Archives: 2014 & Earlier

Hot Issues, Cool Choices: Facing Bullies, Peer Pressure, Popularity, and Put-Downs

Sandra McLeod Humphrey
Prometheus Books
133 pages. $13.95.

In fictional Emerson Elementary School, 26 students (mostly fifth-graders) confess how it feels to be victims of bullying, prejudice and harassment of many kinds, and how it feels to be pressured into victimizing others. Accompanied by lively cartoons, each scenario ends with questions “to think about” and a prompt that coaxes readers to walk in the shoes of others. The vignettes address youths directly, but Humphrey, a psychologist, wraps up with adult materials: bullying statistics, Web resources and an afterword about the psychology of bullying, which clumsily switches back to youth with a list of “cool things you can do to help those who are being bullied.”

What’s missing are clear directions for how to use the scenarios. The book appears to target young readers but requires adult supervision in conjunction with other professional anti-bullying resources. (800) 853-7545, www.prometheusbooks.com.

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