Book review

Bullies at School by Theresa Breslin (1993)

Do you think you know how it feels to be bullied?

Siobhan dropped her head down, swinging her shoulder-length black hair over her face. She hunched her rucksack even further up her back. She could feel the horrible sick stomach feeling starting, and the great flushing redness coming into her face. Her hands were all sweaty. Any second now and her legs were going to start to shake.

Can you imagine how bad it must be to feel like that every day? And Siobhan hasn't even got through the school gate yet. There's plenty more to come.

This is a story about bullying, but it is a very realistic story. It's easy when you are sitting comfortably with a good book to sympathise with the character who is being bullied. We can all wonder why Siobhan's former friend has turned against her and started the campaign of bullying. And we can all understand why Siobhan might not want to report what's going on. Her Mum's got enough worries of her own and telling the teachers might just make matters worse.

But what I've never really understood before I read this book is how easy it is for a victim of bullying to become a bully. It's all about power. You need the power to stand up to your tormentors, but once you realise you have power, never, ever abuse it.

Want to know how Siobhan finds the power? You'll have to read the book.

Oh, and if you are being bullied, be brave, go and tell someone.

What can I read next?

If you are interested in stories about bullying you could look at this one by Malorie Blackman:

If you enjoy real-life stories for younger readers I think you might enjoy almost anything by Jacqueline Wilson:

Or you could look at this one by Anne Fine:

Finally, this real-life story by Leon Rosselson about refugees and asylum seekers might interest you:

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