13 year old Levi Fallavollita is on a mission to educate others about the harmful effects of bullying. He himself was bullied as a 5th grade, which resulted in his picture book “The Good The Bad and the Bullies”. Read my previous book review here.
On October 25 at Bookman’s on Speedway Levi released his young adult book “Be Courageous” which contains 21 true stories mostly written by young people (and some adults) about their bullying experiences in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, South Carolina, and Texas. I announced this book signing last week (click here).
These stories are not easy reading, as they are very disturbing tales of hateful, mean verbal abuse and sometimes physical beatings at school and elsewhere. All of the resilient, strong contributors share these stories to help others realize how hurtful bullying can be, and many of them offer advice and hope for change and a better future.
As young children and teenagers, many of these bullies were immature and insecure, lacking in good communication skills, suffering from maltreatment at home, involved in inappropriate peer behavior and groups.
But these bullies’ actions were often devastating and very painful, as most of the stories portray. Their victims sometimes became depressed, isolated & withdrawn, friendless, some even suicidal. Many of them were perceived as “different” (gay, racially mixed or a minority, disabled, etc.) Cyberbullying via texting and other social media does occur in some situations as well. Some of the bullying and harassment started as early as 1st grade, and continued into adulthood.
As Lexi from Colorado states (page 21):
“What I would like to say to all the bullies out there is you really need to stop! Bullying hurts people physically and emotionally. How would you feel if someone you pick on does commit suicide? It happens all the time. Don’t care, well then you reallly should go see a counselor. If you have problems at home, it still doesn’t give you the right to take it out on others.”
One of the saddest stories is by Linda here in Arizona, who relates the painful story of her daughter who was allegedly raped as a teen, then involved in a domestic violence situation with her controlling male housemate/partner, the father of her 2nd child. (pages 67 – 80)
Congratulations to Levi for collecting and editing these powerful stories, in order to educate others about how prevalant and hurtful bullying behavior is. I too remember the cruel comments and behavior of some of my fellow classmates/schoolmates towards me and others at my school. Teachers, coaches, school monitors, counselors, nurses, and administrators need to step in & stop bullying behavior.
Levi’s own words of courage and encouragement (Introduction, page xii):
“Bullying is one very serious problem happening all around the world and it needs to stop! I hope in some way this book helps others know they are not alone. Others go through it too and survive. I am living proof!”
So the message to young people being bullied right now is to be courageous, stand up, speak up and try to stop the bullies. Remember that you are not alone in your dislike of bullies, that you can get help from other students and adults.
You can get this book at www.amazon.com, call 303-482-2060, or check Levi’s website for more information: www.thegoodthebadandthebullies.com. Illustrations by Aileen Yocupicio, published by Steuben Press.