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Books - bullying - bully - bullies - Children
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Click on this link to see all the books about bullying that are available through
Books About Bully Behavior - Bullies - Bullying
Individual books listed below are grouped together and contain brief descriptions.

Book titles are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more information.
In performance, always credit your sources.
To retell these stories, obtain permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
Alphabetized with short descriptions for your convenience and to save you research time.


Cinderella Tales From Around The World by Gross. (2001 - Ages 4-8) (pictured)
The Korean Cinderella (Trophy Picture Books) by Climo with Heller (illus). (1996 - Ages 4-8)
Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella by San Souci with Pinkney (illus). (2002 - Ages 4-8)
The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin. (1998 - Ages 4-8)
Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah. (2001)
The Egyptian Cinderella by Climo with Heller (illus). (1992 - Ages 4-8)


Little Red Riding Hood by Tina Schart Hyman. (1987 - Ages 9-12) (pictured)
Little Red Riding Hood by Candice Ransom (adapter). (2001 - Ages 4-8)
The Wolf's Story: What Really Happened to Little Red Riding Hood by Forward (2005)
Little Red Riding Hood by Pinkney. (2007 - Ages 4-8)
Little Red Riding Hood: A Classic Collectible Pop-Up by Priceman (illus). (2001)
Little Red Riding Hood and Other Classic Fairy Tales of Perrault by Carter (2008)
Pretty Salma: A Little Red Riding Hood Story from Africa by N. Daly. (2007 - Ages 4-8)

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
by Patty Lovell with David Catrow (illus). (2001 - Baby-Preschool)
Molly Lou's self-assurance is put to the test when she moves to a new town, away from her friends and beloved grandmother. During her first week of school, Ronald Durkin taunts her in the dull-witted but sharp-edged manner of career bullies, calling her "shrimpo" and "bucky-toothed beaver." Molly Lou sets out to prove herself.


Three Billy Goats Gruff, The (PM Traditional Tales and Plays) by Reynolds (pictured)
Three Billy Goats Gruff, The (Book & CD) by Galdone. (2008 - Ages 4-8)
Three Billy Goats Gruff, The by Carpenter. (1998 - Baby-Preschool)
Three Billy Goats Gruff, The/Just a Friendly Old Troll (Another Point of View) Granowsky.
Three Billy-Goats Gruff, The (Easy-to-Read Folktales) by Ellen Appleby. (1992-Ages 4-8)
Three Billy Goats Gruff (Flip-Up Fairy Tales) by Alison Edgson (illus). (2006 - Ages 4-8)


Three Little Pigs (Little Golden Book) - a book from Golden/Disney. (2004 - Ages 4-8)
True Story of the Three Little Pigs, The by Jon Scieszka. (1996 - Ages 4-8)
Three Little Pigs, The (Super WHY!) by Angela Santomero. (2008 - Ages 4-8)
Three Little Pigs, The by Patricia Seibert. (2001 - Ages 4-8)
Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig, The by Eugene Trivizas. (1997 - Ages 4-8)
Three Little Pigs, The (Reading Railroad Books) by James Marshall. (2000 - Ages 4-8)
Three Little Cajun Pigs by Mike Artell. (2006 - Ages 4-8)
Three Little Pigs (Once Upon a Time (Harper)) by Thea Kliros. (2003 - Ages 4-8)
Three Little Javelinas, The (Reading Rainbow Book) by Susan Lowell. (1992 - Ages 4-8)
The Three Little Pigs Book & CD (Read Along Book & CD) by Paul Galdone. (2006)

Alabama Moon by Watt Key. (2008 - Ages 9-12)
Moon, 10, has spent most of his life in a camouflaged shelter in the forest with his father, a Vietnam veteran who distrusts people and the government. Pap has educated him in both academics and survival skills. His life suddenly changes when the land is sold to a lawyer and his father dies.

Blubber by Judy Blume. (1986 - Ages 9-12)
Jill goes along with the rest of the fifth-grade class in tormenting a classmate and then finds out what it's like when she, too, becomes a target.

Bokuden and the Bully: A Japanese Folktale (On My Own Folklore) by Stephen Krensky (adapter) with Cheryl Kirk Noll (illus). (2008 - Ages 4-8)


Bullies Are a Pain in the Brain by Trevor Romain and Elizabeth Verdick. (1997 - Ages 9-12)
Every child needs to know how to cope with bullies, and this book blends humor with serious, practical suggestions that will help kids understand, avoid and stand up to bullies while preserving their own self-esteem.


Bully from the Black Lagoon (The) by Mike Thaler with Jared Lee (illus). (2008 - Ages 9-12)
Hubie has heard there's a new kid in school. His name is Butch Pounder, and he is rumored to be a mean bully! Did Butch really beat up the football team and eat the teacher's pet at his last school? Hubie thinks he'll end up in the nurse's office, when he finally runs into Butch. But, of course, Hubie's imagination has run away from him again! All Butch wants is a new friend to show him around school, and Hubie is just who he needed!

Chrissa (American Girl Today) by Mary Casanova with Tamara England (editor) and Richard Jones (illus). (2009 - Ages 9-12)
Chrissa Maxwell moves to a new school in the middle of the year, and the girls in her fourth-grade class are decidedly unfriendly. On the advice of her grandmother, Chrissa tries first to be nice, and then to ignore the mean girls. But they just won't quit...

Chrissa Stands Strong (American Girl Today) by Mary Casanova with Tamara England (editor) and Richard Jones (illus). (2008 - Ages 9-12)
Chrissa s had a good summer, practicing for swim team tryouts. Then her world is shaken when she and her friends get mean text messages and there s an accident at the pool. Can one girl put an end to the bullying?

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney (2009 - Ages 9-12)
Greg Heffley will never change his wimpy ways. Somebody just needs to explain that to Greg’s father. Frank Heffley wants to toughen his son up, and he enlists Greg in organized sports and other “manly” endeavors. Greg is able to easily sidestep his father’s efforts to change him. But when his dad threatens to send him to military academy, Greg realizes he has to shape up . . . or get shipped out.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book by Jeff Kinney. (2008 - Ages 9-12)
This innovative interactive journal lets kids express themselves in an exciting new way. Kids are asked: What was the best dream you ever had? The worst thing you ever ate? The best secret you ever heard? The most trouble you ever got in for something that wasn’t even your fault to begin with? They then create their own stories and keep their own diaries.

Flying Emu and Other Australian Stories (The) by Sally Morgan. (1993 - Ages 9-12)
Drawn from the author's own aboriginal heritage, an anthology of twenty tales describes the creation of the world and the events that followed. (See
"VIBs", "An Unlikely Friendship," "The Lazy Seagull," "The Gourmet Giant.")

Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester with Lynn Munsinger (illus). (2002 - Ages 4-8)
A shy rat who can't pronounce his r's rises to the occasion and outsmarts a new student who terrorizes the classroom. An ego booster for any child who has ever been bullied or teased, with illustrations that exude charm and personality.

How to Handle Bullies, Teasers and Other Meanies: A Book That Takes the Nuisance Out of Name Calling and Other Nonsense by Kate Cohen-Posey. (1995 - Ages 9-12)
Every young person will need this book at some time in his or her life! A parent-child resource book, How to Handle Bullies, Teasers and Other Meanies covers • annoying name calling, • vicious prejudice, • explosive anger, • dangerous situations, and • causes of difficult behavior.

Jake Drake, Bully Buster by Andrew Clements with Janet Pedersen (illus). (207 - Ages 9-12)
Everything changed the year Jake was in second grade. That's when SuperBully Link Baxter moved to town. Jake had his hands full just trying to survive, until class project time. Who did the teacher assign to be Link's partner? You guessed it.

Just Kidding by Trudy Ludwig with Adam Gustavson (illus). (2006 - Ages 9-12)
D.J.’s friend Vince has a habit of teasing D.J. and then saying, "Just kidding!" as if it will make everything okay. It doesn’t, but D.J. is afraid that if he protests, his friends will think he can’t take a joke. With the help of his father, brother, and an understanding teacher, D.J. progresses from feeling helpless to taking positive action.

King Of The Playground by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor with Nola Langner Malone (illus). (1994 - Ages 4-8)
Kevin loves to go to the playground, but not when Sammy is there. And Sammy, who boasts that he is King of the Playground, is there most of the time. If he catches Kevin on the swings or the slide or the monkey bars, Sammy says, he will do awful, terrible things to him. Kevin tells his dad what Sammy says and they talk it over...

My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig with Abigail Marble (illus). (2005 - Ages 4-8)
When Monica’s friend Katie begins to call her names and humiliate her in front of other kids at school, she feels betrayed and isolated. But with help from her mother, Monica reclaims her confidence from a bully disguised as her friend.

New Girl (Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls) by Meg Cabot. (2008 - Ages 9-12)
Being the New Girl in school is turning out to be scary, too, especially since one of the girls in Allie’s new class -- Rosemary -- doesn’t like her. In fact, Rosemary says she’s going to beat Allie up after school.

Nobody Knew What to Do: A Story About Bullying (Concept Books (Albert Whitman)) by Becky Ray McCain with Todd Leonardo (illus). (2001 - Ages 4-8)
Straightforward and simple, this story tells how one child found the courage to tell a teacher about Ray, who was being picked on and bullied by other kids in school. Faced with the fact that "nobody knows what to do" while Ray is bullied, the children sympathetic to him feel fear and confusion and can only hope that Ray will "fit in some day." Finally, an bullying incident about to happen motivates the child to go to the teacher...

