CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 18. . . .January 20, 2017
Daniel Abel doesnít think heís a bully. He just likes to joke around. But why does he revel in the fact that he makes kids like Nelson so uncomfortable? Daniel is just having fun. And after the pantsing incident with Nelson, the math nerd according to Daniel, he does not get into trouble at all, like he expects. He becomes a frontline representative for the school. Now itís his turn to be uncomfortable because he must greet guests to the open house with the worst bully in the school, Jeff Kover. What is going on? Rewards for bullying, and now, three strangers with briefcases arrive with the pretense of being researchers from the University of Montreal working on confidential research.
But, bullies donít always change their ways, and Daniel finds himself involved in a scheme devised by Jeff that truly turns bad. It is up to Daniel to save Jeffís life.
So many young people donít see themselves as bullies, but their jokes hurt others. It is good to read a novel about such kids and see a transformation when responsibility is added to their lives, a practice I have always believed in and used in my own teaching career. Monique Polak has developed very real and modern characters who like to joke, know their jokes hurt others but are supported by their peers. Peer support makes it difficult for these youth to back away from this type of behavior. I believe that many young readers will see themselves in Polakís characters, especially Daniel, who is at first proud of his place in school society but begins to feel a hint of shame and then compassion for the bullied. As an author of many youth novels, Polak understands the lives of teens. Hopefully Bullies Rule will become a fixture in every school library and classroom.
Elaine Fuhr is a retired elementary and middle school teacher.
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