October may be the season of Jack-O-Lanterns, candy corn, and ghost stories—but for many, it’s also an opportunity to address a pervasive social issue: bullying. Often a learned and cyclical behavior, bullying affects more than 1 in 5 students in the USA.
It’s a statistic that PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center has worked tirelessly to reduce since launching their first anti-bullying campaign in 2006. Every October, they educate schools, businesses, and communities across the country about bullying prevention and promoting inclusion. Their efforts span from hosting support walks and online pledges to advocating for improved student protection laws.
Books, too, can play a role in the movement by being champions for diverse voices. Such stories can broaden children’s understanding of the world around them, and from that knowledge comes a greater empathy for those of different backgrounds, races, sexualities, religions, and appearances. If words can harm, then they also have the power to heal, inform, alter perspectives, and put an end to harmful ways of thought. As author Logan Lekvoff says in the video below, “A lot of the conversations we have perpetuate a lot of hateful messages—and we don’t even realize it.” As passionate readers, we can help change those conversations one book at a time.
Other authors like Dean Koontz and Patty MacLachlan were bullied as children. Watch the video below to get their advice and insight on how to cope with and end bullying.
To learn more about National Bullying Prevention Month, visit PACER’s website and see what you can do to raise awareness.