Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy

Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy

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Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy by Emily Bazelon, Rebecca Lowman


Being a teenager has never been easy, but in recent years, with the rise of the Internet and social media, it has become exponentially more challenging. Bullying, once thought of as the province of queen bees and goons, has taken on new, complex, and insidious forms, as parents and educators know all too well.
No writer is better poised to explore this territory than Emily Bazelon, who has established herself as a leading voice on the social and legal aspects of teenage drama. In Sticks and Stones, she brings readers on a deeply researched, clear-eyed journey into the ever-shifting landscape of teenage meanness and its sometimes devastating consequences. The result is an indispensable book that takes us from school cafeterias to courtrooms to the offices of Facebook, the website where so much teenage life, good and bad, now unfolds.
Along the way, Bazelon defines what bullying is and, just as important, what it is not. She explores when intervention is essential and when kids should be given the freedom to fend for themselves. She also dispels persistent myths: that girls bully more than boys, that online and in-person bullying are entirely distinct, that bullying is a common cause of suicide, and that harsh criminal penalties are an effective deterrent. Above all, she believes that to deal with the problem, we must first understand it.
Blending keen journalistic and narrative skills, Bazelon explores different facets of bullying through the stories of three young people who found themselves caught in the thick of it. Thirteen-year-old Monique endured months of harassment and exclusion before her mother finally pulled her out of school. Jacob was threatened and physically attacked over his sexuality in eighth grade—and then sued to protect himself and change the culture of his school. Flannery was one of six teens who faced criminal charges after a fellow student’s suicide was blamed on bullying and made international headlines. With grace and authority, Bazelon chronicles how these kids’ predicaments escalated, to no one’s benefit, into community-wide wars. Cutting through the noise, misinformation, and sensationalism, she takes us into schools that have succeeded in reducing bullying and examines their successful strategies. The result is a groundbreaking book that will help parents, educators, and teens themselves better understand what kids are going through today and what can be done to help them through it.

Praise for Sticks and Stones
“Intelligent, rigorous . . . [Emily Bazelon] is a compassionate champion for justice in the domain of childhood’s essential unfairness.”—Andrew Solomon, The New York Times Book Review
“[Bazelon] does not stint on the psychological literature, but the result never feels dense with studies; it’s immersive storytelling with a sturdy base of science underneath, and draws its authority and power from both.”New York
“A humane and closely reported exploration of the way that hurtful power relationships play out in the contemporary public-school setting . . . As a parent herself, [Bazelon] brings clear, kind analysis to complex and upsetting circumstances.”The Wall Street Journal
“Bullying isn’t new. But our attempts to respond to it are, as Bazelon explains in her richly detailed, thought-provoking book. . . . Comprehensive in her reporting and balanced in her conclusions, Bazelon extracts from these stories useful lessons for young people, parents and principals alike.”—The Washington Post

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385362795
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/19/2013
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Emily Bazelon is a senior editor at Slate, a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine, and the Truman Capote Fellow at Yale Law School. Before joining Slate, she worked as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. She is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, and lives in New Haven with her husband and two sons. This is her first book.

