Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Amelia’s Bully Survival Guide

Amelia’s Bully Survival Guide

Marissa Moss
Fiction  Series
For ages 8 to 12
Simon and Schuster, 2012   ISBN: 978-1416912880

Amelia is starting fifth grade and she is little anxious about what it is going to be like. Will she like her new teacher and the kids in her class? Unfortunately Amelia’s best friend, Leah, is not going to be in her class but Amelia reassures herself that they will still be friends. After all, they can meet at lunch and recess whenever they want.

   Amelia soon decides that fifth grade is going to be terrible. She does not like her teacher at all, the kids in her new class don’t seem to be friendly, and Leah is choosing to spend her time with a girl called Gwen. Then, just to add insult to injury, a girl called Hilary, who is in Amelia’s class, decides that she is going to go out of her way to make Amelia miserable. Hilary makes fun of Amelia’s hair, her clothes, and even the food she eats at lunch. Amelia does not understand why Hilary is being like this, and she does not know what to do about it.

   Then, during science, Amelia is partnered with a girl called Carly. Apparently Hilary teased a girl called Susie last year so this bullying thing is nothing new. Carly does her best to cheer Amelia up. She sends her a note that reads, “Just pretend Hilary is a giant cockroach. Then you won’t care what she says or does.” The pretending part is sort of funny but Amelia still finds the teasing hard to bear.

   When her mother asks what is wrong Amelia tells her about Hilary, which is when her mother tells Amelia about what Grandma Sara did when she was picked on by a bully. Amelia does not remember meeting Grandma Sara because she was very little when Sara died, but she finds her grandmother’s story inspirational. Apparently Amelia is a lot like her grandmother. If only she had her grandma’s courage to stand up for herself.

   Putting up with bullies is something many children have to deal with. Figuring out how to defend yourself without resorting to violence is not easy. In this book we see how Amelia first has to believe in herself, have confidence in her own abilities. Then she finally finds the courage to speak up.

   Written in the style of a journal, with a handwritten text, doodles and more, this story will resonate with anyone who has struggled to find self-confidence. Sometimes all a child needs is to find out that he or she is good at something. Then they are able to dismiss naysayers who try to make them feel small.

   This is one in a series of books about Amelia.