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I am Jack    by Susanne Gervay & Cathy Wilcox Amazon.com order for
I am Jack
by Susanne Gervay
Order:  USA  Can
Tricycle Press, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover
* *   Reviewed by Deb Kincaid

Susanne Gervay's I am Jack takes the reader into the mind of a likeable 11-year-old kid named Jack who becomes a bullying victim. Based on true events that happened to her own son, Gervay relates via this story the difference between good-natured joshing and mean-spirited teasing, and how easily the teasing morphs into bullying.

Often, children try to talk to us adults about it, but we don't make time for them. Or, we wonder about unusual behavior or comments, but never follow up. A bullied child may feign sickness, skip classes, or hide out in safe areas of the school, always living in fear. Their schoolwork may suffer, not to mention the victim's self-esteem. The bully, too, becomes increasingly bold and powerful, completely unconcerned about his aggressive behavior.

The protagonist of I am Jack experiences all the above, yet is hesitant to approach busy parents or teachers. A friend ultimately takes that first step to helping Jack. But, it's Jack who decides not to run. There are lessons in this book for all to take to heart, whether we are teachers, parents, friends, family, or members of the community.

What I liked especially about I am Jack is that the author not only discusses bullying, but the steps adults and kids can take to stop it cold. The book will be a formidable tool for empowering both kids and parents, and is written in a warm, engaging style to boot. I am Jack has been used by Australia's educators, and produced as a play as well.

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