From School Library Journal
Gr 3-6–In a fictional scrapbook, a self-confessed former bully recounts both her own actions as a perpetrator and the steps she took to rectify her behavior. Under the guise of giving an insider's look, Katie provides information about why bullies do what they do and some possible steps that targets and bystanders can take to stand up to them. Meant to offer advice, the insights occasionally feel too adult to be truly accessible to kids, but the language and casual writing style are age appropriate. Despite the moments when Katie's transformation seems too pat and convenient to be believable, the advice is sound and there are specific examples that will be helpful, even if older readers may feel as though they've heard it all before. Jotted notes, doodles, and related quotes are peppered throughout, adding to the scrapbook format. The illustrations are a mix of collage and drawings; they are fun but not particularly noteworthy. Further reading for children and adults, as well as the websites listed at the end of the book, are useful resources.Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
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Ten-year-old Katie finds herself where no child wants to be, in the principal’s office with both her parents. Caught bullying a friend on the school playground, she must meet with the school counselor once a week and figure out how to atone for her actions. As Katie learns more about herself and her options, she keeps a diary-like notebook of reflections and advice as well as facts about physical, emotional, and cyberbullying; why people bully others; and what tools kids can use when they experience or witness bullying. In a style similar to Marissa Moss’ Amelia’s Notebook series, Katie’s notebook features childlike drawings, and cartoons with digital-collage elements combine with boxed facts and quotes to brighten the pages. Although the story may be a vehicle for information, the many children looking for advice on bullying will find this journal more thought-provoking, practical, and readable than many nonfiction books on the subject. Grades 3-5. --Carolyn Phelan
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