From School Library Journal
Gr 3-8–Thirteen young people representing a variety of ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds tell about their experiences. Shapiro retells their stories of not only the act of bullying itself, but also the steps they took to deal with it and the effects it had on their lives. From Jean, who was picked on for facial burns, to Mariah, who was new to school and had a hard time making friends, these brief accounts all resonate with the same theme–the inner strength of the individuals and their response to the bullying. Each story is accompanied by a short commentary from a psychologist who offers advice or support about handling these situations, from ignoring perpetrators to telling a trusted adult. With very little background or context for the young people, it is difficult to muster up much of an emotional response to this litany. Photographs are included on each spread, and there are some tips for dealing with bullies at the back of the book. Teachers and librarians could find some nuggets of information to mine with students, but all in all, this is a fairly generic entry in the burgeoning field of bullying literature.Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
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The painful and inspirational stories of 13 diverse young people, bullies and bullied alike, are presented in a style similar to that in Autism and Me: Sibling Stories (2009), from the same creative team. The accounts include physical, verbal, and online bullying that occurred in a variety of social groups, from urban gangs to suburban cliques. Each first-person story is accompanied by full-color photographs and followed by advice from an educational-psychology professor. The fluidly paced stories are realistic (“Some kids . . . don’t want to be called a snitch”), and the adult commentary is well meaning, if slightly stilted (“Donovan approached the bully in a positive way”). A final page provides six tips for dealing with bullies, and while the picture-book format feels somewhat young for the intended audience, it also highlights the images, which reinforce the text’s direct, supportive message: “It’s not your fault. The bullies are wrong.” Grades 4-7. --Andrew Medlar