Bully by Patricia Polacco is a frank, realistic picture book for older kids about the consequences of bullying and the importance of standing up for what is right. The story is set in a modern school where “everyone” has their own cell phone and kids encourage each other to “get a Facebook page.”
Lyla is a new student who thinks she makes a good friend on her first day. Caught up in the whirlwind of making the cheerleading squad, she soon moves on to hang out with the “popular” girls, leaving her new friend behind. When Lyla’s new friends engage in some serious online bullying; she knows this isn’t the group for her. In deciding to distance herself from the clique, Lyla soon becomes the target of their bullying. Tough decisions are made; and characters have to dig deep to confront the ugly things that are happening at their school. Not all choices to do right are easy; and these believable characters struggle with real emotions of embarrassment and betrayal.
The book ends with the question “What would you do?” in large bold letters, provoking further discussion and analysis. This book is a thought-provoking look at things that are happening far too often in schools today.
Watch the author, Patricia Polacco, talk about using this book in classrooms to address anti-bullying: