“Things will get easier, people’s minds will change, and you should be alive to see it.”
They lurk in the halls and in the classrooms, singling you out with their cruel words and actions. Suddenly, nothing you do seems safe anymore, whether it’s going to the mall or simply logging onto Facebook. Whether you’re completely alone or directly facing them, their presence lingers all around you, haunting your every thought. They’ve taken over your life and have turned it into their twisted little game, making it as miserable as possible. You feel completely alone and worthless, like nothing more than a piece of trash. And the whole time you’ll be wondering, Why me? What did I do to deserve this?
The answer? Nothing. There is no plausible reason to why anyone deserves to be bullied.
The Survival Guide to Bullying explains this concept perfectly. Written by Aija Mayrock, a teen who’d been through years of being bullied herself, this book is the ultimate on-the-go handbook to deal with bullying. As the author had explained herself, it should be something that you can read when you’re at home, in the locker room, or practically anywhere at any time when you’re feeling the need for some help to get through the day. The Survival Guide to Bullying includes many ways of coping with bullies, from finding the right person to talk to, to creating your own road map, to navigating your school using a bully-free route. The guide shows the positive impacts that bullying can have later on in your life and how you can use these to shine in the future. Along the way, Mayrock shares some of her own experiences with bullying - some that many readers will most likely be able relate to - and how she personally dealt with each issue.
Having been bullied in the past myself, I found myself identifying with many scenarios in the book more than once. The key to writing a bullying survival guide for kids/teens is to be able to step into their shoes as well, and being a teen herself, Mayrock does this perfectly. The book outlines specific and useful tips that are usually left out in books written by adults, giving the audience a more reliable approach to the typical problems that a victim might face. The book is also relatively light and easy to read, which allows readers to quickly pick up the key points rather than having to analyze every sentence. However, despite being a book about bullying, the survival guide is an excellent provider for other issues that are common among teens (and even kids). Apart from the main subject, the book carefully talks about managing other topics such as loneliness, drugs/alcohol abuse, building confidence and being your own person.
Overall, growing up can be a difficult time, especially when you’re faced with unnecessary mental and physical challenges thrown at you by your own peers. Though I know you’ve heard this a thousand times, I’m going to repeat it again just because of how important it is: The pain is temporary. No matter how impossible it may seem, later on, you will survive and overcome these struggles. Bullying is just a hurdle blocking your way to the finish line, and when you cross it, I guarantee that everything will be better. The Survival Guide to Bullying provides great support for when you’re overcoming this hurdle and I urge everyone, no matter how old, to pick it up and give it a try.
**Listed below a few local and Canadian hotlines that you can feel free to call if you ever feel the need for emotional aid. The book also includes additional American hotlines.
Kids Help Phone Canada
Ottawa Distress Centre
Kristin Brooks Hope Center
613-722-6914 (within Ottawa)
1-866-966-0991 (outside Ottawa)
Ontario Mental Health Helpline
LGBT Youth Line
Ottawa Public Library’s Teen Bloggers in Residence are fantastic teen volunteer writers from across the city. They blog about their favourite teen reads and authors, and get writing assignments to cover special teen events happening at the library. Their residency rotates throughout the year. Call-outs for upcoming terms are made through the Teen Blog in May/June, September/October and January/February.