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Confessions of a Former Bully Paperback – July 10, 2012
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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
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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One Saturday while I went to work, I left this book for my daughter and printed out a book report template. I told her I wanted her to read this book and write a book report for me. She comes to me when I get home and shows me it. Impromptu I asked her to help me write down all the things she realized she does as a bully. She of course was "Mama I don't do those things!", after I told her she was in a "safe zone" we started to work together to write down all the things she has done as a bully using the book to help. My goal was to fill the whole page up but I didn't tel her this. After we filled the page, I made a point to have her see how we filled the whole page with all of her actions. From there I went through each bullying moment and asked her how she would feel if someone did this to her? Four things repeated themselves over and over 1. Emotionally Hurt 2. Physically Hurt 3.Lose friends 4.No Trust
I truly felt like it was a great learning moment for us.
Pros: The book is easy to read and listen to. It gives examples of mean behaviors that aren't physical that can be bullying. It gives facts about bullying and has some great quotes that lead to interesting discussions with the students. The book explains that bullying is something that you choose to do, and that you can choose to stop. My favorite part is the Empowering Tools, which shows students things they can do when someone says something mean to them. I made this into an activity and had my 5th graders act out the empowering tools. They liked it and it helped them see the tools in action.
Cons: The book does not talk about how bullying is mean behaviors that are REPEATED. So one mean thing that someone says once is not bullying. While I like this book it is very long to read, approximately 40-45 minutes. This is a long chunk of time to take away from teachers. Plus, because it's so long there's no way I can read this book with my younger students. There are very little pictures, mostly just words so they'd get bored.
Overall it's a great book with great info. But it is not long and in my opinion geared towards older students.
She read it and was open to talking about it. I think she has a better sense now of where bullying comes from, and I think it will continue to give us a place to talk from.