Reading Level: Easy
Target Age: 12+
Grade Levels: 7-12
Description of Novel
Dear Bully is a non-fictional novel, done by 70 children’s and young-adult authors who recall their own childhood memories about bullying. The book is made up of many short pieces and is divided into 9 sections. It begins with “Dear Bully”, in which writers wrote directly to the person(s) who bullied them. The next section, “Just Kidding” looks at humor as a mask for bullying, as well as it being a method of self-preservation. Other sections include “Survival,” “Regret,” “Thank You, Friends,” “Insight,” “Speak,” “Write It,” and “It Gets Better.”
The stories are real, and this makes this novel all the more relatable for teens. The main theme/point in this novel is to let teens know that they are not alone, and that there are people in the world, and notable people at that, that understand them and what they are going through.
On top of there being letters and short stories, the novel also has poems and graphic pieces, which makes this a valuable resource in the classroom. Because of its varied writing styles, this novel could also be paired, as a teacher’s resource, with another novel that addresses the theme of bullying, and the teacher could just pull individual stories, poems, or graphic pieces as additional sources for a unit. The possibilities are all there with this book.
Violence – However, it is a critical component of this book in order for the book to accomplish what it aims to accomplish.
Minor Sexual Content – Again it is necessary and an actually account of the harassment the authors went through
Core Curriculum/Bookshelf – This book has lots of uses in the curriculum. A teacher could just use the individual poems, short stories, graphics, and letters as resources throughout the year, or they could use it to do an entire unit on bullying. This would be a good book to do leading up to an anti-bullying week. It would also be a good idea to have this book laying on the bookshelf so that a student could get their hands on it if need be. It has an extremely powerful message and really should be brought into the classroom in anyway possible.
Other Suggested Readings
Pair with Chronicles of Nick