A worthwhile resource for counselors, teachers, and others who work with children.

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The Bullied Anthology: Stories of Success

A collection of personal experiences with bullies sends a positive message to kids going through the same ordeal.

This anthology, compiled by Reading Harbor Publishing (Seeking Human Kindness, 2014), shares personal stories about bullying in the hope of making a difference. The contributors are writers, public speakers, educators, entrepreneurs, and therapists from all over the world, each dedicated to helping others overcome the harmful and lasting effects of bullying. Aimed primarily at children and teens, these short pieces are universally positive with similar hopeful messages—above all, that it does get better. The tone is not Pollyannaish, however. The authors are honest about how bullying hurt them, in many cases leading to self-harm, drug use, and suicidal thoughts. The book aims to provide practical strategies for overcoming bullying. The opening piece, “Preventing Peer Victimization,” offers down-to-earth advice, some of which may be difficult for bullied children to implement, such as getting fit and finding allies. A selection of inspirational quotes from celebrities follows, and the remaining pieces are all short, easy-to-read accounts of being bullied. The personal tone helps readers see themselves in the stories. The writers share how they got through these difficult periods in their lives by finding a passion or “something to hold on to when things are tough,” such as martial arts, reading, or riding horses. The clear message is that everyone finds a different path to recovery. The stories reassure victims of bullies that they are not alone; others know what they are going through and can help. They also tell tough truths, such as questioning the effectiveness of school anti-bullying programs. Many of the stories are heartbreaking and can make for tough reading. While the stories are primarily aimed at young people, who are most likely to be bullied, some contributors write about parental, spousal, and workplace abuse, which, while similar to bullying, would probably require different coping strategies. Overall, however, these encouraging stories will buoy confidence and self-esteem in bullied kids.

A worthwhile resource for counselors, teachers, and others who work with children.

Pub Date: July 15, 2015

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Reading Harbor

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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