In Brenda Turner’s book, Bullying (What are we really scared of?), she explores the subject of bullying. This self-help book leaves no stone unturned, giving insights into the psyches of both bullies and their victims. By sharing snippets from her life, societal facts, and even information from court proceedings, she paints a clear picture of how bullying has evolved over the years.
As you read this book from page to page, you come to understand the different types of bullies, what motivates them, and how to defend yourself against them. And I must say, never has an author laid out such a clear and actionable defense plan before.
As a person who has been bullied before, I deeply relate to the situations painted in this book. From all the stories and statistics that she provides, I can clearly see that the author not only has extensive personal knowledge of the subject matter but also that she constantly does the necessary research to understand it better. She even goes as far as attaching links to research materials.
While this book is thoroughly comprehensive and relatable, I still feel a lot more could be done to pull a reader in. For instance, how the source links are placed in the middle of text with neither warning nor acknowledgment is quite destabilizing. Also, the text seems to get away from the title of the chapter. In this regard, I would have preferred shorter, clearer, and more concise paragraphs. However, I still feel that the author did a good job of breaking down such a complex topic.
However, what I truly love about this book is its action-based approach. The fact that it doesn’t paint victims as helpless individuals but rather as people who can fight back and defeat their oppressors is quite refreshing. In my opinion, it is this single quality that transforms this book from a hopeless doomy piece into a hopeful one.
Apart from hope and the triumph of good against evil, another recurring theme in this narrative is the importance of the family unit’s independence. In this regard, the author iterates again and again the dangers of the government dictating how parents should run their households.
Pages: 420 | ASIN: B0794TXPPN
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, Brenda Turner, bully, bullying, Bullying: What are we really scared of?, ebook, educational, goodreads, inspirational, kindle, kobo, literature, nonfiction, nook, read, reader, reading, self help, story, writer, writing
Mattie Boombalatty by Wayne Gerard Trotman is a children’s illustrated short story that follows Mattie Boombalatty as she moves to a new town and falls victim to bullying by her new schoolmates. Trotman’s simple yet profound lesson about morality, combined with the book’s vivid and lively illustrations makes this a fantastic book for children.
Nhat Hao Nguyen, the illustrator of the book, is a skilled artist who makes each scene and character come to life. He uses vivid colors that pop, and his life-like yet cherub-like character illustrations add just the right amount of magic and realism to this children’s picture book. His attention to detail on each page is fantastic.
Trotman’s message about treating others who treat us lesser than we deserve is, as aforementioned, simple yet poignant. Mattie faces many anxieties that are understandable and normal for a school-aged girl. Some of her schoolmates decide for no reason that they do not like her and, as mean schoolchildren do, they make their feelings known. As distraught as she is over being taunted by her peers, she displays strength in refusing to wish them ill will, even when she comes across a glowing opportunity to get revenge. Mattie is ultimately rewarded for choosing the high road, and she reaches her happy ending in the story. While we as humans are not always rewarded for rising above our circumstances, Trotman makes it clear that the reward is not what matters – rather, the peace of mind that comes with choosing the right path is what ultimately matters.
Pages: 50 | ISBN-10: 1916184839
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, bully, childrens books, ebook, education, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kids books, kindle, kobo, literature, Mattie Boombalatty, nook, parent, picture book, read, reader, reading, story, teacher, Wayne Gerard Trotman, writer, writing
Jam Sessions follows a middle school boy named Phillip who has to forge a new path for himself through a new school that he’s transferred to in the middle of the school year. Phillip struggles with bullies, but finds a creative outlet in Mr. Filter’s class where he starts the day with a writing prompt that sends Phillips imagination soaring. Now, if only he could apply that creativity and passion in his real life.
Jerry Harwood has created a cast of characters that are both easy to dislike and easy to empathize with. Chuck and his friends are easily unlikable and I loved Ashley, Daniel and Jaylan. I really liked all the teachers too, especially the language arts and P.E. teachers. I did feel like Phillips mom should have played a bigger part in the story, but it didn’t hurt the story in any way. From the first time we meet Chuck I thought that he was just a pain in the butt kid who likes to be a bully and embarrass people. Chuck and his gang of hooligans didn’t really evolve much but that honestly worked for the story because they continue to be the fundamental antagonists.
