Thursday, March 31, 2016

‘What YOU Can Do About Bullying’

Book cover: 'What YOU Can Do About Bullying.' Image depicts two cartoon characters, Max and Zoey, addressing readers: 'HEY! Do you want to do something about bullying?' 'There's lots you can do. Just turn the page!'
I always look for a chance to showcase resources about bullying, and my explorations recently led me to What YOU Can Do About Bullying by Max & Zoey, written by Ari Magnusson and illustrated by Greg Marathas (Olivander Press).

Two cartoon characters, Max and Zoey, explain bullying to young readers. The book begins with a special overview for the youngest readership (kindergarten to second-grade), but is suitable for a broad spectrum of ages and emotional maturity.

This book offers a comprehensive explanation of bullying. Accurate terms for types of bullying are presented in an easy-to-understand way.

The targets of bullying receive the essential message that bullying is not their fault.

The book also coaches readers in important social skills, including the four parts that make up a good apology.

One part of the book that may be difficult for some readers is the recommendation that children should cultivate a “circle of friends.” The idea is that when one close friend wants to hang out with other people, the person won’t be left all alone. This is good advice, but when I was a child, I had zero friends. There was simply no way that I’d have been able to form a “circle of friends.”

I’m saying this not to criticize the book, but to remind adult readers that children with social deficiencies may need additional support.

I think Magnusson understands this; the book is a component of his bullying prevention program, CirclePoint. In an email Magnusson briefly described the program to me: that it emphasizes a need for the entire community to work together and to provide support for the targets or victims of bullying.

He also explained the program emphasizes proactively protecting students who struggle socially or who are otherwise at risk of being targeted with aggression.

So, with this review, you get a two-for-one: a recommendation of a book, and an introduction to a bullying prevention program that schools can evaluate.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. The opinion expressed is my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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