This morning we had our first ever, Family Booktalk. Students and their parents read a book together and came to the school to have a discussion about it. The topic of our discussion was the book Bystander by James Preller. The book focuses upon the experiences of a young boy named Eric, who is new to a middle school on Long Island. Eric experiences, firsthand, bullying, as it relates to another boy named David and eventually to Eric himself. The goals of the booktalk were to encourage literacy amongst our middle school students and to involve parents in this effort and in our efforts to address bullying and promote social and emotional literacy. (Check out photos at the library website: http://www.jerichoschools.org/ms/library/bystander.htm).
The booktalk was a tremendous success. The book itself was an easy read, you should read Bystander if you haven’t already done so. One parent at the booktalk told me it took her only two hours to read the entire thing. The author deftly weaves so many themes that are involved with this complex issue into the fast-paced narrative. One particular aspect of bullying that was discussed was the tendency of middle school students to exclude parents and other adult authority figures in discussions of bullying. Frankly, many adolescents do not tell their parents or the school when they are being bullied. This was true in the book as well. I don’t want to give away the ending, but eventually adults do get involved. There were many useful suggestions to address bullying discussed at the talk.
My thanks to seventh grader Amanda Orbuch, who wrote the questions for the booktalk. Mrs. Minikel, Mrs. Kearon, Mr. Salzman, Ms. Schmitt, Mrs. Garfinkel, Mrs. Verdino, and Mrs. Snyder were also instrumental in coordinating this successful event. Many thanks to them
If you missed this booktalk please stay tuned for future events. We’ll be having others!