Title: Say No to Bullying | Author: Louise Spilsbury | Illustrator: Mike Gordon | Publication Date: February 1, 2014 | Publisher: Barron’s Educational Series | Pages: 64 | Recommended Ages: 7 to 13 | Reviewed by: Renee (Mother)
Summary: Bullies come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Just as varied are the different forms of bullying, which can range from familiar playground teasing to cyberbullying to dangerous physical actions. In Say No to Bullying, Louise Spilsbury tackles this sensitive topic in a format especially for kids. Inside this engaging, illustrated book she covers:
- The basics of bullying, from the signs to the different types
- The reasons people bully, including guidance for kids who bully others
- How to deal with and prevent bullying and getting help to make it stop
- What to do when adults are bullies
Illustrator, Mike Gordon’s engaging images convey the body language and emotion needed for this sensitive topic. Chapters include featured facts about bullying, tips for kids on keeping safe, and advice for boosting confidence and self-esteem. A quiz at the end of the book tests what kids have learned. Also includes a list of books, hotlines, and websites where kids can get more help and advice.
My Thoughts: I recently had the pleasure of receiving a review copy of Say No to Bullying directly from the publisher, Barron’s Educational Series. Bullying is something that most children (regardless of gender) will experience at least to some extent as either a perpetrator, victim, or bystander and this wonderful book covers it all.
The book begins by going into details explaining the different types of bullying including physical bullying, teasing and name-calling, relationship bullying, racist bullying, homophobic bullying, cyber-bullying, and much more. There is just the right amount of information for a child in the target age range (7 to 13) to be able to identify if they are being bullied. There are also tips for differentiating bullying (e.g., systemic exclusion) from misunderstandings (e.g., thinking someone didn’t want to play a game and apologizing for not asking a friend to join). This is all very well-done.
I appreciated that the author took on some more difficult topics to address such as what to do when an adult such as a teacher, coach or even a parent is the bully. As one can imagine, this is a very difficult situation for any child and the author deals with this sensitively. The next few sections each address the perspective of the bully including why children become bullies and how to stop oneself from being a bully. This fits in very nicely with my framework of compassion and with my own views on bullying. I have always taught my children that people hurt other people because they are hurt themselves. This message is reinforced in this book.
The final sections in the book give concrete advice about how to respond if you are being bullied including “faking confidence” (love that one!), ignoring the bully or the bullying (if appropriate), making and keeping a solid group of friends, standing up to the bully or bullying in a safe way, and finally, asking for help if necessary. Of course, many of these things seem like great ideas in theory; but, I imagine that putting them into practice may be difficult, so I really appreciate the author stressing the importance of developing self-confidence. The book is full of great advice!
I do have to also mention that I thought the illustrations and the presentation of the information through infographics labelled “Did You Know?” and “Top Tips” among others was outstanding. The illustrations as well as the information itself is geared toward the children themselves so that the author is in conversation with the child reading the book. While the topic covered in the book is certainly difficult, the book itself is very child-friendly.
My Bottom Line: Say No to Bullying is an excellent resource for children and parents alike for having frank discussions about bullying. The book is well-rounded with regards to covering off the main topics concerning bullying including identifying bullying behavior, understanding the causes of bullying, and advice for what to do if you are the victim of bullying. There is just the right amount of information and infographics to not be overwhelming for children. I highly recommend Say No To Bullying to parents of children ages 7 to 13 as it will undoubtedly be a useful tool at one point or another for children attending school or even in the context of homeschooling groups.
* This book was provided to me by the publisher free-of-charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. *