Saturday 17 January 2015

STOP the Bully

STOP the Bully by Karen Tyrrell (Digital Future Press)
PB RRP PBL $13.95, e-Book $2.99
ISBN 97809872740

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

First day at a new school with his younger sister Tara is an unmitigated disaster for eleven year old Brian. For a start, this self proclaimed geek, a stammerer with curly red hair and wearing second-hand clothes, is made to sit alongside a girl (also a geek). Within moments Brian is bullied by a boy he describes as having ‘massive shoulders’ and ‘an enormous body… like an ape.’ As a result water spills on Brian’s shorts and they need to be changed – another embarrassment. His new teacher, Miss Bliss, is in her first year of teaching and has no control of the class. On this first new day Brian’s bag goes missing, his cap is thrown into a toilet and he’s made to stand up in assembly. After school the bully trips him up on the bus and he loses his house key.

Brian’s life is certainly falling apart. To add to his woes, Dad has abandoned his family. Naturally the boy hates his new school with the bully, Cody Fletcher, attacking him every day, and one day his sister, too. Even Brian’s home is a wreck – and an anonymous caller keeps phoning. Brian wants to go into the school’s Super Race, but he doesn’t have runners and his school shoes are falling apart. Mum won’t sign the permission note to race, either. The only positives in Brian’s life are two classmates – Peter and the geek girl Amelia -- both of whom help him with strategies to overcome the bullying.

There are many issues raised in STOP the Bully: as well as those already mentioned there is poverty, self-esteem, friendship, coping with change, and eventually forgiveness and reconciliation. Towards the end of the book there are several unexpected twists and the story ends happily for Brian, especially when Dad makes a surprise appearance.

Often children’s novels are written about bullying and this one suggests preventative strategies that could possibly help. Five percent of sales of STOP the Bully go to Kids Helpline to help Kids in Crisis. Free teacher Notes and free kids’ activities are also available from The author Karen Tyrrell presents interactive story telling sessions, creative writing workshops, seminars and author talks in schools, libraries, festivals and conferences. She speaks out about bullying on TV, radio and writes for magazines.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Di a nd Buzz Words for reviewing STOP the Bully.
    I was SO excited to discover your review today
    Karen Tyrrell :)


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