Ripon author takes powerful anti-bullying message into schools

A Ripon author and illustrator is working hard to end bullying by taking her book with a powerful message into schools across the district.

Thursday, 23rd November 2017, 9:10 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:18 am
Ripon author and illustrator Monica Gabb.

In the wake of anti-bullying week, Monica Gabb has launched a fundraising campaign for 1,000 copies of Words Don’t Hurt to be given out to raise awareness among as many children and teachers as possible.

The aim is for the book to be used as a teaching tool so that readers can discuss and fully understand its message in class.

Monica said: “It speaks in the voice of the victim. It’s not about a specific type of bullying, it’s written as something that can resonate with everyone.

“Sometimes bullying can be subtle, someone might not realise at first that they are being bullied, and for the bully, they won’t necessarily realise how much they are hurting someone.” One of the most striking strengths of the book is how visual it is.

Monica recognises that one of the most difficult things about bullying is talking about it with others, and she hopes that having such a visual approach to the book will promote more open discussions in schools and break down barriers.

She said: “It’s about breaking down that taboo that someone has been bullied.

“Someone might think, ‘I’m being picked on, something must be wrong with me’. when clearly that is not the case at all. If the teachers use the book and discuss it, it’s valuable. But if they don’t explain it, it’s not as powerful.

“Bullying causes a great amount of stress and trauma to children. From my own experience the hardest step was to tell my parents in fear that it would make things worse. This book encourages children to talk about bullying through empathising with the character’s experience.”

Monica has already taken the book into schools including Holy Trinity School, Ripon Cathedral School, and schools in Boroughbridge and Kirkby Malzeard.