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  • July 2020
    M T W T F S S

Bullying Prevention Awareness Month


I was bullied.

I was subjected to various forms of bullying: from name calling to being ostracized by the “cool kids.” In middle school, I was also the target of a girl who was two years older and much taller than me. No matter how much lunch money I gave up or completed homework assignments I gave her, the bullying wouldn’t stop. She tripped me down the steps, hit me, dunked my head in a toilet and threatened worse if I told anyone. I believed her and started to lie to my closest friends, family and teachers to cover up the reasons for my bruises and depression. I started to avoid school, but fortunately the year was coming to an end at the height of the abuse. I convinced my parents to send me to another school for academic reasons. Through all of bullying I really couldn’t understand why this was happening to me.

Years later, my mom and I were discussing the Columbine shooting and how the shooters were described as outcasts that were bullied by the other students. It was then that I confessed that I had been bullied and by whom. It turns out that my mom was aware that my bully’s father was arrested for child abuse and that she now had a baby by him. After hearing this devastating news, I left my house and went to where I knew she still lived. My bully answered the door and all I could say was that I forgave her. Surprisingly, she then hugged me and started to cry. She explained that I was just the smallest and meekest target around and the bullying was an outlet for what she was dealing with herself.

There will always be a part of me that will wonder what could have been prevented had I told a teacher or my parents about the bullying. Would it have helped both of us?  Bullying can take many forms: physical, verbal, covert and now cyberbullying. Regardless of the type, bullying can leave long-lasting mental and physical scars, lead to low self-esteem, poor performance at school, depression, anxiety, substance use and even suicide.

October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Please speak up. Talk to a parent, teacher, school  counsellor, your library’s teen specialist or another adult you trust.

Teens Against Bullying
An interactive site where teens can learn about preventing and responding to bullying—in cyberspace, via texting, and at school. Includes information on Facebook safety.

NetSmartz® Workshop
A program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) that provides age-appropriate resources to help teach children how to be safer on and offline through education, engagement, and empowerment.

GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network)
A national education organization whose mission is centered on creating safe spaces in schools for K–12 students. They seek to “develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes in creating a more vibrant and diverse community.” The website and resources are focused on the acceptance of all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, or occupation.

STOP Cyberbullying 
An interactive website offering resources to help prevent cyberbullying, while encouraging everyone to “be part of the solution.”

lauren @ CLP – Woods Run

Jumped by Rita Williams-GarciaDear bully : seventy authors tell their stories  Bystander by James PrellerWe want you to know : kids talk about bullying  by Deborah EllisScrawl : a novel  by Mark ShulmanThe Misfits by James HoweLetters to a bullied girl : messages of healing and hope by Olivia GardnerBrutal by Michael B. Harmon  Everybody sees the ants by A. S. KingThe girls by Amy Goldman KossCracked by K. M. WaltonHow to beat cyberbullying by Judy Monroe PetersonHow to beat social alienation by Jason PorterfieldHow to beat verbal bullying by Liz Sonneborn

Teen Review: Samantha reviews Skinny by Donna Cooner

Samantha – Hi! I’m a 6th grader and really excited to be blogging. I LOVE to read and write so I’m most likely going to have a lot of posts. I’ll give you the most honest reviews possible. I hope you read them!

Skinny by Donna Cooner

Skinny by Donna Cooner

Skinny by Donna Cooner is a story I’m sure a lot of people can relate to. It’s about a girl named Ever. Ever is pretty normal except for two things: 1. She has a voice in her head named Skinny who is always lowering her self-confidence. And 2. She weighs over 300 pounds.

Skinny as I’m sure you can guess, is not the nicest person (or illusion), and Ever has been having to put up with her since her mom died. Ever has mostly tried to ignore her weight for most of her life until there is an opportunity for her to make things better again by getting Gastric Bypass surgery.

Ever has let herself be manipulated to believe the things Skinny told her about other people and herself. In the end, Ever realizes that none of it was true. Skinny was blind to other people’s true selves and thought appearances were all that mattered. Ever realizes that who you really are inside is more important than how you look.

I loved this book and I really loved the suspense when she has surgery. Gastric bypass surgery can kill some people, but Ever took that huge risk and survived. I recommend this book to people who have read things like My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick and The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.

Teen Review: Samantha Reviews Border Town and Burn For Burn

Samantha – Hi! I’m a 6th grader and really excited to be blogging. I LOVE to read and write so I’m most likely going to have a lot of posts. I’ll give you the most honest reviews possible. I hope you read them!