Ogre Bully, The (Story Cove: a World of Stories) by A.B. Hoffmire. (2007 - Ages 4-8)
In this story, a farmer and his wife match wits with a large, mean-spirited ogre. If they can't outwit him, they will end up with no crops of their own to eat or sell. This whimsically drawn story is based on an old Swedish folktale.

Recess Queen (The) by Alexis O'Neill with Laura Huliska-Beith (illus). (2002 - Ages 4-8)
In this sassy playground romp, the irrepressible new kid dethrones the reigning reces bully by dong the unthinkable - she invites her to be her friend!

Roscoe Riley Rules #2: Never Swipe a Bully's Bear by Katherine Applegate with Brian Biggs (illus). (2008 - Ages 9-12)
When Roscoe's stuffed pig goes missing, he is convinced that Wyatt, the class bully, is responsible. When Roscoe finds out where Wyatt keeps his teddy bear, he decides to give that old bully a taste of his own medicine. That will fix everything. Won't it?

Roxie and the Hooligans by Phillis Reynolds Naylor with Alexandra Boiger (illus). (2007 - Ages 9-12)
If Roxie's ever lost in the desert, or buried in an avalanche, or caught in a dust storm, she knows just what to do. But Lord Thistlebottom has no advice to help Roxie deal with Helvetia's Hooligans, the meanest band of bullies in school.

Say Something by Peggy Moss with Lea Lyon (illus). (2008 - Ages 4-8)
At this school, there are some children who push and tease and bully. Sometimes they hurt other kids by just ignoring them. The girl in this story sees it happening, but she would never do these mean things herself. Then one day something happens that shows her that being a silent bystander isn't enough. Will she take some steps on her own to help another kid?

Secret of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. (1992 - Ages 9-12)
When Danny's family moves to a new neighborhood, he is confronted by a frightening bully. One night in a dream, Danny meets an old man with shining white hair--a man who will soon appear in real life and share a wonderful secret.

Stand Up for Yourself and Your Friends: Dealing With Bullies and Bossiness and Finding a Better Way (American Girl Library) by Patti Kelley Criswell and Angela Martini (illus). (2009 - Ages 9-12)
This book helps girls learn how to spot bullying and stand up and speak out against it. Quizzes, quotes from real girls, and "what would you do?"

Willimena Rules! Rule Book #6: How to Face Up to the Class Bully (Bk. 6) by Valerie Wilson Wesley with Maryn Roos (illus).
Great things usually happen in September. Except when you get the back-to-school blues, which Willimena has. Willimena is going to be in a bigger class, with new kids, a new teacher. It 's the first day of school, and she's scared! Tina, her know-it-all big sister, says Willimena should just smile and be nice. But a smile and "nice" won't get you very far if the class bully-also known as Mean Irene--jumps in your face...

Zoom! Boom! Bully (Ready-to-Read. Level 1) by Jon Scieszka with David Shannon and Loren Long (illustrators). (2008 - Ages 4-8)
Every time the trucks try to build something, Big Rig comes along, and - ZOOM! BOOM! - knocks it down! What can they do to stop such a big bully?

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Book titles are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more information.
In performance, always credit your sources.
To retell these stories, obtain permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
Alphabetized with short descriptions for your convenience and to save you research time.

And Words Can Hurt Forever: How to Protect Adolescents from Bullying, Harassment, and Emotional Violence by James Garbarino and Ellen deLara. (2003)
A sensitive and straightforward advice manual that focuses on 40 key questions regarding the social life of children. Conversational and upbeat in tone, the book is divided into three sections designed to help readers distinguish "normal" social pain from more lasting trauma. The text covers friendship skills, tattletales, racial bigotry, bullying, and personal hygiene and also suggests techniques for building positive leadership and conflict-resolution skills.

Beating the Bullies: Twenty Inspiring True-Life Stories of Triumph Over Violence, Intimidation and Bullying by Polly Clarkson. (2008)
Bullying can ruin people's lives, and in some extreme cases, lead to self-harming, suicide, and even murder. This book brings together some of the most profoundly moving stories of people whose lives were on the brink of ruin but who fought back against all odds and beat their bullies.

Break the Bully Cycle: Intervention Techniques & Activities to Create a Responsible School Community by Sirinam S. Khalsa. (2007 - Adult)
A compilation of the tools a teacher will need to recognize and deal with bullying behavior in the classroom, on playground, or anywhere else at school. "Beyond The Bully Cycles' shows how to create a secure and safe school for all students, offers insight into why some students become violent, how to become aware of the early warning signs associated with bullies, and useful strategies for dealing with potentially violent students.

Bully, The (Bluford High Series #5) (Book 5) by Anne E. Schraff with Paul Langan (editor). (2007 - Young Adult)
A new life. An new school. A new bully. That's what Darrell Mercer faces when he and his mother move from Philadelphia to California. After spending months living in fear, Darrell is faced with a big decision. He can either keep running from this bully--or find some way to fight back.

Bully, The, the Bullied, and the Bystander: From Preschool to High School--How Parents and Teachers Can Help Break the Cycle of Violence by Barbara Coloroso. (2004)
It's a deadly triad: bullies who terrorize, bullied kids who are afraid to tell, bystanders who watch, participate, or look away, and adults who dismiss the incidents as a normal part of childhood.

Bully at Work (The): What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity on the Job by Gary Namie, Ph.D., and Ruth Namie, Ph.D. (2000)
Workplace violence may snatch the daily headlines, but outside the spotlight, the pain and degradation of corporate bullying shatters lives nationwide. A landmark book blazing light on one of the business world's dirtiest secrets, Exposes the destructive, silent epidemic that devastates the lives, careers and families of millions. The fear, shame, humiliation and loss of dignity can creep into every other aspect of employees' lives.

Bullyproof Your Child For Life: Protect Your Child from Teasing, Taunting, and Bullying for Good by Joel Haber and Jenna Glatzer. (2007)
Delivering a practical, supportive, and step-by-step "bullyproofing prescription" that yields lasting results for both boys and girls, from grade school through high school, Bullyproof Your Child for Life offers specific action steps to help any child build resilience and confidence, develop compassion and trust, and thrive in school, camp, sports, and beyond.

Bullying in Adulthood: Assessing the Bullies and their Victims by Peter Randall. (2002 - Adults)
Various aspects of the problem are examined, such as research and clinical issues, and in particular, assessment of bullies and victims and the background factors to such behavior. This has become increasingly important as the problem begins to be appreciated and addressed within therapeutic, social and legal arenas.

Hangman's Curse: Book 1 in The Veritas Project by Frank Peretti. (2008 - Young Adult)
Trouble is brewing in Baker, Washington. Three popular athletes have been stricken with a mysterious ailment--or phenomenon--that leaves them ranting incoherently, paranoid, and eventually comatose. Ever ready to seek truth and justice, teen twins Elisha and Elijah and their parents hop in their van, the Holy Roller, and head to Washington... themes of witchcraft, bullying and ghosts...

Faculty Incivility: The Rise of the Academic Bully Culture and What to Do About It (JB - Anker) by Darla J. Twale and Barbara M. De Luca. (2008 - Adult)
This important book addresses the prevalence of faculty incivility, camouflaged aggression, and the rise of an academic bully culture in higher education. The authors show how to recognize a bully culture that may form as a result of institutional norms, organizational structure, academic culture, and systemic changes. Filled with real-life examples.

Endgame by Nancy Garden. (2006 - Young Adult)
A new town, a new school, a new start. That's what fourteen-year-old Gray Wilton believes as he chants, "It's gonna be better, gonna be better here." But it doesn't take long for Gray to realize that nothing's going to change--there are bullies in every school, and he's always their punching bag.

Help! I'm in Middle School... How Will I Survive? by Merry L. Gumm. (2005 - Young Adult)
With Help! middle school survival guide students can 1) improve study skills by learning how to get good grades, how to remember when assignments and tests are due and how to get everything done. 2) improve social skills by finding out how to find and make friends, what to do if they are being picked on, and how to stay out of trouble. 3) learn about bullying & how to prevent it. Learn ways to keep safe from bullies.

Odd Girl Speaks Out: Girls Write about Bullies, Cliques, Popularity, and Jealousy by Rachel Simmons. (2004 - Young Adult)
Here is a safe place for girls to talk, rant, sound off, and find each other. The result is a collection of wonderful accounts of the inner lives of adolescent girls. Candid and disarming, creative and expressive, and always exceptionally self-aware, these poems, songs, confessions, and essays form a journal of American girlhood. They show us how deeply cruelty flows and how strongly these girls want to change.

Once Upon a Time... Storytelling to Teach Character and Prevent Bullying by Elisa Pearmain. (2006)
This book features 99 multi-national and multi-cultural folk tales with familiar character and bullying prevention themes but encapsuled in wonderfully diverse stories. The author, a professional storyteller, provides actual stories plus chapters on how to tell a story, not just read it; activities for students; and bulliten board ideas.

See Elisa's website for more info on bullying prevention through story

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Titles are in blue and underlined . Click on them to get more information.
Alphabetized with short descriptions for your convenience and to save you research time.

