Kids don't have to read books or see movies about monsters anymore. Many of them have been scared out of their wits or seriously hurt by bullies in their own communities. Some teenagers have committed suicide after being humiliated and harassed by classmates. In this edgy children's picture book created for kids from primary through seventh grade, writer and illustrator Doretta Groenendyk profiles members of the course Bully 101. It is made up of students who get a kick out of verbally taunting or physically assaulting smaller and weaker classmates. Picking on a teacher's pet or someone who is susceptible to cyberbullying are tasks that these students have no trouble accomplishing.
This clever approach to this problem has a serious undertow which shines through the material. Groenendyk shows that bullies are selfish and power hungry boys and girls who feel compelled to demonstrate their superiority over others. As one line in the book puts it: "Bullies love fear and thrive on a dare." Another line observes: "Our course on bullies is great if you're sad, or if you are bored, or just simply mad."
Best of all, this story reveals what's needed in the personalities of bullies are respect for others, empathy, and simple human kindness. It is time for parents and grandparents to teach and to model these virtues in their everyday activities.