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8 KEYS TO END BULLYING

STRATEGIES FOR PARENTS & SCHOOLS

The conversation is far from over, but Whitson blasts a hole in the darkness, providing useful information on how this form...

How to identify and terminate aggressive mistreatment of and by children.

Bullying has been around for decades, but with the advent of the Internet, cellphones and other electronic devices, children are being subjected to this form of intimidation far beyond the reaches of the playground. A social worker and educator specializing in youth issues, Whitson (Friendship and Other Weapons, 2011, etc.) outlines an eight-step practical approach to prevention for parents, community leaders and teachers. The first key is to distinguish between a harmless prank and actual bullying; the author explains how to identify aggressive behavior, why students engage in these acts and which kids are likely to be victims. By establishing a connection or bond with a child, adults will have a better chance of discovering acts of bullying and stopping them. Whitson includes actual scenarios with possible responses, so adults are not at a loss for words when confronting a bully. (Brief messages are best, she notes.) Teaching children how to be safe online is another important idea in this age of cyberbullying, which can affect even the youngest of children. The author emphasizes the need to teach netiquette and to know a child's passwords; she also covers safety strategies children can learn to protect themselves when online without adult supervision. Through communication with would-be bullies and their potential victims, much of this maltreatment can be avoided. "Maintaining an open dialogue about bullying and making sure that we continue to shine a bright light on this once-shadowed topic,” writes the author, “is the only way that we will be able to hold adults and kids accountable for bringing an end to this long-standing problem."

The conversation is far from over, but Whitson blasts a hole in the darkness, providing useful information on how this form of persecution can be halted.

Pub Date: May 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-393-70928-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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BRAVE ENOUGH

These platitudes need perspective; better to buy the books they came from.

A lightweight collection of self-help snippets from the bestselling author.

What makes a quote a quote? Does it have to be quoted by someone other than the original author? Apparently not, if we take Strayed’s collection of truisms as an example. The well-known memoirist (Wild), novelist (Torch), and radio-show host (“Dear Sugar”) pulls lines from her previous pages and delivers them one at a time in this small, gift-sized book. No excerpt exceeds one page in length, and some are only one line long. Strayed doesn’t reference the books she’s drawing from, so the quotes stand without context and are strung together without apparent attention to structure or narrative flow. Thus, we move back and forth from first-person tales from the Pacific Crest Trail to conversational tidbits to meditations on grief. Some are astoundingly simple, such as Strayed’s declaration that “Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard.” Others call on the author’s unique observations—people who regret what they haven’t done, she writes, end up “mingy, addled, shrink-wrapped versions” of themselves—and offer a reward for wading through obvious advice like “Trust your gut.” Other quotes sound familiar—not necessarily because you’ve read Strayed’s other work, but likely due to the influence of other authors on her writing. When she writes about blooming into your own authenticity, for instance, one is immediately reminded of Anaïs Nin: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Strayed’s true blossoming happens in her longer works; while this collection might brighten someone’s day—and is sure to sell plenty of copies during the holidays—it’s no substitute for the real thing.

These platitudes need perspective; better to buy the books they came from.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-101-946909

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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MASTERY

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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