're not alone? Do they know this issue is being talked about more, and hopefully, finally, some adults are finally getting a clue that we HAVE to take this issue seriously?
Teachers and librarians, please, buy this book. Make it available to your students. I'm going to donate my copies to my local middle school and high school, and I pray the kids who need this book, find it.
I want to quote just a few of the powerful lines you will find in DEAR BULLY.
"I've only been praying for the last 231 nights or so for someone to come and put an end to my misery." ~Melissa Schorr
"Being strong meant standing up for myself and walking away from a friendship that had given me so much, both positive and negative." ~Rachel Vail
"The nightmare of captivity and abuse could have become my life...I'm glad I awoke in time to stop it." ~Holly Cupala
"Putting someone down was a sport. Like dodgeball, it could be fun or scary, depending on where you stood." ~Lisa Yee
"This is what I know now: actions and words, however small they may be, mean something." ~Cyn Balog
"I willingly jumped into the fire, and yes, my feet got burned, but I kept walking and have never looked back." Jocelyn Maeve Kelley
"Our junior high is a battlefield, the enemy line clearly drawn." ~Jeannine Garsee
I wonder how many kids today would say their school is a battlefield?
It is sad. It breaks my heart, it is so sad. And it is REAL, happening all across our country.
I don't care if you don't want to read this book, although if you are a parent, you NEED to read this book. Because some day, most likely, your kid is going to be on one side or the other of bullying. Do you know what you'll do? Do you know what you SHOULD do? There are so many things we can learn from the stories in this book.
But if you're not a parent and not a teen, then please, consider buying a copy and donating it to a middle school near you. I want to get teachers talking about it. I want to get parents talking about it. And yes, even kids, the kids who are terrified to say anything.
Have you ever been bullied? Feel free to share, if you're comfortable, in the comments.
Finally, if you're a kid or teen who got here by way of a search engine, and you are in need of someone to turn to, please go to: http://stompoutbullying.org/livechat_portal.php. Someone there is waiting to talk to you. A portion of the proceeds from sales of this book will be donated to Stomp Out Bullying.