Bullying is a horrible thing. It sticks with you forever. It poisons you. But only if you let it.
These lines, from Heather Brewer's story "The Secret," touch on the prevailing themes of a new book called Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories. Since October is National Bullying Prevention Month, it seemed especially appropriate to share this book right now.
Dear Bully is a collection containing stories by many authors who have written books for children and teens. Authors like Ellen Hopkins, Carolyn Mackler, Lauren Oliver, Jon Scieszka, Rachel Vail, R.L. Stine, Nancy Werlin, Michelle Zink, Nancy Garden, and Mo Willems. All of them share stories about bullying that took place when they were younger, but these stories are told from differing perspectives. Some of them were bullies. Some of them were victims. Some of them were bystanders who stood by and did nothing when they saw other kids being bullied.
They write about feeling depressed, and angry, and suicidal. They write about wanting revenge and feeling powerless, even though the events they describe took place years earlier. They write about their memories of what happened in the past, and how those memories affected the adults they would become.
This book is divided into sections with names like "Survival", "Regret", "Write It" and "It Gets Better." And if there is one message that can be learned from this book, it's that all of these authors went through bullying experiences when they were younger, but even though they suffered they survived. And you can, too.
You can read these stories by checking out Dear Bully from your local library, and you can learn more about bullying from websites like Raven Days, It Gets Better, and NEA's Bully Free: It Starts With Me.