Bully by Shawn Lee, Andy Ross, Michol Thompson and Dominic Glover. (2006 - soundtrack CD)
"Bully" takes the Rockstar tradition of groundbreaking, original game play and humorous tongue-in-cheek storytelling to an entirely new setting: the schoolyard. In this game you play as a troublesome schoolboy; you'll stand up to bullies, get picked on by teachers, play pranks, win or lose the girl, and ultimately learn to navigate the obstacles of the fictitious reform school, Bullworth Academy.

Bully 911: Stop Being a Victim by Johnny and Noel Gyro(2007 - DVD)
This empowering DVD is simple to learn, easy to use and designed to make children feel considerably more confident when coping with bullies by teaching them the tools to escape without getting hurt. Simple techniques will be taught (no martial arts experience necessary) to allow children to defend against chokeholds, hairpulling, arm grabs, and more.

Leo the Lion: King of the Jungle (Jetlag Productions) by Tony Ail, Nathan Aswell, Takashi Masunaga and Toshiyuki Kiruma. (2002 - animated DVD)
The story of Leo, a lion king who learns a valuable lesson from a young cub! Listener review: "Good morals and fun characters."

Roach Approach, The: Slingshot Slugger! by Roach Approach. (2006 - animated DVD)
Squiggz, Cosmo and Flutter are having a great day on the boardwalk – that is, until the arcade is invaded by the biggest, meanest exterminator the kids have ever seen! So the kids race to find Grandpa, who's fishing in a restaurant lobster tank, and he tells the wonderful story of David and Goliath. This inspires Squiggz to face down his own "giant"

Trevor Romain: Bullies Are a Pain in the Brain by Trevor Romain. (2008 - animated DVD)
Listeners' comments: "We were introduced to Trevor Romain while researaching books on stress and anxiety to help my son deal with difficult situations."..."I am an elementary school counselor and loved the "Bullies" book. I thought I'd give the DVD a try--and the kids like it even better than the book."

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Online links are in blue. Click on them for more information or stories.
Story titles are in quotation marks.
To retell any of the stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
Short descriptions included for your convenience and to save you research time.
Sue Black
Certified Bullying Prevention Trainer, Clemson University Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life
Professional Storyteller / Teaching Artist

You and Me ... Bully Free!
An educational, fun, and interactive storytelling assembly that gets the whole school talking. Based on the latest research and best practice, Sue’s program is designed to raise awareness, shape attitudes, change behaviors, create memorable learning, and communicate a shared vocabulary.

It Takes a Village
Bullying prevention workshops for teachers and parents working with the bully, the bullied and the bystander. Learn what to do, what not to do, and strategies that make a difference. Create a culture of inclusion in our classrooms, homes, and communities for lasting bullying prevention.
Bullying from Learning in Main Resources
Bullying from
Bullying in Schools from Hawker Brownlow, Australia
Bullying Prevention Handbook.
Bullying Project from the Collaboration Centre
Christian Science Monitor article about bullying
"The Giant Without a Heart in His Body" - a Norwegian folktale.
"The Gift of Insults" - a Zen tale.
"The Mosquito and the Horse" - an Estonian Fairy Tale.
"Once Upon a Time: Storytelling to Teach Character and Prevent Bullying."
Lessons from 99 folk tales for grades K-8 by Elisa Pearmain.
Positive Discipline Web Site.
"Urashima Taro, the Fisherman" - a Japanese folktale printed as a play).
Useful information and lessons to help you deal with this difficult issue.
Using Literature to Stop Bullying from Kids' Wings.

CTAP Region 4 - Cyberbullying. Excellent site with multiple hyperlinks.
Stop Cyberbullying. Posted by Covers What is it?; How it works; Why cyberbully?; Prevention; Take action; What's the law?
What is cyberbullying, exactly? Posted by Definition and methods used on the Internet.
Cyber-bullying from Wikipedia.
Excerpt: Cyber-bullying is "the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others".[1] As it has become more common in society, particularly among young people, legislation and awareness campaigns have arisen to combat it.
Contents: Cyber-bullying defined; Research; Comparison to traditional bullying; Legislation against cyber-bullying; Harmful effects; Adults and the workplace; Cyber-bullying awareness campaigns; Community support; Cyber-bullying in media and pop culture; References; Further reading; External links.
Cyberbullying Research Center. The Cyberbullying Research Center is dedicated to providing up-to-date information about the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of cyberbullying among adolescents. Cyberbullying can be defined as "willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices." Includes: Cyberbullying: Identification, Prevention, and Response; Sexting: A Brief Guide for Educators and Parents; A Student's Guide to Personal Publishing (Offline and Online); Ten Ideas for Youth to Educate Their Community about Cyberbullying; A Summary of State Bullying and Cyberbullying Laws; Cyberbullying and Self-Esteem; Cyberbullying and Suicide; Cyberbullying and Strain; Trends in Adolescents' Social Networking Use; and Changes in Social Networking Use from 2006 to 2009.
Text Messaging Harassment and Other Cyberbullying Resources. Excerpt: Cyberbullying is when one person is bothered or harassed by another person through a form of technology. It can be through a phone, text message, or the Internet. Cyberbullying has been on the rise in the recent years as technology has advanced. Finding out what cyberbullying is, how to prevent it, how to teach your children right and wrong technology use, and how to deal with the effects of cyberbullying, can help educate everyone on the fight against it. Cyberbullying is real, and it happens each and every day. People must stand up and fight against it.
Recommended by Olivia K. 1/12/12.

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Advice, Comments, Discussions and References from Storytellers, Teachers and Librarians

(excerpts from Storytell posts plus original research)

Book titles and online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more information.
In performance, always credit your sources.
To retell any of these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
Story titles are in quotation marks.
Posts are entered chronologically as they are received at Story Lovers World.

1) You might like to look at Graham Langley's site
Graham has been involved in anti-bullying projects in various parts of the UK.

2) Look at the "Mucky Moose" adaptations at this website.

3) The shoemaker's gift;: From an ancient Chinese folktale is certainly about bullying. A shoemaker makes a pair of boots for the king. Each of 3 guards refuse to let him pass unless he promises to give them 1/3 of his reward. So the shoemaker asks to be beaten 99 times with a stout pole. The guards get beaten, the shoemaker has outwitted the bullies!

4) Alice Walker's Finding the Green Stone
A reader: "I use this book during our friendship week. It's a great story with many themes that help build our "community" in my classroom. This is one of my favorite books."

5) "Strength" in MacDonald's Peace Tales: World Folktales to Talk About where man is shown to act like the ultimate bully not knowing the difference between strength and killing.

6) Hairy Man by David Holt. He was definitely a bully and got his comeuppence in a nonviolent way.
Southern storyteller David Holt delivers six down-home tales with lively, if uneven, style. The original tales of side one have integrity and a distinct southern flavor.

If you do a search for the book title King Of The Playground by Phillis Reynolds Naylor, you will get a good review of that title and crossreferences to other titles on bullying, teasing and related subjects.

8) Magic Paint Brush where it's the emperor who tries to bully an artist, Ma Ling, into using the magic brush to make riches. Ma Ling outsmarts him.

9) Here's a list of picture books and novels dealing with bullying — with synopses and links.

10) "Connor And The Leprechaun" by Jay O'Callahan from Spinning Tales, Weaving Hope: Stories, Storytelling, and Activities for Peace, Justice and the Environment by Jay Goldspinner, Katie Green, Ed Brody, Rona Leventhal and Lahri Bond. A leprechaun helps a lame boy teach a group of school bullies that art is as important as brawn. Permission is given in the book for storytellers to use all the stories. Good for preschool through fourth grade.

11) "The Rabbit And The Elephant" from A Piece of the Wind and Other Stories to Tell by Ruthilde Kronberg and Patricia McKissack, 1990. This story comes from Ghana in West Africa and is about small creatures who, through rabbit's wit, come together to deal with a big bully.

12) "The Elephant Who Just Didn't Know"—Lion tries to bully the other animals into admitting he is king -but the LARGE elephant is not intimidated. In other words, "elephant just didn't know." Full story was sent to the list by Wayfarer Tomm.

13) "The Cracked Pot" story about the value of a pot that leaks water to growing seeds, has to do with selfworth. In the set up for the story, the cracked pot is ridiculed by the whole pot . (Bullying is not always physical, but quite often verbal.)

Once upon a time there was a man whose job was to bring water from the stream to his Master's house. The man carried the water from the stream in two clay pots. He hung the pots on each end of a pole, which he carried across his shoulders, to and from the stream many times a day.

One of the clay pots was perfect in every way for its purpose. The other pot was exactly like the first one, but it had a crack in it and it leaked. When the water bearer reached his Master's house, the perfect pot was always full, and the cracked pot was always half full.

The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, and it boasted loudly. It criticized the cracked pot for its failures, and reminded it that despite his efforts, the water bearer could only deliver half a pot of water due to his cracks. The poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfections, and was miserable that it could only accomplish half of what it was supposed to do.

One day the cracked pot spoke to the water bearer. "I want to apologize to you. Because of my cracked side I've only been able to deliver half of the water to your Master's home, and you don't get the full value from your efforts."

The water bearer smiled on the cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the Master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."

Indeed as they climbed the path from the river to the Master's mansion the cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful flowers along one side of the path, and it felt somewhat brighter. But when they reached their destination and the water in the half-empty pot was poured out, his sadness returned. "Thank you for trying to cheer me up with the beautiful flowers, water bearer," The pot spoke. " But I still must apologize for my failure."

