As a non-fiction writer I especially appreciate the clear prose and narrative, but research-based, focus in books like Emily Bazelon's Sticks and Stones.
The 1999 Columbine massacre changed the way we see bullying in schools. Since then 49 states have passed laws addressing bullying. In her recent book, Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy, Emily Bazelon, a lawyer and journalist, shows how in post-Columbine America bullying has become one of the biggest stories about 21st century childhood.
And, yet, according to Bazelon’s research, things aren’t as dire as you might think. The stats show that somewhere between 15-20% of kids are regularly involved in bullying (either as victims or bullies) and while cases of bullycide are tragic, often there are underlying issues such as mental illness. To make her case Bazelon draws on Scandinavian research, analysis of legal cases, and in-depth investigation of three high profile cases involving children in the Northeast.
Sticks and Stones is divided into four parts; the first two focus on the stories of Monique, Jacob, and Flannery, while the third focuses on a synthesis of research, and the fourth on conclusions and tips to combat bullying. I found Part III to be the most compelling, particularly Chapter 9, “Delete Day,” which concentrates on Bazelon’s visit to Facebook and what the social media giant is doing about cyberbullying.
Bazelon writes: “The electronic incarnation of bullying also changed the equation for adults by leaving a trail.” Kids today care more about having a Facebook account suspended than getting suspended by their schools, so she argues that the company should do more protect teens (Bazelon suggests a simple solution that Facebook make the default settings private for any teenage account holder, which Facebook hasn’t yet done).
In the print version of the current issue of Brain, Child Magazine I have a review essay on fact-based pregnancy books. You can read that in full BY CLICKING HERE! Oh, and for the record, this pregnancy I have had NO desire to eat that Sierra Turkey sandwich (too spicy for this expecting momma)... Maybe I simply don't want it since I gave myself permission to eat it?
I'm extremely excited that soon others will be sharing their thoughts on my book. And, get this, it was just announced that PLAYING TO WIN is the focus of The Brilliant Book Club: Illuminating Reads for Parents. Definitely a club after my own heart. Stay tuned for more!