________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 4 . . . . September 26, 2014


To This Day: For the Bullied and Beautiful.

Shane Koyczan.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2014.
70 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-55451-639-1.

Subject Heading:
Bullying-Juvenile poetry.

Grades 6-12 / Ages 11-17.

Review by Rob Bittner.

**** /4


he tried to kill himself in grade ten
when a kid who still had his mom and dad
had the audacity to tell him “get over it”as if depression
is something that can be remedied
by any of the contents found in a first aid kit.

to this day
he is a stick of TNT lit from both ends.



To This Day started its life as a poem by Shane Koyczan, focusing on anti-bullying, and it was first performed in February of 2013. The poem is based on Shane's own experience(s) with bullies as a child, and it expresses the lasting effects of bullying and the strength required to overcome these obstacles. Shane's poem eventually became a YouTube video which garnered millions of views, and his later live performance at a 2013 TED Conference led to even greater proliferation of his work. In this newest iteration, Shane's work comes to life accompanied by the artwork of 30 different illustrators, each affected in some way by the poem and by a history of bullies or bullying. These beautiful illustrations, connected by Koyczan’s words, come together to create a powerful work of art for a wide range of readers.

     To This Day is a brilliant text and a crucial work contributing to anti-bullying efforts around the world. Koyczan is well-known for his anti-bullying efforts and inspirational performance pieces. This particular work incorporates his artistic flair and text with brilliant interpretive illustrations from multiple artists inspired by his words. While the book, itself, is brief, the words linger for a long time, and the illustrations are haunting. The varying styles each give a unique perspective on Koyczan’s words and allow readers to appreciate the many varying interpretations of the poem both as a larger work and in its smaller stories.

     I can't even begin to say how this book has impacted my own view of bullying and how much I hope it impacts the world of educators and social workers so that both children and adults will no longer need to suffer without help and proper recourse. Koyczan's poetry is insightful and thought-provoking, and although Koyczan’s performance does enhance the work to a great degree, the written piece is beautifully paired with the commissioned art, and I applaud Annick for publishing this timely and (unfortunately) necessary work!

Highly Recommended.

Rob Bittner recently graduated from the MA in Children’s Literature program at The University of British Columbia and is now a PhD student in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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