Of course bullies are invented every day, in many different ways and, of course, we can't wave our wands and make them go away. But we can call bullies on their behavior. We can try to help them find better ways to interact with others. And, most of all, we can help kids who are being bullied understand that it's not their fault and they are not alone.
That's part of the aim of DEAR BULLY: 70 AUTHORS TELL THEIR STORIES, which is out this week with HarperCollins. Edited by Carrie Jones and Megan Kelley Hall (who deserve mega-kudos both for having the idea and seeing to fruition), It's filled with essays, letters, comics and short stories by YA authors who have been bullied or were bullies. My contribution, "Can We Make This Letter Disappear?" is a letter from my adult self to my teen self, trying to put the problem of bullying into a bigger, more personal perspective. I wasn't tormented in the classic bully scenario, but I did put up with my fair share of girl crap, and I dished out my share as well. Girl drama, cattiness, bitchiness, gossip - whatever you want to call it, that's bullying, too, and I still feel the scars in my relationships with other women and in the anxiety I feel about my own daughters' social experiences.
Wherever you are in your journey - whether you're a teen who's struggling with standing up to the mean kids, a victim of bullying, a parent, a teacher, a counselor, or even a neighbor or grandparent - I hope you'll find a story in DEAR BULLY that helps. Maybe it gives you better insight. Maybe it gives you a new strategy, or perhaps it just offers the hope that things will get better. A portion of proceeds go to Stomp Out Bullying, so please, if you can afford it, buy the book. And if you read it? Let me know what you think.