Bully – Bully Prevention Month


Patricia Polacco, author and illustrator

G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Fiction, 2012

Suitable for:  Grades 3-5

Theme: Cyberbullying, Friendship, Popularity, Schools

Opening“It was my first day at my new school.  I lived right across the bay from the Golden Gate Bridge now, and it was beautiful to look at, but it wasn’t home yet, and I dreaded going to school.  I missed my old school — and all my friends.  My stomach was churning and my heart was pounding out of my chest.” 

Synopsis:  Lyla quickly makes friends with Jamie.  They eat lunch together and watch sci-fi movies on Fridays.  Jamie is also computer savvy and helps Lyla set up a Facebook page on her computer.  Lyla makes the cheerleading squad and wins some awards at school.  The popular girls take note of her and invite her into their group.  Lyla begins to pays less attention to Jamie.  But, when Lyla watches her new friend Gage surf the computer to leave nasty and hurtful remarks on the Facebook pages of targeted classmates, including Jamie.  Lyla drops out of their group and hangs out with Jamie.  This clique of girls is mean.  When Lyla musters the courage to stand up to Gage about her bullying behavior towards Jamie and other kids, the girls take revenge.  Lyla finds herself the target of an even bigger cyberbullying scheme.

Why I like this book:  This is the first picture book I’ve seen for older kids that  deals with cyberbullying.  Patricia Polacco has written a much-needed book on such an important topic.   It is an excellent book that escalates when the cheerleaders take revenge and steal achievement tests.  But, Polacco is crafty in her judgement to let the students solve the problem on their own, with Jamie’s superb computer skills.  Polacco talks about bullying in a note to her readers at the end.   “I myself was a victim of teasing because of my learning disabilities.  In my case, this involved only a few other children.  But if e-mail, text messaging, blogging, and tweeting had existed in my time, I would have felt the entire world scrutinizing and passing judgment on me.  I wrote this book on behalf of children everywhere.” 

Resources:  This is a great discussion book for the classroom.  Check out the National Bullying Prevention Center.  They have a special site for kids and teens to join against bullying.   Click here to visit Patricia Polacco’s website.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

40 thoughts on “Bully – Bully Prevention Month

    • Genevieve, only Patricia Polacco could pull off a picture book intended for kids 8-12 (and older). She’s always been a favorite. And, it’s the first picture book on cyber bullying that I’ve seen.


  1. Thanks for sharing what looks to be another great book! As a youngster I had to deal with some pretty terrible bullying at school, but at least I knew that when I went home that I’d been able to leave the bullies behind. Now they follow you and you can’t look at your phone or computer without the possibility of being attacked.

    This afternoon I’m heading to a town hall gathering where the directors of the film, Bully, will be talking with youth and adults and school/community leaders. We helped send 100 children to see the film and I’m looking forward to hearing some of their responses to the film.

    Thanks Patricia, for bringing us these books and lifting up October as Anti-bullying Awareness Month. We have a pretty comprehensive resources page about bullying, including a powerful infographic on Cyber-bullying on our web site. http://www.reachandteach.com/content/article.php/bullied


    • Craig,
      Thank you for your thoughtful response and for sharing about the film Bully. Lucky you to attend. Must have been interesting. And, thank you for sharing the link to your sight on cyber-bullying. I wasn’t aware of it.


  2. Another great share, Patricia. I’m glad this book brings in some modern-day issues like cyber-bullying. It may not feel “current” in 10 years, but it is much-needed right now!


  3. I hadn’t heard of this book yet, but you can’t go wrong with Patricia Polaccio! I’m going to check this out for my kids ASAP. I agree with Carrie’s comment – much needed for today!


  4. I love Polaccio’s work and hadn’t heard of this one. Though there is a trend away from picture books for this older group, I feel the topic lends itself well to a short punchy picture book style. Great choice, Pat.


  5. Patricia, what a great choice for this anti-bullying week. It’s also nice to see this for a little older age. The story reminds me of me when I moved from the farming town of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to Los Angeles, CA at the height of mini-skirts, bee-hive hairdos, white lipstick and black eye shadow. I was the country girl in knee socks, skirts covering my knees and no make-up.Talk about culture shock.


  6. I am so glad to see a picture book for older readers about cyberbullying! I haven’t seen any like it, and you’re right – it’s a much needed subject. Thank you so much for adding this one to our list, Pat!


  7. Very up to date book, that’s great Pat. It’s hard to keep exactly with the times since books take so long to get published. We need current trends so kids can relate.


  8. Looks like a winner, Pat… I absolutely adore Patricia Polacco. In fact, I just checked out about five of her books this past week from our library. (Bully was not there, though.) Thanks for reviewing it this week– I’m going to look for this one!


  9. Patricia Polacco never disappoints. This is a very timely suggestion … there was recently a very tragic outcome with a Vancouver girl who had been cyber bullied. I’m going to look for this one. Thank you!


    • Barbara, I agree 100 percent. And, this book is no exception. We had a tragic outcome here too. Only Polacco could pull off a PB for older kids. But, good to start young. Made your correction for you.


  10. Patricia Polacco is a favorite. I’ve seen this picture book reviewed in quite a few bookblogs but haven’t had a chance to find it yet. It does sound very timely – the nature of bullying nowadays – what with all the social networking sites – is a different league altogether, especially when gossipmongering goes ‘viral.’ Thank you for sharing this, Pat.


    • Myra, Hope you get your hands on a copy. It just came out, so many libraries don’t have it yet. Too many tragic outcomes in the US and other places in the world from cyber bullying. Thanks for stopping.


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