Author: Peggy Moss
Illustrator: Lea Lyon
Winner of the 2005 Teacher's Choice Award, Moss's book is a quietly powerful tale about silence in the face of bullying. A popular girl turns a blind eye to bullying and teasing until one day she becomes the butt of the joke. This is an adaptation of the powerful poem First They Came by the Pastor Martin Niemoller. Niemoller's poem (an indictment of complacency in the face of rising Nazism) admittedly dealt with more serious issues than junior high bullying... but the basic premise remains the same.
First they made fun of the Nerds, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Nerd.
Then they made fun of the Dorks, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Dork.
Then they made fun of the Geeks, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn't a Geek.
Then they made fun of me, and by that time there was no one left
to speak up for me.
Note: The book is extremely well done... until you get to the appendix. After the story, there is a guide on strategies for dealing with bullying. One section says:
If you are bullied, speak up! Things to say are: "Please stop." "That hurts my feelings." "I haven't done anything to you." Don't be afraid to tell an adult.
Ummm... yeah, right. Follow that advice and there's a good chance that you will either get laughed out of the gym, or pummeled on the playground. While the Say Something approach is well-intentioned, a better strategy (at least for guys) may be to use the Say Anything method:
Lloyd Dobbler's Easy 4 Step Plan for Overcoming Your Dorkdom
1) Take up kickboxing. Tell people its for your own self-satisfaction or to impress the ladies... but really it's just so that while you're getting your ass whooped by jocks, you can at least get one kick in before the ambulance arrives.
2) Wear a trenchcoat. Yes, it's weird and kinda creepy, but do it on the off chance that people will think you're eccentric or mysterious.
3) If you want to get the girl, embarrass yourself with an overly dramatic public demonstration (see picture above). This is NOT optional. Why not? Being a bumbling doofus, you don't have enough going for you to hold anything back. So set your pride aside and put it all out there. It's your only hope.
4) Star in a cheesy but endearing romantic comedy that will ruin the lives of guys everywhere (especially bullies) by warping the romantic expectations of all women who lived in the 80's, thereby sabotaging the relationships of all men (and making Chuck Klosterman's head explode). That's called having the last laugh.