Wednesday, September 26, 2012
BULLY by Patricia Polaco
by Patricia Polacco
G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2012
Bullying is a problem that is not going to take care of itself. We need to prepare students with the tools they need to resist peer pressure, to make good decisions, and to stand up for what is right.
Lyla is a new student, but she makes a friend on the first day of school, begins to distinguish herself for good grades and service to the community, and makes the cheerleading squad. The "cool" cheerleaders include Lyla in their group, taking her away from her friend Jamie. Then, she witnesses her new friends cyberbullying Jamie. She stands up for Jamie and stops hanging around with the "cool" girls, but their revenge for this isolates Lyla from the whole student body and focuses the cyberbullying on her.
Jamie stands up for Lyla in the end, providing the information needed to clear her name with the authorities. But the reader is left with the question, "What would you do?" Should Lyla and Jamie return to their school and hope for the best, or should they switch schools for a fresh start?
This book will provide lots to talk about with students in grades 4-8.
Just as important as talking about bullying and strategies to avoid or resist them, are the conversations about all the good we can do in the world -- ways to fight bullying by being the best and kindest people ever. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's poem, "Lets", provides this flip side to the bullying conversation.