For those of you who don't know, Amanda Todd was a young girl who was bullied relentlessly until she finally took her own life. Her cries for help went unanswered; she was surrounded by so much cruelty and hate, until finally she could take it no longer.
You can find Amanda's story here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BgYGfSzIi0
While it is too late for us to help Amanda, there are still countless young girls and boys who are struggling with being bullied every day. They need a voice. They need to know there are people they can talk to, help they can find. They need to know about people who have been bullied, who have survived. They even need to know about the ones who didn't make it.
At any time, youth can call the Kids Help Line, a 24/7 hot-line for ages 20 and under: 1-800-668-6868
For real-life stories, and information on how to stand up to bullies, go to the Canadian Red Cross site: Stand Up to Bullying http://www.redcross.ca/article.asp?id=24739&tid=108
Another helpful site is Bullying Canada: http://bullyingcanada.ca/index.php
The Sylvan Lake Library won't be silent about this epidemic that is sweeping across our youth. Bullying is not something natural, it is not something that just happens. Bullying is not something that kids should have to "deal with". We can do something to help. It is our responsibility.
Here are some of the resources we have available at the library. If you or someone you know is being bullied, battling anxiety and depression, or having suicidal thoughts, these materials may be of use.
"Speak", by Laurie Halse Anderson: "Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth." - Farrar Straus Giroux
"By the Time You Read This, I'll be Dead", by Julie Anne Peters: "Daelyn Rice is broken beyond repair, and after a string of botched suicide attempts, she’s determined to get her death right. She starts visiting a website for “completers”— www. through-the-light.com.
While she’s on the site, Daelyn blogs about her life, uncovering a history of bullying that goes back to kindergarten. When she’s not on the Web, Daelyn’s at her private school, where she’s known as the freak who doesn’t talk.
Then, a boy named Santana begins to sit with her after school while she’s waiting to for her parents to pick her up. Even though she’s made it clear that she wants to be left alone, Santana won’t give up. And it’s too late for Daelyn to be letting people into her life…isn’t it?" - Hyperion
"Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories", by Megan Kelley Hall, Carrie Jones, and more: "Discover how Lauren Kate transformed the feeling of that one mean girl getting under her skin into her first novel, how Lauren Oliver learned to celebrate ambiguity in her classmates and in herself, and how R.L. Stine turned being the "funny guy" into the best defense against the bullies in his class.
Today's top authors for teens come together to share their stories about bullying—as silent observers on the sidelines of high school, as victims, and as perpetrators—in a collection at turns moving and self-effacing, but always deeply personal." - HarperTeen
After a number of tragic suicides by LGBT students who were bullied in school, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage uploaded a video to YouTube with his partner Terry Miller to inspire hope for LGBT youth facing harassment. Speaking openly about the bullying they suffered as teenagers, and how they both went on to lead rewarding adult lives, their video launched the It Gets Better Project YouTube channel and initiated a worldwide phenomenon. With over 6,000 videos posted and over 20 million views in the first three months alone, the world has embraced the opportunity to provide personal, honest and heartfelt support for LGBT youth everywhere.
It Gets Better is a collection of expanded essays and new material from celebrities, everyday people and teens who have posted videos of encouragement, as well as new contributors who have yet to post videos to the site. While many of these teens couldn't see a positive future for themselves, we can. We can show LGBT youth the levels of happiness, potential and positivity their lives will reach if they can just get through their teen years. By sharing these stories, It Gets Better reminds teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone - and it WILL get better." - Dutton Adult
"Odd Girl Out: the Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls", by Rachel Simmons: "When boys act out, get into fights, or become physically aggressive, we can't avoid noticing their bad behavior. But it is easy to miss the subtle signs of aggression in girls--the dirty looks, the taunting notes, or the exclusion from the group-that send girls home crying.
In Odd Girl Out, Rachel Simmons focuses on these interactions and provides language for the indirect aggression that runs through the lives and friendships of girls. These exchanges take place within intimate circles--the importance of friends and the fear of losing them is key. Without the cultural consent to express their anger or to resolve their conflicts, girls express their aggression in covert but damaging ways. Every generation of women can tell stories of being bullied, but Odd Girl Out explores and explains these experiences for the first time. Journalist Rachel Simmons sheds light on destructive patterns that need our attention. With advice for girls, parents, teachers, and even school administrators, Odd Girl Out is a groundbreaking work that every woman will agree is long overdue." - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
"Why Do People Bully", by Adam Hibbert: "Forever a common problem in all sectors of life, this book takes a look at what bullying is and why some people become bullies. The book describes how bullies operate and provides some useful practical tips and techniques on coping with bullying. It also includes case studies and quotes from people with experience of bullying." - Hodder Wayland Childrens
"My Time as Caz Hazard", by Tanya Lloyd Kyi: "Caz thinks she has a pretty good reason when she punches her boyfriend in the face, but she gets expelled anyway. Moving to a new school, she is told she is dyslexic and sent to special education classes. Caz tries to fit in and get by while suffering the taunts and abuse that others throw at the students in her class. Her friendship with Amanda leads her into new territory -- shoplifting and skipping school. Coupled with her parents' impending separation, her life is spiraling out of control." - Orca Book Publishers Canada
"Hear Me Out: True Stories of Teens Educating and Confronting Homophobia", by T.E.A.C.H.: "A project of Planned Parenthood of Toronto, this collection of personal accounts of sexual self-discovery by volunteers in the organization's peer-based T.E.A.C.H. program (Teens Educating and Confronting Homophobia) is remarkable for the diversity of social, economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds represented. The 20 stories included demonstrate the wide spectrum of gay, lesbian, queer, transgender, transsexual, and questioning young-adult experiences. The settings may be Canadian, but the well-written accounts show the universality of the experience, including the dangers associated with being different and the widespread failure of schools to protect young people from homophobia and transphobia. An important and emotionally powerful collection that is sure to encourage thought and discussion." - American Library Association
"Fat Kid Rules the World", by K.L. Going: "His name is Troy, but to the world--and in his internal dialogues--he is the Fat Kid. Really Fat. Almost 300 pounds of sweating, unhappy insecurity. Then out of a moment of despair comes magic. As Troy considers whether to splatter himself on a subway track, Curt MacCrae, a charismatic punk rocker/homeless kid/dropout, comes along and stops him. For the price of a meal, Curt befriends Troy, and he sees something under all those layers: a potential musician, a friend, and someone with the ability to see through life's bull. First-time novelist Going has put together an amazing assortment of characters. Troy is the ultimate fat kid, the kind whose every move, every thought is predicated on what it is like to wear a coat of blubber. Curt, as thin as Troy is fat, is a combination of Kurt Cobain, Ratso Rizzo, and a fairy godfather. He sprinkles Troy with the dirt and grime of punk rock and brings out the prince hiding inside the weight (to the book's credit, Troy doesn't get any thinner). Equally well drawn are the lesser characters, including Troy's father, a former Marine with an innate sense of what kids need. The narrative could have been tighter in places, but this is an impressive debut that offers hope for all kids--dross transmuted into gold." - American Library Association
Bullying can be almost impossible to escape. At times, it can seem like there is no end in sight. At the end of the day, all we can do is find someone to confide in, someone to share your story with. There are people out there who want to help, the trick is finding them.
The Sylvan Lake Library wants to help in any way we can. We have services and materials available for any age group. We want to break the silence. We want Amanda Todd, and the millions of teens like her, to know that we support you.