To This Day: For the Bullied and Beautiful, by Shane Koyczan (2014, Annick Press) $19.95, ISBN: 978-1554516391
Recommended for ages 10-18
What began as a spoken word poem turned into a viral video, and has culminated in this gorgeous, touching graphic novel about the lasting damage caused by bullying. To this day, a boy saddled with a the nickname “pork chop” hates pork chops. To this day, a woman teased about a facial birthmark thinks she’s ugly, despite having a loving husband and family. To this day, bullied kids carry the battle scars they earned in the trenches of elementary, middle, and high school. This book, based on Shane Koyczan’s spoken word poem and animated by 86 animation and motion artists, contains the work of 30 artists and illustrators and give new life to Koyczan’s poem.
Bullying has become a hot-button topic in recent years, as cyberbullying changes all the rules. The attraction of anonymity makes bullies bolder, and victims find their tormentors omnipresent, thanks to 24/7 social media access. Crafting a multimedia work – a spoken word poem, a viral video, and now, a graphic novel, takes the bullying discussion to the arenas where tweens and teens live and interact. Making the discussion visual will help bring home the internal damage that bullying brings, hopefully making both bullies and the bullied understand that there are repercussions to bullying. There is someone on the other end of a computer or smartphone that is directly impacted by everything that one writes or records. In this case, a picture truly speaks a thousand words.
This would make for a great class discussion and could be paired with the video. There is also a free app available through iTunes. The To This Day Project website has anti-bullying resources, the video, and a link to the app available.