Good morning dear followers! Today, I have the honor of introducing author Mary Feliciani, a Children’s author who uses her power with the pen to bring awareness to bullying. After reviewing several of her books, it seemed like a perfect fit to allow her to write a guest post about the topic she is passionate about: anti-bullying. October is the National Bullying Prevention Month so here are some things you need to know, from Mary.
-Rayleigh Gray, Founder & Lead Reviewer
About Mary Feliciani
Mary Feliciani is a Canadian author, independent publisher and an elementary school teacher. She attended UTM where she studied psychology and still lives in Mississauga, Ontario. Mary’s background in psychology, work with children and passionate interest in the human condition, which stems back as far as she can remember, are all evident in her writing.
Why She Writes About Bullying:
When people discover that I am interested in writing about the topic of bullying, I am often asked what the big deal is about bullying these days. This comment is usually followed by statements such as this: “It has always existed. There is nothing new about it.”
What is new about it is that bullying no longer is seen as a rite of passage into adulthood, or as a normal part of school life, as some might have viewed it in earlier generations.
Today, there is a body of research to help us understand the nature of bullying. And as more and more mental health practitioners study the phenomenon, we are learning its long-term effects. Consequently, educators and parents are faced with addressing the problem.
What She Wants People to Know:
The month of October is National Bullying Prevention Month in Canada and the United States.
- In Ontario, the third week in November is Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week.
- Anti-bullying Week in the United Kingdom is the second week in November.
- Internationally, both October and November are busy months devoted to various anti-bullying campaigns around the world.
In Ontario, which is where my years of teaching in an elementary school took place, school-aged children are taught what is meant by the term bullying, and to differentiate between the different types of bullying that exist: physical aggression, verbal abuse, social isolation, and the newest form, cyberbullying.
Bullying is a repeated behaviour that is intentional in nature and meant to be harmful to the victim. It is not provoked and the bully is a more dominant child or a group of children. “Bullying is a systematic abuse of power; it is a pattern of repeated aggressive behaviour which is persistent, usually deliberate, with the intent to cause harm or distress. It is an unprovoked act of aggression. It can be direct (where the victim is openly attacked) or indirect (where the victim is isolated or excluded, leading to involuntary loneliness) (Olweus 1993).
The different forms that bullying can take are self-explanatory to adults once they are given a list, but young children might not go beyond the physical or verbal abuse as their definition. Also, young children can’t always distinguish between an argument with someone and bullying so it is beneficial if an adult has a working definition to help them sort situations. Most older children are good at verbalizing the definition and giving examples of the different types of bullying. I think that it is still surprising to some girls that manipulation of friendships, spreading rumours and shunning are considered acts of bullying.
Children and adults have to learn to recognize bullying when it occurs. The majority of bullying takes place in a public setting in which other people are around; therefore, empowering the bystanders is a good strategy to stopping bullying. Studies show that the bullying is likely to stop within 10 seconds if a bystander intervenes. * Craig, W. M. & Pepler, D. (1997). Observations of bullying and victimization in the school yard. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 13(2): 41–60.
How My Books Help
My stories utilize common school scenarios to help create empathy for victims. The totality of the storytelling and discussion questions bring forth certain truths. It is not the victim’s fault. There is nothing wrong with the victim. There is something going on with the bully. Victims need to tell a parent and teacher.
Big and Small in the Mirror, the first eBook of the trilogy, was published in 2015 and focuses on physical aggression and verbal abuse. [Read Rayleigh’s Review here]
The Invisible Boy is the second installment of a trilogy. In The Invisible Boy, Carlo learns what it feels like to be invisible at school. This second eBook deals with social isolation. [Read Rayleigh’s Review here]
Both eBooks have discussion questions at the end of the story to help facilitate a deeper understanding of the issue of bullying, and to put the story into perspective. Each eBook is also a stand-alone book.
The third eBook in the trilogy will be about how girls typically bully (spreading rumours and manipulation of friends). The working title is: I’m Sorry I didn’t Choose You.
I would love to hear your opinion or about your experience in the comments below.
Both Big and Small in the Mirror and The Invisible Boy will be on sale for $0.99 each for the month of October in response to National Bullying Prevention Month.
Big and Small in the Mirror $0.99:
Amazon | iTunes (iBooks) | Goodreads
The Invisible Boy $0.99:
Amazon | iTunes (iBooks) | Goodreads
Also, don’t forget about her other book about friendship, The Magic Leaf!