Dear Bully: Book Summary

Instructor: Dori Starnes

Dori has taught college and high school English courses, and has Masters degrees in both literature and education.

Bullying is a common problem that many children experience from all sides. ''Dear Bully'' is a collection of true stories by people who have been there and survived, and want to show you that there is life after bullying.

An Anthology

Dear Bully is a collection of essays, graphic novelettes, and poems written by 70 different authors. Compiled by Megan Kelly Hall and Carrie Jones, this collection shows bullying from all angles: the bully, the victim, and the bystander. It was published in 2011, and all of the profits from the sale of this book go to a charity called STOMP Out Bullying. Though the stories in this book are short, they are very powerful.

'Slivers of Purple Paper'

One of the stories is 'Slivers of Purple Paper' by Cyn Balog. Cyn, a quiet student who felt like an outcast, and Avery, a popular, athletic girl, were in a seventh grade health class together. One day, the class was doing an exercise that was supposed to raise their self-esteem. The desks had been pushed into a circle, and each student had to write something nice about each of the other students on a little sliver or purple paper.

When Cyn opened her box, she found that all of the papers said 'shy', except for one. That one read, 'She may not say much, but when she does speak, she always says something special.' Cyn didn't know who wrote it, but she kept the paper forever.

Five years later, Avery committed suicide. When Cyn entered Avery's house, the paper she had written about Avery all those years before was tacked up on Avery's bulletin board.

Other Stories in the Collection

'They Made Me Do It and I'm Sorry' by Cecil Castellucci and Lisa Bernier is written like a comic book. This story tells the dangers of bullying by dealing with a theme familiar to girls the world over: the silent treatment.

Micol Ostow's story 'A List' is composed of 28 things he was made fun of, including being half-Jewish and not being Jewish enough. R.L. Stine tells of how his big mouth gets him into trouble, but also of how he uses humor as a defense against bullies in 'The Funny Guy'.

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