Tuesday 11 September 2018

70 Ways to Bully-Proof Yourself, by Jenny Alexander, reviewed by Pippa Goodhart

This is a book that is very much on the side of children experiencing bullying. It is kind and clear and properly helpful.  Divided into short chapters, and each of those is subdivided into the making of clear points, illustrated with brief example stories, followed by a series of positive activities you can do to strengthen yourself against bully attack.  From the start we’re given permission to use the book as we like, perhaps skipping parts or going to the headings that most interest us. The range of activities will give something to suit all temperaments.  Some are logical, almost scientific, in their approach, creating charts and diagrams. Others are more arty, tearing up magazines to make mood pictures.  Some are simple and private, just thinking of words at particular moments.

The book tackles different kinds of bullying, from the physical assault, being ambushed on the way home from school, to the ‘we were just having a laugh’ kind of bullying that puts the blame onto you for not having a sense of humour.

Down to earth, and told with humour (‘Shit happens, but it makes great manure!’), the advice feels practical and friendly, but also, very importantly, realistic.  Jenny Alexander recognises that there are risks with telling teachers or parents about bullies, so gives a range of sources of help.  The main source of help is yourself once you are armed the techniques she teaches here.

This book claims that to equip you against bullies in ways that are easy, not scary, that work, and that give you skills for life.  And all of that’s true.

Laid out with humorous pictures and sub-titles so that there are no daunting pages of solid text, this is a book that addresses the reader directly, as a friend.  That reader could be a KS2 child, but could equally well be somebody in secondary school, or an adult.  I found it an empowering book.  It would certainly be a useful tool for teachers; a great resource for any wanting to do assemblies or other sessions about bullying.  Every school library should stock this book because every school suffers from bullying.  



Lynda Waterhouse said...

sounds like a must have book for any school. Love the idea of making yourself 'bully proof'.

Hilary Hawkes said...

This looks like a useful and important book.

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