To celebrate the new release of “The No More Bullying Book for Kids”, written by Vanessa Green Allen, I wanted to share some detailed information about her with my my readers! Bullying is a subject that currently has everyone on high alert. Myself included. I know some of us can easily dismiss bullying as something to just get through and kids should come out on the other side stronger for it. To that I’ll say, we have never had to deal with cyberbullying as kids. Back in the day (yes I know I sound old), kids could get relief from bullying at school and go home to peace. Now it will follow you home. Especially with nearly every kid having a smart device now. Unmonitored at that. So I am extremely excited for books to be released that not only spark a discussion with kids and parents on the subject, but also gives strategies on how to become bully proof. Please continue reading to learn more about the author!
Please tell us about yourself. Who is Vanessa Green Allen? Where are you from?
I am an elementary school counselor living in Raleigh, NC. I am a former 2nd grade teacher. I’m the creator of SavvySchoolCounselor.com. I’m a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of school counseling. I’m a mom to a college sophomore and a miniature schnauzer.
Were you bullied as a child or a witness to this behavior?
I wonder if there is anyone who wasn’t bullied in some form or another as a child. My memories of bullying go back to around the age of 9 or 10 during the summer at a daycare. I hated the place so much, my mom removed me after a week. I can vaguely see the girl’s face and her short natural haircut, but I don’t remember anything else about her other than the fact that she picked on me every day that week.
What inspired you to write a children’s book?
I was actually contacted through my blog Savvy School Counselor by the publishing company to write the book. I’ve always imagined that “one day” I would make an attempt at writing a children’s book, but this opportunity presented itself to me when I least expected it. Of course, once the project was presented to me, I was immediately interested in the subject matter as I teach kids about bullying prevention regularly and create bullying materials for educators to use with their students.
How did you find the time to write? Tell us about your writing experience.
The publisher I worked with has a quick turnaround time. I was offered the contract in December 2017 and started writing in January of 2018. The bulk of the writing and editing process was completed by the end of March. I wrote every day after work and all day on Saturdays and Sundays. I took a leave from the church choir for those months and went to 7AM services every Sunday so I could be home by 8:30 to write. There were specific deadlines I had to meet throughout the writing process. I would take the outline and spread out what was due over the days before the deadline and work to complete my writing goals each day. If I completed a daily goal and had time to go to the next day’s goal, I would double up. I spread it out as much as I could so I wouldn’t feel too overwhelmed, but it was a lot of work, time, and energy regardless.
What are some of the easy to spot differences between bullying and teasing?
In my book, I talk about harmless vs. hurtful teasing noting that we all tease our friends and relatives at times for various reasons with no intent to hurt. However, a person can tease you with the intent to get a negative reaction from you or to embarrass you. Although this doesn’t feel good to the recipient, it doesn’t become bullying until the behavior is repeated. Once a person repeatedly uses their power to intentionally hurt others physically, verbally, or emotionally, he or she is bullying.
What’s something you want to share with children who are getting bullied, as well as the parents of children who are bullied?
My book includes a letter to both children and adults. When I think about the lessons I teach at my school, the main point I typically leave with is to say something. I hate the thought of the child suffering in silence who is afraid to let someone know what is happening to him or her. I also want children to know that there are tools they can equip themselves with to not only deal with situations they may find themselves in, but to become resilient and strong enough to overcome those situations and become bully-free. Parents of bullied children should keep the lines of communication open. Ask questions, and communicate with the appropriate adults at the school, camp, troop (wherever the bullying is occurring) in order to get everyone on the same page to handle the problem. I always appreciate when parents contact me to let me know what they are hearing from their children so I can look into the situation and do what I can on my end to assist. Like children, parents need to also understand what bullying really is and help their children in understanding that as well. My book talks about how bullying is different from being mean, teasing, and being rude. Although those behaviors cause frustration, they are not bullying unless it’s a repeated pattern of behavior.
Do you have any advice to share with aspiring authors or counselors?
If writing is something you really aspire to do, take the time to do your research so you can understand the process and what it takes to publish a book. If your book is an informational text, like mine, you want to make sure your information is research based and that it meets the current standards of that particular subject. Before going to print, my book was reviewed by an expert from a bullying prevention organization. Also, as with any aspiration, don’t give up. The answer isn’t always going to be yes at first, but that doesn’t mean a yes will never come. Be open to advice and suggestions you may receive to make improvements to your work.
Can we expect more children’s books in the future?
I certainly hope so! I’m still so overwhelmed by the last six months I’ve spent on The No More Bullying Book for Kids, but I believe, once the dust has settled, I will begin to think about my next steps.