Can you fight bullies with books?(Read article summary)
The publishing industry shows signs of maturity with a spate of new books addressing bullying.
The most recent instance is an example of the very best of publishing addressing the very worst of social problems ‚Äď bullying.¬†
Bully books are clawing their way into publishing houses and up bestseller lists, according to a recent article in The New York Times that explores the attention ‚Äď and profits ‚Äď books on bullies are receiving of late.
According to the library catalog World Cat, books tagged with the key word ‚Äėbullying‚Äô saw an increase of 500 in the last decade to some 1,891 such books in 2012, as reported by the Times.¬†
‚ÄúBullying 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,‚ÄĚ Elizabeth Bird of the New York Public Library, told the paper.
And bully books aren‚Äôt just for kids. It turns out they represent the rare publishing trend that blankets all age groups, from children and teens to adults. As an example, the Times cites ‚ÄúBully,‚ÄĚ a picture book for elementary-grade students, ‚ÄúThe Bully Book,‚ÄĚ for middle school children, ‚ÄúDear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories,‚ÄĚ an anthology for teens, and ‚ÄúSticks and Stones,‚ÄĚ by Emily Bazelon, a recent release for adults.
But it doesn‚Äôt end there. Our favorite part of this story is that authors and publishers aren‚Äôt just looking for a bestseller or to make a quick buck. Besides writing and publishing books on bullying, the publishing industry has gone a step further, building antibullying campaigns, setting up antibullying support networks, and organizing conferences on combating bullying.¬†
Among those efforts are campaigns by such publishers are Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harlequin, including the latter‚Äôs ‚ÄúLove is Louder‚ÄĚ movement. There‚Äôs also a Facebook site called Young Adult Authors Against Bullying and a conference in Missouri for authors of books on bullying.
What‚Äôs more, ‚ÄúIn response to government cues, libraries, schools and even bookstores like Barnes & Noble, the nation‚Äôs largest retail book chain, have been holding events to talk about the problem and provide help for parents and children,‚ÄĚ reports the Times.
As distressing as the subject and its real world tragedies are, we‚Äôre heartened to see the publishing world use books as a means to address the problem of bullying ‚Äď and not just with ink on paper, but with campaigns, conferences, and candid conversations. For publishers, the potential to affect proactive change on a variety of subjects are endless and we‚Äôre eager to see more.
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.