Just Kidding addresses the topic of verbal bullying. Vince repeatedly teases D.J. with mean-spirited comments meant to humiliate D.J. But Vince avoids punishment and belittles D.J. using the “just kidding” defense. The bullying escalates, but D.J. talks with his father and teacher and learns how to handle the situation.
My Secret Bully addresses the topic of social bullying (relational aggression). Katie, Monica’s friend since kindergarten, increasingly humiliates, embarrasses and excludes Monica in front of their classmates. Monica talks with her mother about how hurt she feels by the actions of her “friend.” Her mother listens to Monica, helps her understand this bullying is not her fault and gives her strategies for coping. Many books on social bullying have unrealistic fairy-tale endings (e.g. the victim stars in the school play and her classmates realize how special she is and stop teasing her), but in My Secret Bully Monica’s mother doesn’t try to provide any easy answers or to dismiss the problem. Instead, the problem of cliques and false friends is discussed in a realistic way.
Both books includes resources for parents, including a list of websites and helpful conversation starters.
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