The water bearer said, "Dear pot, you haven't understood what I was trying to show you. Did you notice that the flowers only grew on your side of the path? That's because of your crack. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and everyday as we walked from the stream the water that leaks from your pot has watered them. I could have got a new pot, but I preferred to gather the flowers, and with them to bless many tables."

14) A yarn game. The children sit in a circle. Began by saying something positive/nice about one of the children then toss that child the ball of yarn, holding on to your piece. That child then does the same to another child, and so on. In the end there is a spider web of yarn in the middle. Then take a pair of scissors and cut the yarn. Each child has a piece to take with them to remind them of the positive message someone had offered them. The teaching assistants told me later that the one story and game we did made a marked difference in how the children approached each other and the effect was lasting.

15) "The War Between the Sandpipers and the Whales" (in Peace Tales: World Folktales to Talk About by Margaret Read McDonald). A story of catastrophe avoided when each side realizes the futility of trying annihilate the other.

16) Riding the Tiger by Eve Bunting (It's hard to get off when you start intimidating people).

17) Master Man: A Tall Tale of Nigeria by Aaron Shepard (always someone bigger and stronger... foolishness of fighting).

18) Drums of Noto Hanto by J. Alison James and Tsukushi (cleverness more powerful than strength).

19) Finding the Green Stone by Alice Walker (Community helps someone deal with his anger).l

20) The Brothers Gruesome by Drahos Zak (again, there's always someone more powerful).
Remember—Bullying is not just about physical violence... it includes verbal violence, social alienation, humiliation, sexual harrassment ... Bullying is about the misuse of power. Effective anti-bullying programs draw on the power of onlookers when they have the courage to get involved.

21) A story that comes to mind is "The Wolves Within."

A grandson told of his anger at a schoolmate who had done him an injustice. Grandfather said: "Let me tell you a story." "I, too, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But, hate wears you down and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times. It is as if there are two wolves inside me: one is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way. But the other wolf is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights with everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of then try to dominate my spirit." The boy looked intently into his grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?" The grandfather solemnly replied, "The one I feed."

22) This article contains some good resources on the problem of bullying in the schools. Passing it along, especially for the teachers among us. Oh wait, we are all teachers in some form or another.
The Christian Science Monitor

23) I just did a program on Conflict Resolution stories. One tale I used for the older children, grades 5 & 6, was "More Than A Match" by Aaron Shepard. It went over very well, great subtle message. Go to his site for the story.

24) It isn't a story, but it may be considered a message. I'm now 74 years old, but when I was child I was the proverbial 90-pound weakling. As such, I became the victim of the class bully in every school I ever attended as my parents moved around the country. I was too small to fight back. But, I made a marvelous discovery - that if I could make the class bully laugh, I no longer got beat up on. Best thing that ever happened to me! I became the class clown, and I've been making people laugh ever since - which is why, as a storyteller, I specialize in humor. Nobody hates a clown!

25) Porcelain Man by Richard Kennedy.

26) I think any of the good girl/bad girl stories would be appropriate. Just play up the bad girl being a bully. What goes around comes around. "The Talking Eggs" is one of the most popular but you probably have one or two in your story bag already. Good luck. Marilyn (who has a cowlick in the middle of her forehead and when she is good, she is very, very, very good, but when she's bad....she's horrid!).

27) Three from Diane Wolkstein's The Magic Orange Tree: and Other Haitian Folktales come to mind - "Tipingee," "The Magic Orange Tree" and "One My Darling, Come to Mama."

Cathryn F.

28) I am sure there are many but the classic Snow White: Silver Anniversary Edition came to mind. Surely that Queen was a bully if ever there was one. Also, how about Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters (Reading Rainbow Book) by John Steptoe, although it is the sisters, not the father or mother that bully the youngest girl. The same holds for Little Burnt Face, the Native American Cinderella Story.

29) In Marushka and the Month Brothers, Russian folktale, Maruskha is bullied by her stepmother and sent out into the winter snow, over and over. In the end both the stepmother and her birth daughter die in a blizzard. In the Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter the stepmother and stepsister die under a landslide of boulders.

How about Hansel and Gretel (Picture Puffins)?

Karen C.

30) There's always "The Necklace," where all those nasty jealous girls get swallowed up by the river satisfying.

Kimberley K. 10/31/08

31) I love Aaron's "More Than a Match" and so have the children to whom I've told it, with Aaron's permission.

Mary G. 10/42/08

32) There is the "Why Chipmunks Have Stripes" where the other squirrels who have special markings - BUSHY-TAILED RED Squirrel, FLYING Squirrel, SILVER Gray Squirrel are mean to ground squirrel. They don't let the ground squirrel have any of the good nuts. He has to run out to get the leavings from what falls from the tree. (you can really play up this for cliques). Then Bear comes along and thinks ground squirrel would make a good snack. At the last minute ground squirrel finds a mole hole and dives in. The Bear scratches the earth trying to find him. A claw rakes his back. Bear leaves. Ground squirrel eventually gets better, but where the bear raked him, he has a white stripe. From then on the other squirrels treat him with great respect and throw him the choicest nuts.

There are several versions of this tale. I believe this one is Seneca.

Many of the "good girl/bad girl" motifs start off with the good girl being bullied by both the mother and daughter. but her kind nature is rewarded while the bullies get their comeuppence. I've given this link before, but if you want to read my adaptation of that kind of story, go to

How about "The Magic Brush" where the poor boy is scoffed by the master teacher and the other art students, but it is he who receives the magic brush and does wonderous things. Sort of a good girl/bad girl but with a boy."

Marilyn K. 10/31/08

33) Storybooks you might use include Riding the Tiger [about a boy offered gang membership] by Eve Bunting and My Secret Bully [about girls and social bullying] by Trudy Ludwig (cited above).

Tom and Sandy F. 11/1/08

34) If you're still looking for this topic, I heartily recommend "The V.I.Bs" in the book by Sally Morgan called The Flying EMU and Other Australian Stories (Viking) (cited above). I don't know if you are telling in a Fair Use situation, but Ms. Morgan was generous with her stories for use in a situation like this involving character education.

LoiS S.K. 11/3/08

35) This site is a good one, with lesson plans and folktales to complement them.

Karen C. 1/23/09

36) Cyberbullying is the use of technology for social cruelty, which can include harassment, impersonation, denigration, trickery, exclusion and stalking. Cyberbullies may use email, chat rooms, discussion forums, instant messaging, cell phone text messaging or popular teen web sites such as Excellent site for teachers, parents and students with hyperlinks to many useful web sites.

Sara A. 1/24/09

37) UA Links. Webinars in February through March on 1) Bullying Overview and Prevention Strategies 2/17/09; 2) Bullying Intervention Strategies 3/5/09; 3) Cyberbullying: Part 1 3/25/09; and Cyberbullying: Part 2 3/26/09. For further information,

Yael G. 1/25/09

38) I'm happy to share some of what I do in the schools with pleasure. This is a list of some of the stories I tell. It has my sketchy notes and segues, and I have looked for some additional sources on the net.


"Angry Annie"
(personal story about getting angry and running away from home) (Do you ever get angry?)
What makes you angry – lead to kids being mean…..

I get angry when someone picks on someone smaller than them, that makes me mad…..

"Rat and Beetle"
Heather Forest's Wisdom Tales from Around the World (World Storytelling).
Paca the Rat, is unaware of Beetle's wings when after taunting her, she challenges him to a race.

A a story about a caterpillar who is a real bully, but ends up not being very scary at all. Invite kids up and in their most (elephant, lion, monkey, frog) voice say “WHO IS THERE?” BIG voice of caterpillar ‘TIS I! who trample elephants and crush Rhinos!”

What should we do when someone is mean to us…….

"The Farmer and the Donkey"
I wrote a little song and devised a little dance, in the hope that the kids will dance it when they are feeling put down….

If you saw someone being mean, do you think if you went up to them and told them to stop it, it would make a difference?
How many people it would take to stop someone bullying someone in the playground. 5? Hands up? No? how about 10? 30? We get to a number that no one can disagree with, and then I tell the "Bundle of Sticks," asking students to come up and demonstrate, first breaking one stick each - and then continuing to tell the story, getting the bundle together and asking kids up to break it. The class call out encouragement, ‘ come on you can do it’ whilst they go red in the face in the attempt.

"Bundle of Sticks"

I then tell an anecdote of how in my class at school I was picked on by a couple of girls. One other girl in my class came up to me, and said ‘I was watching, and those girls were really mean to you.’ That was zall she said but it made such a difference to me that someone witnessed, and saw how unfairly I was being treated….we don’t have to stand up to a bully, but we do have to stand beside the victim.

Being different from everyone else is scary. This is a story about a boy who dared to be different.

"The Seed"
What makes you frightened…….. cupboard door, something under the bed… We can be scared of things that aren’t even there, like the story of Catapillar…….When I was a little girl I was scared of……..
Sometimes things that are different from us make us frightened….

"Bat Hangs Upside Down"
Have you ever felt like a bat? Now a harder question, have you ever made someone feel like a bat? What would you do if you saw some one who was feeling like a bat….. Allison Cox’s version can be found:

"Frog and Snake"
What do you think we need to do if we are scared of someone different from us? Be curious, ask them questions, get to know them – like frog and snake!

"The Apple Tree"
We are all different from each other, and the same, too, and everyone is special – May you always know that inside you, a star shines very bright indeed. Bring apple and knife to show the kids the star…. Cut apples horizontally and give out after show, so everyone can eat an apple star.

