Stop the Bully by Karen Tyrrell
Published by Digital Future Press
The moment Brian and his little sister Tara arrive at their new school, a bully strikes. Brian can hardly believe it. After all that happened in his old school, the new school was meant to be a fresh start. However, Cody Fletcher was bigger than the whole of Brian’s class and he had taken a dislike to Brian.
Luckily Brian is befriended by Amelia, and Pete. Amelia has had her share of bullying too, but she decided to learn how to defend herself by taking up Tae Kwon Do. Pete is just an all-round nice kid, who sticks up for Brian when he can. Brian learns that there is a big race on in a few weeks and everyone can compete, as long as they have running shoes and a permission slip.
Brian asks his mum, but since they moved away from Brian and Tara’s dad, money was tight. In order to keep the bullying from his thoughts, Brian begins to train for the big race and Amelia does her best to teach Brian how to defend himself.
Nothing seems to work, as Cody finds ways to bully Brian regardless. That is until the day their teacher Miss Bliss, suggests that everyone join a group for Friday club. Pete suggests they start a Stop The Bullying Friday club, and guess who joins the club. Amelia, Brian and Cody.
Brian can’t believe that a bully would join an anti-bullying club, but then again, Brian has a secret of his own. Each group must present their progress at the end of term right after the big race. Brian, Amelia and Pete come up with some strategies, while Cody remains disinterested.
The day of the big race comes, and Brian’s mum surprises him with new shoes and a signed permission slip. While Brian is on the race, he hears his sister Tara scream and when he rounds the corner he sees Cody, pulling on Tara’s pigtails.
Brian finally finds his courage. He puts a couple of the Stop The Bullying strategies into practice and calls Cody out on it. Brian takes Tara to the medical room to tend to her scrapes and he learns that Pete has won the big race.
At assembly when the Stop The Bullying Friday club’s turn comes around, Brian reveals that he used to be a bully at his old school. With the help from his counsellor, Brian had agreed to make a fresh start, until he started being bullied himself. Pete and Amelia help to outline the strategies that they have come up with and the whole school learns how to Stop The Bully.
I really enjoyed this story, as Ms Tyrrell drew me into Brian’s plight from the get go. The emotions that Brian goes through were right on par with what kids feel when they are bullied. Helpless, hopeless, with no end in sight.
I particularly liked how the author wove in the strategies to help stop the bullying, and that Amelia did not use her ability to defend herself by using violence against the bully, but to just stop the action while it was happening.
I think kids will really identify with Brian and his friends plight and the ways that they overcome the bullying are definitely strategies that every classroom should adopt.
CKT Book Reviewer
An engaging and informative read that I believe will engage children ages 5-10.
Author: Karen Tyrell
Title: Stop the Bully
Publisher: Digital Future Press
Published: April 2014