Nobody likes a bully — but these days the book industry loves having them to kick around.
Publishing houses are flooding the market with titles that tackle bullying, reports today’s New York Times. “The books are aimed at all age groups — from “Bully,” a picture book for elementary-grade students, to the “The Bully Book,” for middle school children, about an average kid who suddenly becomes everyone’s favorite victim, to “Sticks and Stones” by Emily Bazelon, a recent release for adults that includes both stories and analysis. According toWorldCat, a catalog of library collections worldwide, the number of English-language books tagged with the key word “bullying” in 2012 was 1,891, an increase of 500 in a decade.
“There are even more to come, said Elizabeth Bird, who tracks coming books and trends for youth collections at the New York Public Library. “Bullying has always been a popular topic, but this year we are seeing bullying titles coming out as never before, and there is no end in sight.”
The publishing world’s preoccupation with bullies does not end at the bookshelf. Several publishing houses, including Random House, Simon & Schuster and even Harlequin, have started antibullying campaigns built around their books. Authors have taken action on their own as well. Two young-adult authors, Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones, assembled an anthology of personal essays, called “Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories,”(HarperTeen 2011) by prominent writers like R. L. Stine, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. Ms. Hall and Ms. Jones also came together to form and maintain a Facebook site called Young Adult Authors Against Bullying that identifies cruel Facebook pages and lobbies to have them taken down.”