Donna Jacobs S. Australia 4/25/09

39) Had an 8th grader complain yesterday about a 7th grade bully who won't let him alone. Couldn't think of a single solitary bullying story....sure messed with my mind.....anybody got some memory triggers for me? Resources?

Mel D. 3/6/10


"The Fence"

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took this son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.

Also, this one:

"The Gift of Insults"

There once lived a great warrior. Though quite old, he still was able to defeat any challenger. His reputation extended far and wide throughout the land and many students gathered to study under him.

One day an infamous young warrior arrived at the village. He was determined to be the first man to defeat the great master. Along with his strength, he had an uncanny ability to spot and exploit any weakness in an opponent. He would wait for his opponent to make the first move, thus revealing a weakness, and then would strike with merciless force and lightning speed. No one had ever lasted with him in a match beyond the first move:

Shelby S. 3/6/10

b) Unfortunately, this subject continues and will continue to come up. It would be important to know just how the bullying is being expressed.

Having offered Bullyproofing programs for years in schools, reluctantly I have to share my opinion that folktales can be palliative for a short period of time... but that kids or adults for that matter who are targets of bullying need much more support... they need strategies on their own... and they need teachers, and peers to be supportive in specific ways... ways that present challenges on their own for the bystanders and witnesses. The organization that is doing the most these days to disseminate school based programs is called Creating Caring Communities.

[JB: Excerpt from their website:
What We Offer...
• Proven strategies for creating a safe school.
• Customized workshops for teachers and other professionals in a school setting.
• Summaries of research about the causes of bullying.
• Success stories about changing the climate in a school.
• A practical curriculum designed by professionals to teach kids how to change behaviors.]

Bob K. 3/6/10

c) I love when we share our experiences.. and stories. I don't have a lot of experience telling stories in a school with bullying problems. But the tale that I chose to tell in such a situation was from Elijah's Violin and Other Jewish Fairy Tales: "The Healing Leaves." The two older brothers are bullies...

I never spoke about bullying.. But let everyone ask questions afterwards.

Laura S. 3/6/10

d) For the spur of the moment, a great story that is enjoyed by a wide range of ages in a Bill Cosby tale, one of his "Little Bill" stories called The Meanest Thing To Say: A Little Bill Book for Beginning Readers, Level 3 (Oprah's Book Club). In the story a new kid comes to school and challenges Bill to a game of who can say the meanest thing to the other before they cry or get really embarrassed. Little Bill goes home that night quite stressed, but gets some help from his dad who teaches him to simply say, "So..." following each thing the bully says. The bully gets frustrated with this tactic and quits.

It is using the logic that bullies are looking for power over their target, looking to make someone else express feelings, looking for a reaction. Helping kids to use humor, and other tactics can sometimes defuse a bully. Then again there are many incidents in which group bullying, or more dangerous forms of bullying, require adult intervention.

I got Bill C's permission to tell this one for money in my bullying prevention program. But I'm sure you could use it a time or two for free.

Also, see Carol Wintle's new book Empowering Children to Help Stop Bullying in School. She has created a really powerful curriculum around a story she created of one youngster who was bullied and how a teacher helped him to use his strengths to overcome the bullies and make new friends.

elisa pearmain 3/6/10

e) I use Wiley and the Hairy Man (Ready-to-Read, Level 2) ... an amalgamation of all the versions I've encountered over the years ... as sort of a primer for some ways to deal with bullies:

1.) It helps to have allies (Wiley's two hound dogs)
2.) Get away from the bully (Wiley climbs a tree the Hairyman can't scale)
3.) Keep a cool head; sometimes you can use a bully's arrogance to your advantage. (Wiley gets the Hairy Man to show off)
4.) Tell a safe grownup.
5.) Face up to your fears.
6.) Accept help.

The Akbar and Birbal stories are good for boosting morale -- underdog (Birbal) comes out on top by using his wits.

I have Elisa's book. It's a really good collection. You're likely to find something in it that would hearten this kid.

Megan H. 3/6/10

Responses to e):

1) Once Upon a Time... Storytelling to Teach Character and Prevent Bullying by Elisa Pearmain. (2006)
This book features 99 multi-national and multi-cultural folk tales with familiar character and bullying prevention themes but encapsuled in wonderfully diverse stories. The author, a professional storyteller, provides actual stories plus chapters on how to tell a story, not just read it; activities for students; and bulliten board ideas.

See Elisa's website for more info on bullying prevention through story

Elisa's book just won the Silver Medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards for 2009! Complete info is on her website.

Jackie B. 3/6/10

2) I like Megan's response because it deals with actual strategies...

As far as stories go... I think that real life stories about how real life people have dealt or are dealing with Bullying are the most effective stories. It's a deep subject. I've worked with hundreds of adults in workshops where I ask people to access bullying incidents from their childhood, and almost without exception, someone has a story to tell and a wound that still needs healing. Strangely, too many of us still turn a blind eye, and mute voice, when we experience bullying taking place to others ...sometimes from indifference, more often from fear or confusion about what to do.

Bob K. 3/6/10

Response to 2)

Thank you for this realistic, caring and honest response. As we develop over these years, it is more and more obvious that we all need training - not so much in the storytelling performance - but in gaining deeper insight into how and why and when. And to recognize the difference between immediate palliative effect and engendering the seeds and strategies for longterm help as you describe. It is a sobering and helpful letter. I feel greatly relieved to read it.

Laura S. 3/7/10

f) Couple of postscripts came to me as I was falling asleep last night:

Sue Black's treatment of "3 Little Pigs" is right on the mark for this issue. I don't know if she's recorded it or not. I saw her perform it at Northlands several years ago, and it still glows for me.

Good book for you, who are dealing with it as a grownup who wants to be part of the solution: Bully (The), the Bullied, and the Bystander: The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander: From Preschool to High School--How Parents and Teachers Can Help Break the Cycle of Violence by Barbara Coloroso. (Very readable!) Her focus is on empowerment and the accountability of everybody involved. (And when there's bullying, whether we like it or not, everybody is involved.)

Megan H. 3/7/10

g) A couple of years ago I invited our school psychologist into a teenage class for a Q&A session about bullying. It was interesting for the students to learn that adults, including teachers, can also be victims - and some realised that they, too, had bullied a particular teacher in the past.

Another point the psychologist made which struck me is that, in his clinical experience, the victim invariably needs to confront their own behavioural role in the bullying. Naturally this was in no way suggesting that the victim "asked for it," rather that the victim can be helped to behave in ways which are less likely to "invite" the attention of bullies. A sensitive issue in many ways!

I agree with Bob's earlier remark that folk tales may be a good beginning but are not in themselves enough. Moreover, without being defeatist, it seems realistic to accept that there will not always *be* a solution.

Some of the most fraught years for my wife and me were watching our younger son suffering a long period of low-level bullying. I think he was simply in a situation which had developed in his class where roles had become so entrenched that it was very hard to change anything. Whatever we tried to do did not seem to make much difference. For a number of years in school he was virtually without a friend - and it is not just parental bias which makes me say that he was really a lovely boy.

One thing which did help us in those dark years was the comment from one of our friends who said that she, too, had suffered similarly as a child. However, knowing our son as she did, she was also sure that he would emerge from the experience all the stronger for it.

I don't think this would be true for everyone, but it certainly was for him. The break came when he was 14. We sent to him (at his own request, I hasten to add) to spend four months on the the Orkney island of Westray, living with a friend of ours who was Head of the school. Being able to get away helped break the entrenched roles.

The following year he applied for a scholarship at a United World College. Out of the 400 applicants, and the 60 shortlisted, he was given one of the 20 scholarships. I am convinced that the sensitivity for others as well as his determination, which led to this, was in part attributable to those years of rejection.

Anyway, he left home at 16 for two years at Mahindra United World College in India - and has never looked back since.

Forgive this if it appears unduly long on the personal - but I see a lot of children in school and often tell them of my son's story as a story of hope. I tell them that adolescence is often a time of waiting. I suppose that parenting is also often a matter of waiting. And having waited, it is wonderful to see that both our boys are moving ahead as happy and successful adults, confident in the path they have chosen. We can't ask for much more than that.

Richard M. Germany 3/7/10

Responses to g):

1) The most beautiful story I've heard in a long time! Thanks!

A friend told me that her son told his younger sister to take her required P.E. course in her senior year. By then, he said, the freshmen and sophomores who filled those classes would look upon her as someone outside their circle and not bother her. It worked for her.

Mary G. 3/7/10

2) I was in a junior high school class where students bullied the teacher into a nervous breakdown. She left at the end of the year. I never said anything. I was new to the school, hated the bullies; but had no idea what to say or do. Every class was chaos - one day they even threw a desk down the stairs.

What I saw then (and later as a school employee) was that at most schools a teacher in difficulty has no resources for backup. They sink or swim on their own. Administration is unaware or indifferent; and even if they know, they don't have any policies or procedures in place to help teachers having problems with discipline.

One of the uglier experiences I've known.

Kimberley K. 3/8/10

h) Another great resource is Operation Respect's website:

They have free curriculum for educators. The curricula is divided in to grades 2-5 and 6-8 as well as one developed for camp.

Joan McD. 3/7/10

i) Thanks everybody, I sincerely appreciate your responses. I know that there's not a "quick-fix" to the problem of bullying, and continue to pray for my student. I will advise him as he asks for advice, but will also take the liberty of quietly alerting his principal that he might be a target. The principal will understand, he is a kind, wise, and compassionate man, just the right kind to be a jr hi principal. Thanks again for all your contributions.

