I’d like to share a new book I recently signed out from my public library.
It’s called Letters to a Bullied Girl; Messages of Healing and Hope by Olivia Gardner with Emily and Sarah Buder.
Just as the title suggests, the book is filled almost entirely with personal letters––presented in an easy-to-read format. The letters are all addressed to one of the authors, Olivia, expressing messages of encouragement to help Olivia get past the serious issues of bullying that she experienced for several years.
Olivia, now 15, suffers from epilepsy and was bullied relentlessly at school and on the Internet, to the point where she considered taking her own life. In March of 2007, two sisters read about her story in a local newspaper and decided to help. They began by encouraging students in their own high school in San Francisco to write letters of support to Olivia. The idea spread and people, of all ages, across the country, began to write. Eventually, a sampling of the letters were compiled to create this book.
Touching and honest, the letters have been organized into two categories:
- Letters from bullies (who now regret their own actions,) and,
- Letters from people who have experienced bullying themselves.
In addition to just shedding light on this subject for your students, the book could also be used when introducing/discussing the DWS Hierarchy in the intermediate and higher grades. It’s a poignant book to share with young people to start some reflection and would be a good addition to any school library.
I found that the book has a “look inside” feature on Amazon that allows you to view several of the letters to Olivia.
Although obviously lending itself to a discussion of Level B, this book can also promote and understanding of Level D. The actions of the two sisters who began the letter-writing campaign can lead students to contemplate such traits as initiative, compassion and leadership.
The small actions of individuals can lead to many great things! Very inspiring!