Bully — Bullies — Bullied — Bullying
The above words are not new. The practice of being mean to someone, is also not new. Yet, in today’s world, the above words HAVE taken on new life and meaning due to social media.
Before texts, messages and page posts, bullying often took place in school hallways and playgrounds. You could even find adult bullies in work environments across the country. If someone had your home phone number, they could make mean prank calls. In most cases, the person who was bullying could easily be identified. Also, the number of people that the bully’s nasty remarks and rumors reached were much smaller than they are today.
Social media, cell phones, computers and tablets now make it easier for bullies to reach a MUCH larger audience. We are talking about an audience that can be outside of your city, state, and even country.
I chose this book to review during the summer because many tweens and teens will be starting middle and high schools in the fall. It is my hope that this story will start conversations about cyber bullying. I also hope the story will give you a chance to answer some serious questions of your self about the act of bullying. *There are no spoilers in this review.
Bully by Patricia Polacco
This story is told in first person by the main character, Lyla.
Moving to a new place and starting a new school can be overwhelming. Lyla hadn’t settled into her new house yet and was already missing her old friends, and worrying about making new friends.
Her worries subside after meeting Jamie on the first day of school. They are both new students. Jamie is in the same grade as Lyla and he sits next to her in homeroom. It’s not long before the two are best friends. They share the same table everyday at lunch, and get together on Friday nights for movies.
It doesn’t take Lyla long to notice the girls at the “cool” table. They wear great clothes and have cell phones, something she and her brother do not have. Jamie tells her to ask her parents for a cell phone and a laptop. He advises her to explain that is a great way to stay connected and to study. He offers to help her and her brother set them up complete with a Facebook page. At the same time, Lyla makes the cheerleading squad and meets the girls at the “cool” table.
For a bit, Lyla is able to balance her new rise in popularity and the two new devices she can use to connect with her friends. She likes her house, she likes her school, and she likes her friends — all of them.
Things become unbalanced when she begins to notice that the girls are not really that cool, but instead kind of cruel. Their cruelty is not only hurting others, but it's also hurting Jamie. What does Lyla do?
I promised you no spoilers, and I will keep that promise. You need to read the book to find out how Lyla deals with bullies, or to find out if she becomes one herself.
This book takes an interesting twist with an ending that asks the reader a question. The illustrations are nice and perfectly placed to help tell the story.
I give this book a Five Star rating!
Once again, I encourage you to read this book as a parent and a new teen. I also think it would be great for older teens to share with younger siblings.
Bullying is a horrible thing. It can spread, and often we all can get caught up in rumors and gossip. Being aware and educating ourselves about the damage the smallest lie or a little teasing can do in the cyber world, is a way that each of us can take a stand against bullying.
Please stop by our forums and share with me your opinions about Bully. I would also like to know how you answered the question at the end.
G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers
September 13, 2012
Size: 9 x 0.3 x 11.2
Full Color Illustrations
I borrowed this book from the Parsons Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library for this review.