One poet and 30 artists’ rallying cry against bullying.
Award-winning Canadian spoken-word artist Koyczan finally sets on the page a poem whose animated video has created a YouTube sensation. Posted in February 2013, Koyczan’s video of the same name has generated nearly 13 million hits, challenging kids everywhere to reflect on themselves and their treatment of others. As in the video, which involved the collaboration of 86 animators and motion artists, this setting of the first-person free verse poem includes grippingly evocative spreads by 30 artists. In the introductory note outlining the work’s genesis, Koyczan includes a number of sobering facts about bullying, smartly points to the damage resulting from bullying behavior—from being ignored entirely to becoming the brunt of unwanted negative attention—and finally charges readers: “Remember that the world will never hear you if you choose to say nothing.” In the poem, the speaker describes the detrimental long-term effects bullying can have on one’s self-image: “[W]e grew up believing no one / would ever fall in love with us / that we’d be lonely forever.” Artistic styles are wildly varied, but each spread packs a punch, modulating emotionally with the poem. Anti-bullying resources are appended.
Powerful on a number of levels, Koyczan’s timeless work proves at once confrontational and healing. (Poetry. 10 & up)