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Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.
An important message: no bullying allowed!
Everyone has been there in real time or vicariously. It sometimes feels like its reached epidemic proportions. There are all kinds of reasons, none of them good. Each incident has numerous victims who come in all sizes and ages.
I'm talking about bullying, of course. And because bullying is so prevalent, October has been designated as National Bullying Prevention Month sponsored by PACER.
PACER also backs Unity Day to focus on the issue. That's why on October 10, you may see more people wearing orange. It's a visible statement that attempts to Make it orange and make it end! Unite against bullying!
There are lots of books about the victims — and bullies as well as those bullied are victimized. Just read Wonder by R. J. Palacio (Knopf) about a child with major facial deformities who enters middle school after being homeschooled his whole life. Auggie's steadfast bravery and kindness proves that mistreatment can be defeated.
The narrator of Jacqueline Woodson's Each Kindness (Nancy Paulsen Books) becomes a victim to her own unkind behavior toward Maya, a girl dubbed by Maya and others as "Never New." Luminous watercolors make this touching story accessible, sure to ignite discussion and simple kindnesses.
Patricia Polacco intends to generate discomfort and start conversation with Bully (Putnam). The dilemma Lyla faces in her new San Francisco school involves friendship with an overweight, bookish, computer-geek of a boy, Lyla's supposed friendship with the "In" girls, cheating, and cyber-bullying
Younger children may appreciate the quick resolution in Bill Cosby's tried and true, The Meanest Thing To Say (Cartwheel). The narrator confronts a playground bully but overcomes the problem with sage advice from his dad.
There are lots more books and resources available. There's a rich and informative Federal website that defines bullying, provides information about state laws and about different types of bullying including cyber-bullying.
"Think Twice, Play Nice", written by an elementary school principal (sponsored by Penguin), includes books and classroom and school-wide activities for all ages, from young children to young adults.
A look at the headlines confirms that bullying is alive and well. And it's time to stop it.