July 11, 2013
Vicious, True Stories by Teens about Bullying, edited by Hope Vanderberg of Youth Communication
Vicious, True Stories by Teens about Bullying
edited by Hope Vanderberg of Youth Communication
Free Spirit Publishing
No one knows more about bullying than those who have experienced it either as a victim or as one of the bullies. Editor Hope Venderberg and Youth Communications brought together a collection of essays by teenagers who have dealt with bullying first hand.
Some of them have been bullied — online, face to face, and sometimes even in front of adult witnesses. They tell stories about fear, frustrations and despair.
Others have been the bullies. They acted out against their peers because it made them feel big and important.
There are stories about online bullying, both from the bullied and from the perspective of peers. They tell of thinking it is no big deal (just ignore it), until they see the effects of self-doubt first hand.
Each of these stories contains a note of hope. They relate what turned things around and gave them hope or convinced them that beating on other kids wasn’t how they wanted to live.
These stories can be tough to read simply because of the subject matter but they aren’t explicit. A tween who is being bullied would likely be okay with the content as it isn’t gory, crude or explicit but it is still tough. There is so much hate and despair even if it all works out okay in the end.
There are also listings in the back of resources including what adults can do to help, stories of adults who have stepped up and refused to condone bullying that they have witnessed and information on my personal favorite, the It Get’s Better Project and it’s Youtube channel of inspirational videos.
The one thing that I wish this included was a story about academic or other adult on child bullying. This may not be a new phenomenon, like cyber-bullying, but it is still chilling when it occurs, pitting an authority figure against someone who isn’t sure they will be believed.
This book would make an excellent discussion starter and is something youth groups might want to read together.