Mel D. 3/7/10

Responses to i):

One of the things I love about this list is that even if a subject, such as bullying, has been tackled before, there are new people on the list and sometimes oldtimers on the list are prompted to respond to a subject with new insights. I'm glad that Megan, Bob and Richard, in particular, took the time to comment. I found their comments very helpful.

Judy S. 3/7/10

2) I have just been hired...
To do an anti-bullying presentation...
For an elementary school...
On April 16th -
So all of this...
Has been very helpful.

We never know...
What will be asked...
Of us...
So having these recurring themes...
Pop in and out...
Of our discussions...
Will always be PERFECT TIMING...
For someone.

Thanks to all...
For your curiosity..
And your wisdom -

Reet 3/7/10

j) I also agree with Bob that bullying prevention requires the whole school and a year-long approach. Also agree that personal stories are best. That is another reason that I love Carol Wintle's new book Empowering Children to Help Stop Bullying in School. She has included several dozen stories of Boston School children who wrote down their stories of standing up to bullying on behalf of someone else. They were written as part of a courage curriculum, I believe. Ultimately, we need to help the other children to recognize when bullying is happening, all of the ways that it happens, and then to make it more rewarding to intervene than to avoid. 86% of kids support the bully and only the remainder the target unfortunately, mostly out of fear and not knowing what to do.

Also, we all have stories of interacting with bullies. These make great additions to a folktale program on bullying prevention. When I train teachers in bullying prevention I always have them remember and share stories of experiences they have had with bullying. This builds empathy an courage, and may provide stories that they can share in their classrooms.

elisa p. 3/7/10

40) For those who have been avidly following the discussion on bullying, Carol Wintle will be doing the HSA teleconference on June 15th with a focus on her new book, Empowering Children to Help Stop Bullying in School, which has a bank of wonderful personal stories and how to use them within. Bring your questions to a larger discussion with us then!

Lani P. 3/7/10

41) I read in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning that 8-year-old Japanese Princess (granddaughter of current Emperor Akihito) complained of stomach cramps, anxiety and didn't want to go to her very elite school. Investigations revealed she and others being bullied by boys!!

Kiran S. 3/8/10

42) Here's a poem we used to use with kids in our bullyproofing program. We stopped using it, because on its own it puts way too much onus on the target (I don't use the word victim) of bullying to transform the situation. As I said before, it takes adults, bystanders standing up as well. Still I think there is some value here... perhaps really more for adults. My cousin Arthur Kanegis created this. We created cartoon characters for each of the animals. Also a puppet play - "Legend of the Bullyproof Shield."

Breakout Bear says: Break away from the current fray,
When tempers cool, then make your play.
Why ram right through the middle?
Try an end-run to solve your riddle.

Understanding Unicorn Understand what makes a bully tick.
Your brain is better than a big ol' stick.
says: Understand that inside the bully
are fears and hopes you don't know fully.

istening Lynx says: Listen with your heart, as well as your ears,
Behind loud anger, hear doubts and fears.
When little things don't get heard,
They build 'n build 'til it gets absurd!

oving Lion says: Love the doer, but not the deed,
Look for the good, the inner seed.
All are born with a seed of genius,
A buried core, free of meanness.

Yin Yang Yak says: Yes and no, boy and girl,
Balance inside us in a Yin Yang whirl.
Opportunity springs from crisis,
Opposites: they energize us.

Picturing Porpoise Picture your own happy ending.
Play a game of pretending:
says: Everything begins with thought.
Create a vision of the way things ought.

Respectful Raven says: Respect the bully, yourself and Mother Earth,
In each of these you'll find great worth.
We all need love and recognition--
Power from above--that's ammunition.
Now our shield can turn it back!

Original Otter says: Originate a win-win way.
Don't make a loser or we'll all pay.
Step outside old, dull solutions,
Create bright love revolutions!

Overseeing Owl says: Oversee the chaotic fray,
from a wider vision, a wiser way:
Rise above wrong or right,
Wield the power of a higher sight.

Fearless Fox says: Fearless, strong, way aboveboard,
Stand tall, heroic, without weapon or sword.
We know that fear attracts attack...

Bob K. 3/8/10

43) I'm getting so much out of these discussions of the sacredness of story and using story as a shield against bullies. Bullying isn't just confined to school and among kids. It happens in families, and much too often in the workplace and serving institutions. I think this discussion is relevant to all ages and environments.

Juliet B. 3/8/10

44) Some of my thoughts on bullying :

• Bullying is one form of violence. A form that has many expressions for people of all ages. Ageism, racism, sexism, etc. could all be thought of in terms of bullying.

• Personally, I don't find story in and of itself necessarily protective against violence or bullying. Stories can inspire or not. Stories can help educate, entertain and inform. What is sacred to one might not be sacred to another. I sometimes question whether there is such a thing as a sacred story. Hitler for example told / lived out many stories. They may well have been sacred to him. He also was a bully. Hitler's stories still reverberate today - literally generations later as do so many others.

• What about the bullying attitudes and beliefs we carry .... the ones we may or may not be conscious about. And bullying can be so subtle, so very subtle. Consider war, political conflicts / issues, the teacher who unconsciously can't deal with "a student" and dismisses him/her invisibly sending cues to others and/or to the students themselves.

• It is sometimes easier for to talk about the bullying seen outside ourselves then to work on the issues within.
• We've all bullied others and been bullied at times by others and/or other groups.
• Sometimes people bully themselves.
• Sometimes people feel bullied even though they may not have been bullied at all.
• Stories can help.
• Awareness can help.

And the last two coupled with ongoing "right" action can help too.

Mary K.C. 3/8/10

45) The goal of my bully prevention assemblies (lifted from my website): The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander – they’re all in our schools and they all need our support. Experience an interactive storytelling assembly that gets the whole school talking. Don’t stop there! Empower students, teachers, and parents with the skills they need to make a difference.
• Communicate a shared vocabulary about bullying
• Cultivate a culture of inclusion where differences are respected
• Celebrate problem-solving and conflict resolution skills

As you research the characteristics of each of the 'players' in the bullying scenario (bully, bullied, bystander), the statistics, the consequences to each 'player', and effective solutions and responses, I think you'll see the need to become a Teaching Artist when presenting this kind of program . I didn't say Preaching Artist, but rather Teaching Artist.

There are a lot of fun ways to present the statistics so that the K-5 crowds 'gets it'.

What are those statistics/basic facts? (and of course I don't present all of this to the K-5 crowd; some is presented to teachers and parents, some to middle school kids, etc)
• bullying begins in the elementary school and there are some studies that show it is trickling down to the preschool level
• 7 out of 10 kids are bullied
• 9 out of 10 kids will not intervene
• 9 out of 10 teachers will not intervene
• bully behavior occurs once every 7 minutes on the playground
• when bystanders step in, bully behavior is reduced by 50%
• of those who consistently bully and are not stopped, 60% will be in prison by age 24
• those who are consistently bullied, are 7% more likely to attempt suicide as an adult
• the 'old school' bully was trying to feel good about himself. not so today -- many of the 'new school' bullies have lots of self-esteem and are quite popular

And there are a lot of fun ways to get kids involved in a freeze-frame depiction of the kinds of bullying behavior you'll be talking about. Generally the kids know what bully behavior is -- or assume they do -- the younger kids think it is the one who punches. I start by defining the bully behavior I'm talking about -- I call it the Big 3:
• physical (pushing, punching, shoving, pinching, flicking, kicking, intimidation, etc)
• verbal (name calling, hurtful words, taunting, etc)
• social (exclusion from the lunch table/parties/teams/group/friendships, rumor mongering with the intended or unintended result of someone being left out, etc).

By the time I talk to 5th graders and beyond I tell them I have to add the online and cellphone bullying -- chat rooms or websites set up specifically to make fun of someone; forwarding emails, text messages, or photos that will cause embarrassment; initiating emails that are hurtful, taking embarrassing photos, posting any photos without permission. Because much of this type of bullying is anonymous or at least not face to face, there are those who become involved who might never do so in a different setting.

And, while we're on the subject, the Teaching Artist in you will want to know coping techniques. The most popular programs around here teach 3 steps, 3 vocabulary words:
• No - Go - Tell
• Stop - Walk - Talk

Both deal with the same concepts: Look the bully in the eye and say no or stop. Most of the schools combine the word 'stop' with the sign language gesture as well.

Once you've said 'stop' or 'knock it off' or 'I'm outta here' or 'I don't have to take that kind of stuff', or maybe you weren't able to say anything but simply gave the stop signal, then it's time to turn and go/walk. Get out of there. Don't hang around and take any more of it. Don't hang around thinking it will stop or get better. Remove yourself from the situation; it is another signal that you don't plan to take it.

Tell someone. Talk it out. Find a teacher or friend or parent or someone you can trust who will listen. And that is your first job as the caring adult -- to listen. And that is followed by your second job -- to believe. It is not our job to say 'he didn't really mean it' or 'she was only kidding' or 'everyone has to go through that' or 'you'll be fine' or 'just ignore him'.

There are books that go into a stepped process of what adults should say and do -- I'll let you go to them and not get (any more) long-winded here.

And you'll want to be aware that the conflict resolution strategies you learned, while bits and pieces might be useful to one or more of the 'players', are really strategies friends employ and are not recommended for resolving bully/bullied issues.

