I’ve waxed rhapsodic on here before about Lerner’s Pop Culture Bios. I’m going to do so unapologetically once again. Because not only are these books a lot of fun. And not only do they have the potential to inspire a love of reading in kids who might not otherwise have found a book that speaks to them. They are also—quite surprisingly—one of the single best resources that I’ve encountered for kids who are facing bullying.
How so? Well, one thing that a lot of the Pop Culture Bio subjects have in common—in addition to being famous, talented, and beautiful—is that they were bullied. A lot of this bullying was unendurably cruel—the sort that caused the bullying victim to withdraw from school. So many of these stars (like Selena Gomez, cover pictured) have traits that made them stick out among their peers. They have an unusual passion for acting or singing. They have vivid imaginations. They are sensitive and wear their emotions on their sleeves. They are driven in a way that most other young kids couldn’t relate to. All of these things made the stars prime targets for getting teased and bullied.
For a kid who’s living through bullying, life can feel extremely lonely. Hearing that they’re not alone can make a world of difference. One of my greatest wishes when I edit our Pop Culture Bios is that a kid who’s facing bullying might pick one up and find hope between its covers. That it might help a kid envision a day when the very traits he’s bullied for could lead to his success.