Jerry Harwood does a great job detailing what a panic/anxiety attack feels like, I could almost feel and see Phillip having his attacks. It was great that he found a way to cope with his attacks. Even at the beginning when the author is describing Phillip and his mom running away from home, everything is perfectly detailed. When Phillip is standing in the back of the room on the first day of school, you could feel him praying that he is invisible and then realizing that he really had been during that class because not one person had cared about him being there or noticed his presence. It was sort of sad.
The story flowed easily and was well written. I enjoyed the small cartoon characters at the beginning of each chapter and I liked how short the chapters were. I read the book in one sitting, because it was an enjoyable read and I loved that Phillip was able to turn things around which gave the book a feel good ending.
Pages: 214 | ASIN: B0868XNSH9
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, bully, children, childrens book, contemporary, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, humor, Jam Sessions, Jerry Harwood, kids, kindle, kobo, literature, middle school, new readers, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, school, story, urban fantasy, urban fiction, writer, writing, young adult
Bully Friends educates readers on bully friendships and the dangers those relationships create. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I had several bully friendships in grade school and I knew how painful that was for me. I wanted to prevent another person from experiencing the heartache that I had experienced.
I also felt that the media talked about bullying and abuse in romantic relationships and families but rarely talked about abuse and bullying in platonic friendships. I wanted to start that conversation.
What do you feel is a common misconception people have about bullying?
People do not realize how damaging bullying really is. I developed PTSD from my bullying experiences. PTSD was very challenging to deal with. It has literally taken me years to get over the trauma that bullying caused me.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
I hope that readers understand the seriousness of bullying and refuse to tolerate it under any circumstances. I also hope that students will reach out to someone that will take their bullying situation seriously.
If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice what would it be?
I absolutely love this question! I would, first of all, give myself a big hug, and then I would tell myself that this situation is not permanent. The bullying will stop and you will go on to do big things in this world and be an inspiration to many. The bullying which was used to harm you and literally end your life will be used by God to save many lives.
I would also tell myself to report the bullying to a trusted school official and/or my parents because nobody should tolerate being bullied. Back then I just kept my head down and excelled in school and I didn’t even realize how dangerous doing that really was because I felt super depressed and isolated.
Bully Friends by Kelechi Uchendu is an uplifting and inspiring book about how to deal with bully friends, and how to cope with the way they’ve treated you. The book also tells you how to stop yourself from becoming a bully friend. The book explains how having good friends can change your life in a positive way. Kelechi Uchendu provides examples of bully friends, coupled with real-life experiences to let the reader know that they aren’t alone. At the end of every chapter is a page for you to write down your own experiences and ways you think you can improve your friendships.
Providing real-life experiences is great for young readers as they can relate to them. It helps the reader to not feel alone or like the author doesn’t truly understand what they’re going through. The pages to write on at the end of each chapter is great for the reader to identify the similarities between their situation and Kelechi’s so they can stop it. Overall, Bully Friends is a good book for young-adults to read so they know how to avoid bad friendships. Reading a book like this is good for kids to notice the toxic friendships they may have, so they can find better, nicer, and supportive friends.
Bully Friends is one of the most useful books that I’ve read this year as it gave me tools that I can actually use. Kelechi Uchendu covers almost every way a bully friend can abuse you mentally so her readers can avoid those situations. The relatable experiences and helpful advice can help to change anyone’s life for the better.
Pages: 34 | ASIN: B08D3YH1B9
Written by a woman who dealt with bullying and bully friendships during grade school, Bully Friends teaches everyone (even the bully!) about how dangerous bully friendships really are. This book covers everything from defining what a bully friend is to how to heal from a bully friend relationship. Along the way, Kay Kay shares personal stories of her heartbreaking experiences with bully friends and how she went on to find herself and form healthy relationships now and in the future.
Gerald of Kerk was an interesting read. I can’t say I have ever read a book that was written quite like this one; seemingly a fictional biography of the main character, Gerald. Although rather than covering his entire life we only read from his late grade school years until around his senior year of high school.