Then you'll look for stories that highlight the behaviors of each 'player' and you'll find the stories that celebrate differences or unique problem solving. So my story introductions or segues might be just a tad longer than normal so that I can creatively present some information just to make sure we're all talking about the same thing. But we are also artists, and we can rewrite some of those stories to artistically incorporate the Stop-Walk-Talk, or the use of humor to build community, or counting to 10 (by both bully and bullied) before acting/reacting, or taking a deep breath. Rewriting those typical bully stories from another point of view is helpful to get kids to develop empathy (That wolf in the forest was just picking up the candy wrappers Little Red was leaving behind as she walked to Granny's and then she's the one who started calling him names and acting all snooty and by the time they got to Granny's she was making all those false accusations and no self-respecting wolf would ever eat a girl but the crazy kid started screaming and th lumber jack came in and by the time it was over it was wolf with the bad reputation and Little Red lived happily ever after but he sure didn't.)(this is not my original rewrite).

I have rewritten the "Three Pigs" so that each scene depicts a different bully behavior on the part of the wolf. And each of the first 2 scenes depicts ineffective bullied and bystander responses so, of course, the house is blown down. But by the time we get to scene #3, the brick school, the strong brick behavior, the pigs know how to Stop-Walk-Talk. The teacher steps in to make sure the pigs are doing o.k. AND the teacher works with wolf.

Other stories:

Anansi and the Moss-covered Rock -- Little Spotted Deer is a beautiful example of the shy/afraid-to-speak-up bystander who becomes brave enough to say 'stop'. And then she helps the other animals get their fruit back.

Tiddalick Who Drank All the Water in the World -- I've done a rewrite here, because in the original story the way they make frog laugh is by ridiculing the way platypus looks. But the story works to model bystanders working together to confront the bully frog.

"Frog and Locust" -- working together to solve a problem

"Butterfly Brothers" -- flowers won't shelter the butterflies who are a different color.

"2 Bully Goats on a Bridge" -- pushing and shoving don't work; cooperation prevails

For older grades:

"Melinda Alice" -- altho I end it with her saying 'I wish I'd never been born!' so that she disappears. And then my next point becomes -- Of course bullies don't just disappear when we want them to.

Damon and Pythias

"The Answer is in Your Hands"

The pumpkin sparrow: Adapted from a Korean folktale

Any of the brave underdog stories

There's a whole lot of historical stories that speak to standing up against injustice (bully behavior comes in all shapes and sizes.)
And the older grades do respond well to real-life stories. Required reading for middle school and above should be Jodee Blanco's 2 books, Please Stop Laughing at Me: One Woman's Inspirational Story and Please Stop Laughing at Us . . .: One Survivor's Extraordinary Quest to Prevent School Bullying. If you can get her to speak to your middle and high school students, snatch her right up and get out of the way -- no one does it better.

In grades K-5, I'm very careful to refer to it as bully behavior and not say 'the bully'. I don't want anyone leaving the assembly having identified someone as a bully and feeling free to label him/her. Kids move in and out of these roles constantly. One day they might be a bully; the next day they might be a bystander.

I do like to use the old folktales at this age because it removes them from the bully behavior just enough to look at it from a safe distance. And in follow-up workshops we can then refer to the stories that were told and ask, for example, 'When have you ever felt like Little Spotted Deer?' or 'Have you ever acted like a wolf?'
It's just easier for the kids, in my experience.

So, back to Mel's question -- maybe your 8th grader just needed a listening ear. Lucky him -- he got it in you, Mel.
You could brainstorm with him -- what has he tried to make it stop, how has it worked, what else might he try, and would he be willing to check back in with you in a few days after he's tried a couple of new strategies.

Be watchful, Mel. Bully behavior doesn't happen when adults are present and attentive.

Be willing to step in. Catch the bully in unrelated situations to the one you are aware of and respond -- either with positive reinforcement for the good stuff or letting him know the behavior you witnessed is not allowed in your school. Let the bully know you'll be checking back in with him too.

Is the 8th grader in danger? Skip all of the above and go directly to 'Tell'. Tell the person who can immediately step in and remove the dangerous bully.

And maybe the stories you're looking for, Mel, have less to do with the bully and have a whole lot more to do with overcoming fear or standing up for what's right or being part of a crowd that steps in to stop injustice.

Suggested bibliography
Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary) has a great CD and companion activity book for elementary and middle school kids -- I highly recommend this

Suggested activities post assembly

Relating your bully prevention program to the state standards

Sometimes at the end of an assembly I do an interactive quiz. I have 3 signs that read:
Not Sure

I have 3 teachers hold a sign in a different corner of the room.
I read statements and then the kids move to the corner of the room with the sign that holds their answer to the question. It's a great reinforcement activity and also a way to set the record straight if there are any small groups of kids have wandered toward the wrong answer (and again, there are lots of creative ways to handle being wrong -- we are all learning this stuff, after all).

When someone bullies you, you should:
• cry (no)
• tell a friend (yes)
• tell the bully's parents (no)
• run away (not sure; this is situation based because if you are in danger the answer is 'always run')
• try to get even with the bully (no)
• tell a teacher (yes)
• stay home from school (no)
• hit, push, kick bully (no)
• stand up straight, look bully in the eye, and say in a firm, confident voice, "Stop" or "Leave me alone!" (yes)
• hunch over, hang your head, and try to look so small the bully will stop nticing you (no)
• laugh and act like you don't care (not sure -- situation based; keep in mind the bully wants to get a reaction out of you and any • reaction will do just so he/she knows they 'got you'
• tell your parents (yes)
• threaten the bully (no)
• stay calm/walk away (yes)
• call the bully a bad name (no)
• shout "cut it out" as loudly as you can (yes)
• ignore the bully (no -- handle it, take control)
• tell a joke or say something silly (not sure -- sometimes humor diffuses a situation and allows you to take control; doesn't always work)
• if other people are nearby, join them so you are not alone (yes)

One more thing:

Tattling versus telling:
• When you tattle, you're trying to get someone (your little brother or sister, your classmate who brought candy for a snack instead of raisins) in trouble
• When you tell, you're trying to get someone (the bullied) out of trouble

Teasing versus bullying:
• Friends tease, and when one of them says it has gone too far then the other one stops. it's like a teeter totter -- friends try to keep it balanced.
• Bully behavior is hurting someone on purpose, an imbalance of power, feeling entitled to hurt because someone is different (that difference based on any arbitrary standard the bully chooses -- too smart, too tall, too rich, too poor, etc etc).

Sue B. 3/18/10


a) I found some of these answers a little black and white.

As an example, "when someone bullies you, you should cry. (no)" Crying may not help, but crying may happen - telling someone there are also other things they can do if they did cry might be a bit more proactive than saying they "shouldn't" cry.

Bullying is sometimes something that comes out of the blue (not always) - the unexpected action sometimes gets an understandable response (crying).

Mary 3/19/10

b) I train kids to try for no reaction at all -- that's what the bully is looking for and that's what encourages him to continue.
So it is best not to cry. Hard not to? Sure. Try not to? Absolutely.

If you think you are ignoring the bully, but your jaw is clenched or your eyes start to water or you otherwise indicate with silent clues that you are upset, the bully reads that and is reinforced.

Say no - walk away -- talk to someone.

Are we all going to get it right all the time? No. But we're learning ... together ... and when we work at this together we discover nothing is impossible.

Sue B. 3/19/10

c) I'm sure your program is great - it is obvious you have taken a lot of time to put together a well thought out program.

Yes, I'm sure bully's are looking for a reaction and I am sure crying is not helpful in the moment. I do, though, stand by my point . . . sometimes the unexpected happens and even if one is schooled in a particular response . . . sometimes a person may respond in a way that might not be as helpful as another in the moment (ex: crying).

I wouldn't want a student who cried to feel shame (neither am I inferring that you desire that either ;) . . . what I was trying to point out (and maybe this is not easily discussed via email) that crying happens . . .

So you're right - we're all learning. Sounds like a great program.

Mary 3/19/10

d) One of the characteristics of bullying situations is not only the disparity in power between bully and target, but also in the affect shown. Don't ask bullies to show much empathy... or to feel bad that they made someone else feel bad... that's what they are trying to do... and you can suggest that a target try not to cry... but kids who are frequent targets of bullying already tend to be children who cry easily.

At least- that's what the research shows. That said... there are strategies that the target and the bystanders can use- to lessen the reward/payoff and increase the price that the bully gets.

Bob K. 3/19/10

e) When we do a program on bullying—or anything—we are speaking to the general group. In truth, bullying must be dealt with on an individual level—(I bring this up after the response of crying)

Has any one of you ever been bullied? Have you ever been a bully?

My view of what we do is set parameters—
1. Bullying is not good, not right, not to be supported.
2. Each and every person has merit and deserves to live without being bullied.

When you stop and think about it, before you get to the moral level of punishment for bullies and can raise all sorts of other issues, these first two are where our real strength lies.

Nothing can replace the strong, loving home relationship that arms children against bullies and keeps bullies from growing from one-time power seekers into real deep-seated bullies.

But we can help in our small way.

Thank you for all of the wonderful suggestions on anti-bullying!

Joan L. 3/19/10

f) Absolutely.
I'm there to get the conversation started.

Can I cure the problem in 45 minutes? No
Can I counsel the individual players? No
Can I address every kind of bully behavior and every possible response and offer alternatives in the time I have? No

But I can reinforce what the school is already saying and present the information from another point of view as well as in a creative and memorable way.

