Review by Whaea Robyn, Year 5 and 6 Teacher, and pupils at Owhata School
You can stop bullying: Stand by or stand up?
Miller, C. C., & Assanelli, V. (2020). Amicus Ink, Mankato
In this illustrated choose-your-own-ending book, Elizabeth witnesses John getting bullied and readers make choices, with each story path leading to a different consequence.

Readers make choices for Elizabeth and read what happens next, with each story path leading to different consequences. It includes four different endings and discussion questions. 

This book had a lot of versatility in how it was delivered to tamariki. This book was used in a Year 5 and 6 class, read together as a class and stopping and talking about what strategies we might try and then choose a path to see what the outcome might be from it. 

We found it on EPIC reading app so tamariki could then read it independently or with a buddy and discuss strategies and endings. They liked the format of pick a path and felt this gave them some control over what they might try. It gave them some strategies, that reinforced what they had already been told to try and do. They enjoyed the fact that it could lead to a positive outcome. 

The tamariki identified with the scenario in the book - it is what they have seen happen. The language and strategies were recognisable, and it was a good catalyst for discussion. We brainstormed some other strategies and talked about how we could write our own pick a path pertinent to our kura and add in our own strategies. 

‘I think the age group for this book is 7+ because if you’re younger you might think the wrong path is the good path. I think I would rate it 7.5/10 because I like that you can change the books path. But I don’t like that there is bullying in the first place. I think they were awesome solutions’ - Rafe 10 years old, Owhata School.

‘Our rating for the book is 7.8/10, I think it would be for like 6–8-year-olds. You could try the strategies but it’s probably not going to affect the situation so you could try them, but it might not work. We enjoyed being able to choose the ending because you can select through multiple endings’ - Charlie, Asha and Dayne 10 years, Owhata School. 

Bullying cannot be solved in an instant and there needs to be ongoing strategies. We sometimes can’t solve bullying on our own and may need to seek adult intervention. This book was great as it gave power to the victim and to the bystander, who was able to be guided into being an upstander. We really liked this book.

Disclaimer: Please note these reviews are not intended as endorsements or recommendations from the Mental Health Foundation. This feature introduces resources that may be useful for individuals with an interest in bullying prevention, mental health and wellbeing topics.

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