With characters teen readers love, two middle school novels are the first choice for making a difference on bullying and cyberbullying:
Doug Wilhelm’s acclaimed, best-selling The Revealers — and the new sequel True Shoes.
"Referrals for fighting decreased.
"Students were willing to speak out.
"Anti-bullying became pervasive."
Results of a schoolwide project with The Revealers, cited in a presentation to the Florida Association of Media Educators by West Port Middle (now Middle and High) School of Ocala
“As a teacher, it is so encouraging to give a book to students that they will LOVE, even the most reluctant reader. True Shoes is again one of those rare stories that all students will want to read.”
Barbara Raak, language arts teacher
Fennville (MI) Middle School
Read and discussed by over 1,000 schools nationwide and internationally, The Revealers is the middle-school selection in the Anti-Defamation League’s curriculum project Words that Heal: Using Children's Literature to Address Bullying.
Set a year later, the followup True Shoes — an engaging, multi-character story on cyberbullying and young people’s positive, creative uses of networked communications — has already been the focus of school projects in 15 U.S. states and in Cape Town, South Africa.
“I started True Shoes with the 8th graders. We read the first chapter aloud in class, and ‘OMG!’ What a great opener!”
Helen Petersen, admissions director
American International School of Cape Town
“The story is so lovingly crafted that it captured my imagination.”
Margaret Herb, Project Challenge teacher
Ritenour Middle School, St. Louis
“It is excellent to the highest power. I liked it even more than The Revealers.”
Nancy Donofrio, language arts teacher
Birchland Park Middle School, East Longmeadow, MA
“True Shoes is TREMENDOUS! I can do a lesson based around the characters of the story, giving students a chance to interact without ‘revealing their own stuff.’ Marvelous.”
Lynne Ellis, guidance counselor
Litchfield (NH) Middle School
“You have brought insightful ideas about real issues in a easy-to-deliver, non-preachy manner to my family and my students. Thank you.”
Cindy Trevino, special education teacher
Rutland (VT) High School
“Teachers — this can be used in the classroom setting to help effect change in your school community. Parents — get up to speed and learn about this issue. Students — this book will help you see cyberbullying for what it is!”
Rebecca Carlson, deputy coordinator
Sussex County (NJ) Coalition for Healthy & Safe Families
Media reports profile the impacts:
“This is really hard,’ said [Hudson, WI Schools Superintendent Mary] Bowen-Eggebraaten, who was helping to judge a door-decorating contest as part of a school/community read.
“The whole thing was sparked by a book,” explained Principal Jim Dalluhn, who is also a judge, not just for the contest, but for the five-week-long effort to encourage reading and tackle a familiar subject for any middle schooler, bullying.
The Revealers, a novel by author Doug Wilhelm, delves into bullying, cyberbullying, and the efforts of young teens to stop it.
... Principal Dalluhn thinks it’s a project worth trying again.
“Two-thirds of the way through, I think it’s been a tremendous success.”
This story ... inspired me to step out of my clique and meet new friends, and help people who may be bullied.
“The Book that Changed Me”
The Washington Post
When asked how he came up with the title True Shoes, Wilhelm referred to a saying that a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes. The words we use, he said, can be used for good or for ill.
"Good stories come out of the problems we encounter and overcome, and good lives come out of the choices we make," Wilhelm said. He added that through instant messaging and electronic communication, "we today have the power like never before to share our creativity and positive selves with the rest of the world, or to use these tools in negative ways."
The New Jersey Herald
Click on the Revealers and True Shoes tabs above for briefings on model school projects, useable resources developed by schools, and a wealth of other resources for working with these books.
Click here to order The Revealers and/or True Shoes — including discount bulk purchases for school use.