Or, in some cases, I might be the first adult they've heard take a stand and say 'no, this isn't right'.

I can speak it out loud in front of the entire school so everyone knows that everyone knows bully behavior is not acceptable and if they want to say it too, they've got some reinforcement.

It's important enough to me that if any of you want to present this kind of program too, I wanted you to be armed with solid well-researched information. So I gave you a condensed version of 3 years of research.

My program has been screened by multiple school social workers; I wanted to present it with confidence and not give any misinformation. They've assured me it's all good stuff.

The bully questions quiz, which I present interactively so the kids can move around -- and I should have mentioned this when I posted it -- comes from The Bully Free Classroom: Over 100 Tips and Strategies for Teachers K-8 (Updated Edition), by Allan L. Beane, PH.D.

If you check out the book you'll note that his answer to each question is what he calls a 'best answer'; he then goes on to explain his best answer, sometimes with if-then scenarios.

My intent was to share the research I've accumulated so that we might all take a look at our programs and, if invited to tell stories around the bully-free theme, present a solidly helpful program. As Joan said --- we can help in our small way. I can't speak to nor defend any disagreements anyone has to the research, I can only encourage you to seek professional clarification.

Sue B. 3/19/10

45) About bullying, here's a story called "The Master of the Tea Ceremony." My friend Pascal Fauliot published it in French in a book of martial arts stories, and I translated and adapted it for a book called Suddenly They Heard Footsteps. It isn't for very young children, but more for teens and adults. Hope you find it useful. Also, this e-conversation reminds me of a proverb I heard from a teacher, whose father would say it when there were bully problems: Never wrestle with a pig, because you'll both get dirty and the pig likes it.

"The Master of the Tea Ceremony"
[Source: Suddenly They Heard Footsteps: Storytelling for the Twenty-first Century (University Press of Mississippi). Contributed to the Storytell and Healing Story Alliance web archives by permission of the author, Dan Yashinsky.]

Long ago in Japan there was a master of the tea ceremony. The teamaster practised his art in the palace of Lord Tosa.

One day Lord Tosa was invited to visit the Shogun in the city of Yeddo. He brought with him not only his warriors but also the master of the tea ceremony. He wanted the Shogun to enjoy the teamaster’s great art.

The custom of the Shogun was that every man who entered his palace should be dressed in the traditional costume of a samurai warrior. When the teamaster arrived with Lord Tosa’s entourage he too began to wear the two crossed swords of a samurai, although he had never before worn a sword in his life.

On many occasions in the next few days Lord Tosa asked his teamaster to perform the tea ceremony, and the teamaster became a favourite of the lords and ladies of the Shogun’s court. After a few days, the teamaster was given leave to spend a few hours out in the streets of the city. He was delighted to leave the palace and wander about, watching the hustle and bustle. Seeing the children play in the schoolyards reminded him of his own little boy and girl back home, and he smiled.

When it was time for him to return to the palace, the teamaster began to walk back the way he had come. He came to a bridge and began to cross it. Coming towards him on the bridge was a large, mean-looking man. This man was a ronin, a free-lance mercenary who roamed the countryside, sometimes serving an honest cause but more usually making trouble for law-abiding citizens. The ronin was in an ugly mood. As he passed the little teamaster he jostled him so that he fell to the ground. When the teamaster stood up and tried to walk away, the ronin stopped him and said, "How dare you push me and knock me around!"

"Pardon me," said the teamaster politely, "but I believe it was you who knocked against me. I was the one who fell."

"Are you calling me a liar?" the big man shouted. He hadn’t failed to notice that the teamaster was short and slight of build. "Come on, take out your sword and let’s settle this argument right here and now!"

"Ah, I’m afraid that I cannot oblige you with a fight," said the teamaster. "Let me explain. You see, I’m not really a samurai. I practise the tea ceremony for Lord Tosa. I am wearing these garments and swords because my lord is visiting the Shogun, and I must dress like a warrior to enter the palace. I have never held a sword in my life."

"So you say," sneered the ronin, "and what I say is that you are nothing but a coward. If you refuse to give me satisfaction, if you refuse to fight, I will tell the whole town that your Lord Tosa is served by men who have no honour."

The teamaster had no wish to bring dishonour to his lord. He stood before the ronin, his mind racing and his heart pounding. All of a sudden he had an idea. He remembered that on his meander through Yeddo he had passed an academy of swordfighting. He thought to himself, "I will return to that academy and learn at least how to hold the sword properly; then when he kills me I will not die in a shameful manner."

He spoke to the ronin and said, "I will fight you. Before I do so, grant me two hours to complete a certain errand. I promise to meet you back here on the bridge and settle our dispute with swords."

The mercenary thought that the little man must be going off to collect a bribe, and he was happy to grant the delay. "See that you return in two hours," he said, "or all of Yeddo will know of your disgrace."

The teamaster hurried down the street to the door of the swordfighting academy. He explained breathlessly his urgent need to see the swordmaster, and the doormen brought him in. As quickly as he could, the teamaster described his dilemma, concluding, ". . . so you see I have come to learn from you how to hold a sword properly so that when I receive my deathblow, at I will die with honour."

"I understand," said the swordmaster. Then he smiled.

"What’s so funny?" asked the teamaster. "I myself find nothing amusing in the situation."

"Pardon my smile," said the swordmaster. "Most of my students come to me to learn how to avoid death, and how to bring death to their enemies. You are the first man who has ever come to me to learn the art of dying."

"Do not mock me!" cried the teamaster. "Please teach me what I need to know."

"Before I teach you my art," said the swordmaster, "would you be so kind as to show my yours?"

The teamaster knew that this would be his last chance to practise his art. With a great effort he began to prepare. He assembled the elements and utensils of the tea ceremony: the tea, the water, the whisk, the clay vessel, the brazier. Then he prepared himself. When all was ready, with a peaceful spirit he was able to serve the tea to the swordmaster.

The swordmaster observed the teamaster carefully and, after he had sipped from the bowl of tea, he said, "I see now that you are already a great master. I have nothing further to teach you. You already know everything necessary for your combat. Let me just make one suggestion. When you return to the bridge for the fight, approach your enemy as if he is a good friend. Go to him as if he is your most honoured guest at the tea ceremony. When you arrive, be sure to greet him politely and thank him for waiting for you. Take off your jacket, roll it, and place it on the ground. Place your fan upon it. Roll up your sleeves. Tie the headband of resolution around your forehead. Face your opponent. Grasp your sword by the hilt, draw it, and hold it above your head. Announce your readiness for his attack. Then close your eyes. When you hear his battle cry, bring your sword down with all your strength. If you do exactly as I say, I assure you that all will be as your desire. Farewell - and have a good death."

The teamaster was puzzled by the strange advice. But there was no more time for a lesson in sword-holding or swordfighting. He thanked the swordmaster and took his leave. He began to walk back to the bridge. As he walked, he tried to prepare himself not for a fight but for a tea ceremony. He felt calm, as if he were going to serve tea for a well-loved friend. He approached the scene of the combat. Step by step he let go of his hope, and step by step he let go of his fear.

By the time he reached the bridge he could see the ronin striding about, shouting and brandishing his sword. A crowd had gathered, eager to see blood. The teamaster walked slowly up to the ronin, greeted him, and thanked him for waiting. He placed his jacket and fan upon the ground, rolled up his sleeves, and tied the headband of resolution about his head. He took his sword, held it above his head, and said that he was ready to fight. The sword felt amazingly light in his hands. Then he closed his eyes.
He had no tea this time. He had no water, or whisk, or clay vessel, or fire, or brazier. The only thing left to offer was himself.
The teamaster stood there for a long time, but the ronin’s cry of attack never came. Finally the little man open his eyes. He saw an astonishing sight. The ronin’s sword lay on the ground in front of him. The mercenary soldier was backing away from him, his eyes full of terror and confusion. He broke into a run and dashed around the corner.

When the ronin had looked at the face of the teamaster, standing quietly in front of him, he lost his nerve. He did not know how to fight an enemy who showed neither hope nor fear. He did not know how to attack a man who stood peacefully, eyes closed, sword held without a quiver high above his head, waiting to serve, not tea, but his whole life. The ronin had been so scared that he’d thrown his own sword down and made his escape, glad he hadn’t been slaughtered by so powerful an enemy.

The teamaster picked up his things and returned to the Shogun’s palace. Before leaving Yeddo he visited his friend at the swordfighting academy. He served the swordmaster tea, told him the story, and the swordmaster smiled again.

Dan Y. 3/7/10

46) By chance, I've just read this article in today's Guardian - a bully's story.

Richard M. Germany 3/20/10


If you take the time to read this article (Thanks, Richard) you will see that it is was the bystanders who had the power to turn things around) which is at the heart of successful (too few) anti-bullying programs.

I've been feeling a little like a curmudgeon on this topic... but having had some experience in researching and delivering programs that dealt with bullying, I really do have a strong conviction that it takes a village to stop a bully, and that successful programs slowly... very slowly must change the entire culture of a school or workplace. (How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb? one... but it takes a long time and the lightbulb really has to want to change).

Bob K. 3/20/10

47) Following up on our recent discussion on storytelling in bully prevention programs:
Stan Davis and Charisse Nixon have just released the results of a survey they did among youth grades 5-12 on what they reported made things better, made things worse, and made no difference.
Really interesting reading/results.

Sue B. 5/1/10

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