Throughout history, works of literature have spoken about strongly against prejudice, intolerance, and bullying. Today, literature continues to be at the forefront of fighting racism, hatred, and bullying.
Today’s modern and civilized societies still struggle with the issue of bullying. Despite history lessons and various materials against it, bullying seems to adapt to new forms and thrive even in great countries like the United States. In fact, in America alone, hundreds of bullying cases in various forms are recorded every single day, mostly in schools and workplaces. Education is one of the key elements in dealing with bullying. That is why ReadersMagnet believes that books contribute a lot in spreading lessons and other tools in fighting bullies.
What is Bullying?
Today, intolerance and prejudice are expressed commonly through bullying. It is subtler than hate and yet its impact causes unseen wounds and trauma the victims. But what is bullying and how to we categorize it?
According to https://www.stopbullying.gov/,
“Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.”
A leading anti-bullying organization, the National Centre Against Bullying, there are four main types of bullying. Physical Bullying includes hitting, kicking, tripping, pinching and pushing. Damaging property is also a form of physical bullying. Verbal Bullying refers to various verbal abuse such as name-calling, insults, teasing, intimidating or threatening, and other damaging remarks. Social bullying often comes in the form of spreading stories causing humiliation and harming one’s reputation. In this age of the Internet, a new form of bullying has evolved. Cyberbullying can be defined as intentional and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, phones, and other electronic devices.
5 Books Against Bullying
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
It is hard to talk about themes of prejudice and injustice in literature without mentioning Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Published in 1960, it is one of the most widely read books in high schools in the United States. The story revolves around a middle-aged lawyer named Atticus Finch. Finch is tasked to defend a black man named Tom Robinson. Robinson is wrongly accused of raping a white girl. The story is popular around the world that the main character is considered a hero for readers, especially those who are in the legal profession.
Because It’s Wrong by Lydia Greico
One of the more relevant, no-nonsense literature on bullying is Lydia Greico’s book Because It’s Wrong: Bullies vs Nazis. Written as a teaching tool, the books cover many areas of studies about bullying. Lydia Greico, a retired licensed psychiatric technician and herself a victim of bullying growing up, feels strongly against bullying. Greico imparts her knowledge about the issue that is continually haunting American society, especially in schools and offices. Another interesting feature is how Greico discussed bullying in its historical context. Because It’s Wrong educates readers on the various forms of bullying and offers various ways to rise above it. A must-read book for those who want an in-depth understanding of the social problem that is bullying.
Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank
Probably one of the most riveting works of non-fiction literature, the Diary of a Young Girl sold millions of copies since it was first published in 1947. The book is a compilation of journal entries by the young Anne Frank in her diary named Kitty. Between 1942 and 1944, Anne Frank wrote entries detailing their life in hiding. Anne, along with seven other people, hid in the sealed-off upper rooms of the annex at the back of Otto Frank’s company building in Amsterdam. While most of the entries describe their personal life during the height of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, Anne Frank’s diary provides details of the horrors of German fascism.
The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
Published in 2013, Kristin Levine’s novel about racial segregation is both haunting and inspiring at the same time. The story is set in 1958 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Marlee is a 12-year-old middle school girl. She befriends another girl named Liz. Lis is everything Marlee wants to become: brave, brash, and she always knows the right things to say. One day, Liz leaves school without saying goodbye to Marlee. The rumor is that she was caught passing for white. However, Marlee decides to go against all odds to get her friend back. Marlee and Liz are even willing to take on segregation and the risk their friendship could bring to both their families. Remarkable and interesting, The Lions of Little Rock is a breath of fresh air from today’s usual adult fiction narratives.
The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss
Almost 70 years since its publication, The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss continue to teach a lot of young readers about the value of tolerance, diversity, and understanding. The classic children’s illustrated book has sold hundreds of millions of copies around the world. It is composed of 4 stories: The Sneetches, The Zax, Too Many Daves, and What Was I Scared Of. Ranked 63rd among the “Top 100 Picture Books” in a survey by School Library Journal, The Sneetches and Other Stories is a fun way to teach children that tolerance, acceptance, and diversity is way cooler than prejudice, discrimination, and bullying.
ReadersMagnet believes that by reading these books (especially Lydia Greico’s Because It’s Wrong), we will have a comprehensive understanding of how bullying works and how to effectively combat it.