Using a story as an anti-bullying resource
How a story became an anti-bullying resourceAfter her middle school had worked with The Revealers, I got a letter from an teacher. "It was quite an experience reading this book to my homeroom,” wrote Mary Lou Massucco of the Bellows Falls, Vt., Middle School. “There were kids speaking out who I would not have guessed would be willing to share their experiences."
"The Revealers," she added, "touched a nerve."
The extent to which my book has touched a nerve continues to amaze me. The Revealers has been the focus of reading and discussion projects — often all-school reads — in hundreds of middle schools across the U.S. and internationally. The novel has given young people and adults in many of these schools a new platform for building openness, awareness, and positive action on bullying, a perennnial issue that has become an urgent concern in middle schools of all sizes, types and demographics today.
Virtually every young teen is touched in some way at some point by bullying, and each has to decide for him or herself how to deal with it. In visiting many dozens of schools to talk with kids, I’ve come to realize that in this intense and formative time of life, the choices kids make about whether to bully, whether to join in groups that bully, whether to tolerate bullying as bystanders, and/or how to deal with being bullied are experiences that will critically influence how they treat others and feel about themselves all their adult lives.
Six in ten American teenagers witness bullying at least once a day. About the same portion say they've been directly involved at one time or another—about half as targets, the other half as bullies. Among every 10 teens who drop out of high school, one does so because of repeated bullying. Kids who are bullied are five times more likely to be depressed, and are more likely to consider suicide. Severe school bullying has been linked to seven in ten incidents of school shootings in the past 15 years. (For more research-based data, see the Useful Links section of this site.)
In contrast to this troubling data, here’s my positive news: The creative approaches that so many schools have taken to working with The Revealers have sparked discussion, stimulated kids' own honesty and creativity, and led to new understanding of what bullying is and how it can feel. I hear again and again, from both adults and young people in schools, that working with this book can make a difference, and often does. I've also noticed that it's those reading-and-discussion projects that are the most effectively designed that tend to have the most powerful impacts.
So this section offers briefings on some of the most inspired and powerful projects that schools (or, sometimes, libraries or community groups) have developed and completed with The Revealers. Along with resources developed by teachers and curriculum experts, these briefings on model projects are grouped in four key areas:
Visit About the book and author to learn more about the story, the characters, and me. Useful links has more good anti-bullying resources. And, of course, please do click on Buy the book/arrange a visit.
I hope this is the beginning of a journey you'll be glad you took! If I can help, let me know.