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I can't rate this book highly enough for opening up dialogue on the topic of bullying to help empower our children on what to do if they find themselves in a situation where they're being bullied, or perhaps they've witnessed bullying going on, which can be equally as difficult to deal with.
The book is laid out in a way that's attractive. I purchased this to read with my Yr3 son and unlike "Bullies Bigmouths and so-called friends" by J.Alexander, I feel this book is very accessible to KS1 school children also without the need for editing by parents (Bullies Bigmouths aimed more at teens).
I'm so impressed by Confessions of a Former Bully that I will be giving a copy to my child's teacher as they will be covering the topic next half term.
I’ve used this book for years as an early childhood professional, as it offers realistic techniques for children affected by bullying, whether they’re the bully or the victim. I had to re-order it, as I loaned it out and it got lost.
My daughter is a bully. I've talked to here. Done different exercises to try to show her what she is doing. Yet she keeps doing it. So I decided to give this book a try. I really liked the way it was formatted and super relatable for a 2nd grader. "Mom looked like she sucked a lemon. Dad looked like steam was coming out of his ear." If that doesn't depict my husband and myself I don't know what will? It was written like a journal with pictures and facts through out the book to keep the interest.
One Saturday while I went to work, I left this book for my daughter and printed out a book report template. I told her I wanted her to read this book and write a book report for me. She comes to me when I get home and shows me it. Impromptu I asked her to help me write down all the things she realized she does as a bully. She of course was "Mama I don't do those things!", after I told her she was in a "safe zone" we started to work together to write down all the things she has done as a bully using the book to help. My goal was to fill the whole page up but I didn't tel her this. After we filled the page, I made a point to have her see how we filled the whole page with all of her actions. From there I went through each bullying moment and asked her how she would feel if someone did this to her? Four things repeated themselves over and over 1. Emotionally Hurt 2. Physically Hurt 3.Lose friends 4.No Trust
I truly felt like it was a great learning moment for us.
This book has really helped my daughter better understand that some of her actions are really bullying behaviors. She didn’t realize how some of her actions can be seen and didn’t know why she was losing friends. This has been very helpful. Also, pro-tip; to keep communication open, I told her that anything she told me while we were reading/holding this book was non-punishable. It allowed her to really open up and seek guidance.
Great book, written from the point of view of the BULLY, not the victims of the bully, which is a refreshing change. What I do wish, however, is that there had been this passage "One day, at the science fair, Lucy had made a beautiful model of the planets of the solar system. Jessie and Sharron saw it and were so jealous that they did something dreadful. Jessie knocked the model off the table and both she and Sharron stomped on it, despite Lucy's tearful pleas for them to stop and Mark's grabbing their shoulders and saying "Stop it, that's not cool." When they finally stopped the model was completely ruined and poor Lucy was left to pick up the pieces; she was crying bitterly. A teacher came up just then and asked what was wrong and she said "Jessie and Sharron wrecked my model and Katie let them." "Right" said Mrs Attwood "you, Jessie, Sharron and Katie can make a new model for Lucy." "Why should I have to?" I asked "I didn't do anything.", but then I stopped and thought. My "I didn't do anything" had two sides to it. I didn't stomp on the model, but I didn't try to stop Jessie and Sharron, so maybe I was just as bad and deserved to have to help Lucy repair her model just as much.", and when I told Mrs Attwood that, she agreed. We finally had the model almost as good as new again and Lucy won a prize, which was a bar of chocolate which she wanted to share with us, but we wouldn't let her; it wouldn't be fair. A few weeks later, I saw a boy who was at least two years older than I was holding tightly onto Emma’s arms and Emma was crying and begging him to let go and I went over and said “Stop that; you’re hurting Emma.” “Huh” he said “what’s it to you, you little pipsqueak?” I tried to prise Emma’s arms out of his hands, but he pushed me over into a puddle of mud which made me really angry, but I knew that if I lost my temper and hit him, that would just put me in the wrong; and it would make me as bad as Bruce so I said “I’ll go and tell a teacher, then”, and just then Miss Harris turned up and said “Bruce, let Emma go”, and he did so. She then told him his behaviour was totally unacceptable and as a consequence he would have to spend the remaining Fridays of that term on detention. She then turned to me and said “Well, I’m glad to see you’ve learnt your lesson from what happened with Lucy's model. You were being an active bystander, and that’s the best kind of bystander to be.”
As an elementary school counselor I'm always looking for books to help me with classroom lessons. This book has a TON of great information and is interesting to read, plus my 5th graders really liked it (and the activities I added to the book). Here is my breakdown of the pros and cons for me.
Pros: The book is easy to read and listen to. It gives examples of mean behaviors that aren't physical that can be bullying. It gives facts about bullying and has some great quotes that lead to interesting discussions with the students. The book explains that bullying is something that you choose to do, and that you can choose to stop. My favorite part is the Empowering Tools, which shows students things they can do when someone says something mean to them. I made this into an activity and had my 5th graders act out the empowering tools. They liked it and it helped them see the tools in action.
Cons: The book does not talk about how bullying is mean behaviors that are REPEATED. So one mean thing that someone says once is not bullying. While I like this book it is very long to read, approximately 40-45 minutes. This is a long chunk of time to take away from teachers. Plus, because it's so long there's no way I can read this book with my younger students. There are very little pictures, mostly just words so they'd get bored.
Overall it's a great book with great info. But it is not long and in my opinion geared towards older students.
This is a must buy for every parent with an elementary age child! I love that it covers all perspectives of bullying. From the actual bully, to the target, and bystanders. It gives kids real tools to use in the effort to eliminate bullying. I was beyond impressed. If your a teacher this would make a great assignment. I was able to come up with a number of questions to ask my son about the information provided.