Danielle Viverito and Michelle Kohlas have done it again. They have taken a difficult topic, this time, bullying, and presented it in an easy-to-read, beautifully illustrated story format that children will understand and adults can learn from. My Bully and Me not only takes us into the world of a young person experiencing bullying but it provides us with an insight into the feelings and thoughts of the person that is easy not to like – the bully himself.
This latter perspective is critical if we’re ever going to make progress in eliminating bullying as the solution to this ever-growing epidemic will not be found through punishment which simply deals with the behavior. As My Bully and Me points out, a bully’s actions often stem from a very real cause whether it be a health issue, emotional problems, or being abused herself at home. Seeing the bully from this viewpoint changes everything. It helps us to realize that the answer to solving this problem lies not in chastising the bully but in helping him resolve his own issues through communication, counseling, and understanding.
My Bully and Me also does a wonderful job of taking us through the inner world of the person being bullied. Young readers experiencing bullying will undoubtedly recognize this all too familiar inner dialogue and realize that she too can do something about it. Often the key to finding one’s way out of a problem can be found by connecting with someone else going through the same thing. My Bully and Me’s bullied story character provides just that.
It’s time that we, as a society, step up to the plate and work together to eliminate bullying by empowering its victims and addressing its underlying cause. This will require not only encouraging the bullying victims to tell someone about it but viewing the bully from a place of compassion and concern instead of animosity and disgust. Educating ourselves is necessary to reach this point. My Bully and Me by Danielle Viverito and Michelle Kohlas is a perfect place to start.
Fight Like a Girl Club