I read two books that are very similar. The main characters in each story both want the same thing: revenge against different boys in their lives. Their relationships with each of these boys is different — whether it’s a boyfriend, just a friend or someone they barely know.

Border Town: Crossing the Line by Malin Alegria

In Crossing the Line by Malin Alegria, Fabiola is excited about having her little sister join her high school until she makes friends (and a boyfriend) with the wrong people. Fabi’s cousin is accused of robbing her father’s immigrant worker but Fabi knows who really did it, and it’s going to break her sister’s heart. Fabi wants to make things right.

Burn For Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

In Burn For Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, three girls were hurt by different people in different ways, and they go through lots of crazy things to get back at them. The three girls, Lillia, Kat and Mary, were strangers to each other at first. They bonded because they all wanted the same thing. Kat wants revenge on her best childhood friend who is now her worst enemy and making her life miserable in high school. Mary wants revenge on the boy who made her so miserable that she had to leave the island she called home. Lillia wants revenge on her best friend for hurting her little sister.

These books were amazing, and Crossing the Line even had some Spanish (which I thought was really cool), and I definitely recommend both books for readers ages 12 and up. The things in both books were so crazy that you can never really imagine them happening in real life. I don’t see things like this in my world, but it’s scary to think there are other kids who do see things like this.

Teen Review: Samantha Reviews 3 Very Different Books

Samantha – Hi! I’m a 6th grader and really excited to be blogging. I LOVE to read and write so I’m most likely going to have a lot of posts. I’ll give you the most honest reviews possible. I hope you read them!

When I was at overnight camp, I read a lot of books. But there are three that are from three different time periods that I am going to compare and share with you.

The first book is Night by Elie Wiesel. Night is a true story about the Holocaust from a child’s point-of-view. The cool thing about this story is that the author is the main character and it’s really amazing that he remembers everything from so long ago so clearly that he can write it down in great detail. I really liked this book because I am very interested in the Holocaust, however it might be too scary for some people. Also if you like books like Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, The Devils Arithmetic, or Number The Stars you would like this book.

The second book is The List by Siobhan Vivian. The List is realistic fiction and takes place in your average high school. Every chapter is told by a different person on “The List”, a list of the prettiest and the ugliest girls of each grade. Everyone has a different reaction to “The List”. One girl was happy she got ugliest junior, and one girl was sad she got prettiest senior. I loved this book because it made me think about how high school might be for me in 3 years (I hope it’s not like this!). I recommend you keep an eye out for this book. It will be out soon.

The third and final book is Starters by Lissa Price. Starters takes place in the future in a world where you are either young and extremely poor or very old (like 150 years old) and rich. A couple years earlier, a bomb hit a town that killed anyone who wasn’t vaccinated for it (everyone between the ages of 30 and 60) killing the parents of a young girl named Callie. Three years later, Callie and her sick little brother are living on the streets. Callie felt helpless until she found a company that would pay her to lend them her body and put her in a temporary coma while an old person (with the help of technology) would rent out her body and pretend to be her. Everything is going great until something goes wrong on her third body rental which causes her to be awake during certain times in her rental. This causes Callie to get in lots of trouble. Read it to find out more! Like The List, I loved this book.

Now that I have explained the three books, I have a question to ask: Which time period is the best? Why? I think the past is the best because it’s interesting to learn about how things used to be and think about what it would be like if it were still like that now.

Interview with Siobhan Vivian, Author of The List

In this video, teen volunteer Jenna interviews local author Siobhan Vivian about her book The List, which chronicles the lives of eight young women who have been identified as each grade’s hottest–or ugliest–girl at their school. Watch it below!

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main

Sticks and Stones (No Name Calling Week)

January 23 – 27 is No Name Calling Week , a national initiative started to combat bullying in schools and help prevent teen suicide.

Reading the stories of others offers insight, comfort and a much needed escape when faced with bullies, drama, and stress. The Library carries many titles that tell stories of bullying, harassment, survival, and triumph.

Check out the books below to see if one of them speaks to you! And always know there is a Teen Specialist at every CLP location if you need someone to talk to!

Have you ever felt different because of how you look? Age. Weight. Gender. Complexion? The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake talks about the self-esteem issues black girls face when they are darker skinned. Maleeka is self conscious of her complexion until her whole life is changed when she meets a teacher with a rare skin condition. Check out this book if you want to hear about how Maleeka finds love with a boy named Caleb, overcomes her bully Charlese, and learns to love the skin she’s in!

Darell Mercer moves from Philadelphia to California. There he finds a new life, a new school, and a new bully. After spending months in fear, he is faced with a big decision. He can either keep running from his bully or find some way to fight back. To find out what happens to Darell check out The Bully by Paul Langan.

Thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod really hates middle school. Bullies harass him, the principal is watching him closely, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. And Vlad has a big secret: His mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and growing fangs while trying to hide his identity. On top of everything he is being stalked by a vampire hunter! Check out The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer and read all five books in the series to find out what happens to Vlad!

Much like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Loser List tells the oddball story of Danny Shine. He is a geek who loves reading comics, trading comics, drawing comics, and buying comics. Find out how he loses a best friend, gets humiliated in front of the whole school… and somehow still manages to save the day!

In 50 Cent’s book Playground he uses his life experiences to tell the story of a 13 year old bully named Butterball. In the story, Butterball finds himself overweight and unhappy in a new school. One day, in an angry haze, he fills two socks with D batteries and heads to a fight at the playground. You will have to read to find out what happens to Butterball and how he finds redemption.

-Michael @ CLP Hazelwood

The Hear Me Project

Have you ever had something super interesting/exciting/massively sad/overwhelming to say?  Have you put it up on your Facebook wall, tweeted it, told your BFF, blogged about it, told your cat, shouted from the rooftops, and yet….still…you aren’t satisfied?

Well.  Have we got a venue for you and your raves, vents, chatters, and stories: The Hear Me project.

It all started at Carnegie Mellon University‘s CREATE (Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment) Lab with an idea: Give Young People a Voice.  Give them an opportunity to say how they feel, what they want, who they are going to be, and then post it for the world to see!  Anonymously, of course.

And where’s a great place to find those young people, who have really fantastic ideas to voice (or just want to rant?  Or maybe just write or draw something you want to share?  You guessed it….The Library!  So, we’ve hired a very special person – named Lisa – to rove from branch library to branch library and hang out at Main-Teen with a high-tech audio recording device, poised and ready to record teens’ stories.  YOUR STORIES.

Hear what Tim thinks about music, Olivia reflecting on her most embarrassing junior high moment, or Angelique talking about getting jumped in the school bathroom, all at tell-port.net.

Not only can venting like this make YOU feel better about yourself, about your place in our world, but it just might make a difference in someone else’s life.

If you want to get involved with the Hear Me project, please tell your local Teen Librarian!

That’s Not Cool

There has been some excellent coverage here on the blog about the recent, tragic spate of suicides caused by bullying.  If you haven’t read them yet, you should!:

Make it Better – a message to everyone

Think About It

What I’d like to call your attention to today is a website where you can catalog actions you’ve taken against bullying.  It’s called That’s Not Cool, and you can check it out here:


That’s Not Cool offers help with digital abuse – be it from your significant other, friends, enemies, or all shades of gray in-between.  It offers Call-Out Cards for actions that are not cool, links to resources for anyone who may need extra support, and a forum for people to talk about issues of digital bullying and abuse.  It also has a games section.

Talking about these problems may not solve them, but it definitely helps to talk about them and to fight back against abusive actions.  If you’re being harrassed over IM, text messaging, email, or anywhere online, it’s not cool.  Let people know.

Also check out Draw Your Line, a resource put together by MTV to collect all the ways teens are fighting digital abuse.

Girls Against Girls

“She’s my best friend. God, I hate her.” -Veronica Sawyer, in Heathers

Just about everyone has been the victim (or the perpetrator) of bullying at some point. Girls Against Girls by Bonnie Burton delves into the particularly devious ways that girls bully each other.

Do we bully each other because:

We’re biologically hardwired to act this way. According to some researchers, sneaky passive-aggressive behaviors are instinctive to girls. Female primates bully other females in their group by interrupting their normal behaviors such as resting, feeding, or mating. This reduces their fertility and their social status in the group.

We are taught by our culture to be underhanded. Our culture doesn’t like to deal with angry, opinionated women. We learn to dismiss our problems and feelings and say, “Oh, it’s all right” or “I’m fine” when we are really anything but. When we try to bury strong emotions, they simmer under the surface until they reach a point where we start engaging in passive-aggressive behaviors.

We learn it from the women in our lives. We observe older women acting this way, or maybe receive this kind of treatment at the hands of an older woman. Like many abused or otherwise disempowered people, we make ourselves feel better by doing the same thing to others.

We feel a need to compete, 24-7. We are constantly scanning the horizon to see who is prettier than us, who has nicer clothes, cooler friends, or a better life.

Read this book if you want to break the cycle. A good place to start is remembering that you have no idea what someone else has lived through.

“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.”

-Tao Te Ching

If you’re interested, check out this book, too:

Sara Dora CLP-Hazelwood

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