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Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent, well-researched, and well-written book on an extremely timely topic. The author tells a compelling narrative, weaving in a ton of interesting sociological and psychological research. I would definitely recommend for parents, kids, teachers, and counselors - anything thinking about or struggling with the issue of bullying today. Don't write the book off if you don't fall into one of those categories, though - it has a lot to say about growing up in general, and I think would be interesting for anyone who appreciates well-researched, narrative nonfiction.. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is written by a journalist, Emily Bazelon,  who is very passionate about the issues of bullying in American schools.  She  makes her own research into the three different stories of teenagers who became the victims of bullying. In the first story about Monique, Bazelon tries to draw attention to the negligence of adults, namely, the school and local district authorities of the fate of a seventh-grader  who suffers from systematic assults from her peers. The second part of the book tells the story of a homosexual boy, Jabob. Bazelon focuses on the cruelty of school children towards  children who don`t conform to the “normal” definition of gendder. In this chapter, the author also brings up another  incident of the LGBT bullying that turned out to initiate the anti-bulling law that has been adopted by most states. The last chapter  looks into the story of Phoebe, the victim of a notorious bullying case of a teenager who commited suicide arguably as a result of bullying. Here Bazelon discusses the most contradictory topics of suicide as a cause of bullying, the relevancy of court decisions and the gravity of cyberbullying. Moreover, Bazelon meets the Facebook employees to find out what social networks do to prevent bullying. Overall, the book is a very valuable source  of different aspects and perspectives on bullying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a foreign student from Malaysia, I think that this book really helps me to know more about bullying here in the United States. Besides that, I’m a teacher-to-be and this book gives me a lot of information about bullying that might help me in the future. It is interesting because it has so many real scenarios as the references. It has the real dialogues of what was happening in the social environment which students faced almost every day.  In fact it is happening 24/7 with the cyber-bullying having mean words and videos that will spread easily and stay on the internet. I think that everyone should read this book especially people who are handling children in the present or in the future.  The first three chapters about Monique, Jacob and Phoebe are fascinating. All of the three were true stories and make me want to know more about these three people and what happened to them after the tragedy.  Bullying may sound worthless nowadays but we want to make a safe environment for students to study. Who likes being kicked, called names, and punched or any other bullying actions? No one! So first, take a simple step. Read this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book because one of my courses used the book as a text book for the class. Before I read this book, I thought it would be boring. After a few chapters, my perception about this book changed; this is not the typical book about bullying. I know about bullying in my country, Malaysia, but I don’t know much about bullying in America. The title of the book also brought a heavy meaning and if I didn’t read the description below the title, I wouldn’t know if this book tells about bullying. Throughout the reading, I was so surprised with the story that the writer got. There was three stories in the book which one is a young girl who get bullied in eigth grade, a boy who is bullied because he is gay and the last one that very tragic case is a suicide of Phoebe Prince. These three cases really opened my eyes about bullying and how bad it can be. All these cases happened in school which is supposed to be one of the safest place for children. Emily Bazelon put three strong example that shows bullying is a very bad and unacceptable problem. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Much needed insight and perspective. This is such a complex and difficult topic where the answers are never as simple as one might hope.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Emily Bazelon has made a career of churning out very highly biased and poorly researched material. Her coverage of the Phoebe Prince case in South Hadley, Massachusetts bordered on slander and harassment. It is astonishing that Bazelon isn't facing HIPAA charges for spilling out stolen medical records onto the internet. To further elaborate on this point, unless the permission of the parents is given it is unlawful to print private medical data. Bazelon gleefully printed it regardless. She received said medical data from someone inside the school who had access to Pheoebe's records. If this was not bad enough she boasted about it in later articles. Emily Bazelon's modus operandi is to begin a project with the conclusion already decided and then selectively choose certain facts and then weave a story around then to meet the facts. Here's an example, Bazelon, in her first article on the Prince case referred to Sean Mulveyhill, one of the formerly accused bullies, as a "tragic hero" while simultaneously slandering Phoebe Prince using the kind of harsh pejorative and accusatory rhetoric only seen in confrontational political ads. As it has come to be known sometime later, Mr. Mulveyhill was the pricipal architect behind the cooperative bullying effort. There were also rumors that he had plied a victim with GHB. If Bazelon considers this guy to be a tragic hero then she obviously rewards cruelty. If you want an example of good journalism steer clear of anything written by Bazelon and read the works of Kevin Cullen for unbiased and complete journalism. The best use of this book would be to remove its pages and use them to house train your dog. The cover might make a good shim if you have a table with one of the leg shorter than the others..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Emily Bazelon is an unethical and onprofessional writer who fills her section about Phoebe Prince with not only biased and twisted fact but outright falsehoods. She ignored key aspects of the bullying campaign waged against Phoebe Prince to create a piece defending the kids who bullied Phoebe literally to death. She claims there was no "bullying." She apparently believes that physical assaults, verbal assaults, stalking via cell phone and text, and gang-raping Phoebe do not constitute bullying. Bazelon is as sociopathic and narcissistic as the kids who bullied Phoebe to death. Hey Emily, Phoebe was raped by these kids. Did you forget to talk about that. That's why she took an overdose of pills 6 weeks before she died.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stick and Stones is a poorly researched book based on the author's opinions not the facts. What a dissappointment!