Midwest Book Review - We Want You

Midwest Book Review
Reviewed by: Nancy Lorraine

We Want You to Know: Kids Talk About Bullying' is a collection of interviews of kids who have experienced bullying, both as receivers and aggressors by the Name It 2 Change It Community Campaign Against Bullying in southern Ontario, with additional supplemental writings from sources at Haldimand-Norfolk REACH, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Canadian International School in Tokyo, Raising Voices Uganda, and the international school in Antananarivo, Madagascar. The interviews are with children aged 9-19 and some of the bullying experiences they describe are hair-raising. 'We Want You To Know' speaks in the actual voices of 'kids who have been bullied, kids who have bullied others, and kids who found the strength within themselves to rise above their situations and to endure (p. 11).' Perhaps the single most important mission or teaching of 'We Want You To Know' is that bullying practices must be clearly exposed and admitted in order for change to occur, kind of a 'bullying transparency' policy to encourage real problem solving and skill building in all communities where bullying exists. The author is careful to specify that each child who was interviewed for 'We Want You To Know' voluntarily to tell their stories, and decided what things they wanted left out of their stories, including their photos and names. 'We Want You To Know' ends with two crucial sections titled Redemption and Conclusions. Redemption 'means reclaiming our lives from fear, from shame, from frustration (p. 114).' Redemption leads to questions about how to begin the process of change and growth beyond bullying. The Conclusion holds the single most important statement of the book: 'Bullying is not inevitable. It doesn't have to be a normal part of childhood...Respecting others and respecting ourselves leads naturally to respecting the world and all who live in it. We don't have to settle for what we've learned so far. We can all learn more, reach further, and become the great people we were all meant to be (p.115).' 'We Want You To Know' is a valuable resource for anti-bullying curriculum that is so crucial to all schools and communities, but it is more than that. It uses the painful heroic experiences of the bullied to begin to build windows to a better future. Additional resources for kids, for teachers, and for parents are listed at the end of the book. Many quotations taken from kids around the world who wrote essays on bullying are sprinkled throughout the text. These provide additional inspiration. Article by Nancy Lorraine

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