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.