Bullying and Me: Schoolyard Stories


Boys and girls talk about their bullying experiences.

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Boys and girls talk about their bullying experiences.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Thirteen individuals, including some adults, who have been bullied at school share their painful experiences. "The bullies hit me and spit on me and called me ‘seizure boy' and ‘mental,' " explains 13-year-old Jaevon. Katie confesses how she was bullied in middle school--"They went online and IMed each other about me"--but later became a mean girl herself, ignoring an embarrassing friend. Vote's full-color portraits sensitively depict the faces at the receiving end of abuse: "Kids bully me all the time. They say I'm ugly ‘cause my face was burned," reports a sixth-grader. An educational psychologist specifically addresses each individual's dilemma, but the book's strength lies in the honesty conveyed through the personal stories. Many readers will relate to the suffering and alienation expressed, and will feel empowered by the varying perspectives offered. And those who bully may learn to better understand the roots of their behavior. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Carlee Hallman
Youth and adults tell of their own or a friend's experiences of being bullied. One even tells of bullying others. One bullying experience led to suicide. Andrew says, "The bullies made my whole school year a nightmare." Donovan says, "Some kids who get bullied don't tell the teachers because they don't want to be called a snitch." Felicia lives in a neighborhood with gangs. She stays with an aunt in the summer. This book strongly recommends telling adults when bullying occurs. After each story an expert gives words of advice. "Dr. Dorothy says: Looking back, Doug wishes he'd acted differently when his friend was bullied....But if it's possible, kids shouldn't just stand by when someone is being bullied." At the back is a list of tips for dealing with bullies such as: "Ignore the bully," or "Don't fight back." The striking photos of the kids catch both their anxiety during times of bullying and relief when they have moved on. This is a helpful book for kids dealing with the problem. Reviewer: Carlee Hallman
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
Kirkus Reviews

Middle school can be a difficult time for kids, especially those who become the targets of bullies. Girls often join cliques and practice the art of victimizing their peers. Boys seek out the weak and vulnerable to harass in the classroom, hallway or locker room. And technology ups the ante with online meanness, where cruelty can be anonymous and difficult to trace. In this lively presentation, victims of bullying tell their own stories, each account accompanied by a full-page color photograph of the narrator. Jean, burned as an infant, is taunted because of his appearance; Jaevon has seizures and is hit, spit upon and called "seizure boy" and "mental"; Emily, the new girl, tries to join a clique but is ever the outsider. Each of the 13 middle schoolers here experienced bullying and learned to deal with it. Advice from Dorothy Espelage, an expert on adolescent bullying, is offered on each page, and the volume concludes with "Tips on Dealing with Bullies." Given the topic, it's an upbeat approach offering realistic and down-to-earth advice, though the picture-book look may limit its reach. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807509210
  • Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 990,960
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Bullying and Me: Schoolyard Stories by Ousie Shapiro opens with

    Bullying and Me: Schoolyard Stories by Ousie Shapiro opens with a letter to the reader that addresses bullying broadly and sends the message to anyone who has ever been bullied that you are not alone and it is not your fault. Thirteen personal accounts follow. Eleven come from school-age children and teenagers talking about their experiences with bullying in grades 5 – 12, while two come from adults who recall being bullied when they were younger. Every story includes a photograph of the narrator by Steven Vote and a comment from bullying expert Dorothy Espelage (“Dr. Dorothy”). The book concludes with six tips on dealing with bullies: Ignore the bully, don’t fight back, tell someone you trust, find your real friends, steer clear of bullies, and don’t stand by and do nothing.

    Excellent photography makes the book visually appealing, but its concept is stronger than its execution for two reasons: Shapiro never really defines what bullying is, and Dr. Dorothy’s advice seems confusing or inconsistent in light of the stories selected. Dr. Dorothy sidesteps the issue of self-defense and when, if ever, it’s appropriate to respond to violence with violence. She tells one boy who fights back physically it is not his fault. She tells another boy who beats up his bully and threatens someone who was bullying a friend that he was brave and kind to help his friend, but that it’s dangerous to stand up to bullies.

    As a picture book designed for ages 9-12, Bullying and Me focuses on raising awareness and does create an opportunity for meaningful discussion with children in this age group. Unfortunately, it does not move beyond the standard bullying advice for children to avoid it if you can, ignore it if you cannot avoid it, and ultimately just tell an adult.

    Laurie A. Gray
    Reprinted from the Christian Library Journal (Vol. XV, No. 4, August 2011); used with permission.

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