At first, I was little confused with the progression of the book because it didn’t seem to be reaching any sort of a climax or striving toward any particular purpose. Come to find out, the book would continue this way and end this way as well. Actually, I was surprised to have found myself at the end of the book and kept thinking I was missing another chapter, at least. I think I would have to say that overall, the entire book felt similarly abrupt. For instance, in the scene where Gerald exhibits a bit of bravery in going to rescue his bicycle from the neighborhood bullies, I felt a little letdown because the build up to this scene was emotional and the outcome was not what I expected. That’s not to say it wasn’t good, I just feel it could have been less abrupt and more fulfilling for the reader. But then again, the fact that Gerald’s experiences aren’t over the top and dramatic is what makes the book so relatable.
The charming aspects of the story are the childhood memories and experiences of Gerald that the author takes us through. I think that the feelings and thoughts and experiences are very familiar and relatable to the average reader, and they make the story compelling enough to be a page turner. While the writing could use some polish the story and characters are written well enough to be touching.
The relationship between Gerald and his childhood friends is the focal point of the story, as is his developing sense of self and morals. I really ended up loving Gerald’s character for his common sense and tendency to do the right thing even in the face of peer pressure. I think this book would be a great read for pre-teens, boys and girls alike, because it does a great job of illustrating how your life will not be ruined if you don’t always join the crowd. By the time Gerald reached his teenage years I really felt invested in his story and wanted to know what he would make of himself in college and beyond. I guess this is why I was a little disappointed with the story’s ending point. I could be wrong, but I feel like there has to be a Gerald of Kerk Part II on the way. If there was, I would definitely want to read it.
Pages: 106 | ASIN: https://amzn.to/2Q4Ra78
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Daisy, Bold & Beautiful follows young Daisy as she struggles to fit in at school and finds help from an unlikely friend. What was your inspiration for this story?
Well, Persephone is my favorite Greek goddess, so I knew I wanted a story featuring her. And, to me, Persephone’s story is all about standing up for yourself. I wanted the moral of my story to match the moral of Persephone’s story, so I came up with D.J. I didn’t want it to be mistaken for a book about bullying, though, so I wanted to put D.J. in a situation where she needed to stand up for herself, but not because she was going up against a “bad guy”.
There is a unique infusion of Greek mythology in this book. Why did you want to use that theme throughout the book?
Like I said, I knew I wanted to write books about the Greek gods, because…come on…they’re AWESOME! I didn’t want my books to feel like historical stories, though, so I came up with a way to bring up the stories of the Greek gods while actually writing about kids living today.
I liked Daisy’s character, and I felt she was relatable. Did you plan her character before writing or did she develop organically while writing?
So, the first thing I did was come up with a god to write about: Persephone. Then I wrote an outline to the story. THEN I wrote up character descriptions for all the characters. A lot of my characters share names with people I know in my real life. Some of the character personalities match those of the people they’re named after and some are different than the real people. D.J. wasn’t named after anybody I know; she’s just made up. I would say all the characters developed a little more as I wrote the story, but they all started off with pretty detailed character descriptions. That was actually the hardest part of writing the book – coming up with the back story and personalities for everyone. I tried to include at least one fact about each character that the readers never find out – just to try to make them really real, know what I mean?
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Funny that you should ask that! The second book in the series is Mylee In The Mirror, and it’s available AS OF TODAY! This book is about Aphrodite. I’m really excited about this book because it has TWO main characters, Mylee and one of her best friends and teammates, Ty (Tyson). I was nervous about writing about older kids (the main characters are in the ninth grade, and I’ve obviously never been in the ninth grade before – it was easier with Daisy, Bold & Beautiful, because I was the same age as D.J. when I wrote it). I was also nervous about writing from the perspective of a guy, but writing about Ty was super fun and I might even make my next main character a guy!
D.J. and her dad moved far from the small town and only home she ever knew. Now she’s starting middle school in the city with kids she’s never met. She tries to make friends, but they all appear to be slaves to screen time. D.J. just likes to garden, nurturing plants, watching them grow and thrive. It seems she’ll never find a way to fit in, but then she awakens in a gorgeous garden where she meets Persephone, Goddess of Spring. She must be dreaming; her new friend can’t possibly be real—and what could she know about getting along with gamers? D.J. really needs some ideas, or she might never find her own place in a complicated world.
Daisy, Bold & Beautiful is the debut novel of middle-schooler Ellie Collins, daughter of award-winning author Stephanie Collins. Boys and girls alike will appreciate Ellie’s keen eye for the challenges of growing up that she and her friends must face. Discover the wonderful writing of Ellie now, then follow her to learn about her writing and more books to come.
Posted in Interviews
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