Review & Blog Tour: Stop the Bully

Stop the Bully by Karen Tyrell 

Digital Future Press, 2014

ISBN: 9780987274069

Author-teacher Karen Tyrrell is back with another excellent mental health book for children, which makes author-school counsellor Ali Stegert (me!) very happy. Bibliotherapy is a powerful addition to the toolbox of counsellors, social workers, foster carers and teachers. Stop the Bully is all about empowering kids with assertive anti-bullying strategies.

Stop the Bully is Karen’s second mental health book for kids. She writes from her personal experience with the trauma of bullying, a story which she details in her first book for grown-ups, Me & Her: A memoir of madness. She was bullied at work by parents of a student, and the resulting stress made her unwell. She was eventually diagnosed with and treated for Bipolar Disorder. With wonderful support and lots of determination, she made an inspiring recovery. Fortunately for us, she shares her stories.

Stop the Bully is a wonderful book for 8-12 year olds. Kids Helpline has endorsed it, and it is aligned with Kids Matter and the Australian curriculum. Check out Karen’s free children’s activities and teacher notes. You can win a copy by leaving a comment here or at any other blog tour stops (see below). The more comments you leave, the better your chances to win a book!Book 

Author Interview

Today, I’m talking with Karen about her newest hit, Stop the Bully.

Q 1 – I’m always interested in discovering the genesis of a story. To do this, I conduct what I call “Story Genealogy,” where I trace the story back to its roots in the author’s mind. What was the catalyst or seed idea for Stop the Bully?


(Karen) To be honest, author friend and mentor, Anita Bell urged me to write a “bully book” with positive messages and strategies for kids, parents and teachers. She knew about my personal history as a bullied teacher and my passion about bully prevention.  The idea of the story ending came first for me. With an unexpected twist. Then I wrote the story “backwards.” I’ve written many stories the same way.


(Alison) How interesting! One of my favourite authors, John Irving, author of Life According to Garpand A Prayer for Owen Meany, takes the same start-at-the-end approach. You’re in excellent literary company!


Q 2 – Do you feel bullying is misunderstood or does the public have a good grip on the dynamics of bullying?

(Karen) Bullying is a whole community problem with a whole community solution. One child’s attack should be dealt with a team approach: students, teachers, families and community.

Society often condemns the bullies without ever trying to understand them. The bully needs as much support and counsel as the victim. I have much empathy for the bullies.


(Alison) That is exactly why I value your book so much. The old saying is true: “Hurting people hurt others.”

Q 3 – The thing I love about your book is that it doesn’t pander to simplistic stereotypes. Real life bullies usually aren’t the sadistic baddies portrayed in Saturday morning cartoons. What are some of the common themes you encountered as a teacher that fed bullying behaviours?

(Karen)  Children who bully often were victims of bullying or abuse themselves. Their aggression screams out an underlying problem. So many bullies suffer from psychological issues, low self-esteem and self-worth.


Q 4 – What is your top tip for…

            a) Kids who are being bullied?

(Karen) They must report their bully attacks to the teacher, their parents and the community so a support team can rally around the victim, offering empowerment and solutions.


(Alison) Silence backs up the bully, I always say. Talking about it begins to break down the bully’s power.


            b) Parents of kids who are being bullied?

(Karen) Parents must open up the discussion about bullying and strategies with their child.

Parents can encourage their child to read STOP the Bully, a few chapters per night, spring-boarding discussion to work out an empowering action plan to build confidence.


(Alison) It helps when parents model good communication and conflict management. These are things that are taught and “caught.”


Best Wishes to Karen and Stop the Bully!

Thanks so much Karen for her insightful answers and for writing such useful children’s books. I know I’ll be using Stop the Bully in my school counselling practice.

Wait! There’s More! The Blog Tour Schedule and PRIZES!

Comment to Win! Here or any of the stops above.

2 June STOP the Bully Release Party & REVIEWS        

Sally Odgers Interview  

3 June Jill Smith Review   
Charmaine Clancy Interview 

4 June Sally Murphy 10 QUICK Q

5 June Melissa Wray Interview 
Yvonne Mes Interview 

6 June Ali Stegert Counsellor Interview 

7 June Kids Book Review CURLY Questions 

9 June Bug in a Book Review 
Jackie Hosking Interview 

10 June June Perkins Interview 
Robyn Parnell Interview 

11 June Nicky Johnson Review 
Literati Radio Interview 9am AEST  HERE



17 Thoughts

  1. Hi ali,
    Thanks so much for your amazing support for STOP the Bully.
    Reading, reviewing and interviewing!!
    STOP the Bully is indeed lucky to have your backing and blessing … Karen 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Having worked in the education system supporting kids with disabilities and other roles, I understand only too well the systemic bullying that occurs for the adults in that profession and how prevalent it is. if we can spread the message that bullying is unacceptable at every level then it is an effort worth pursuing. Well done Karen on being brave enough to write about it and coming up with practical solutions.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for commenting Karen and Cecilia. I love it that Stop the Bully is helping young people learn important coping skills that they can carry through their lives. Changing the culture with the next generation! It’s a powerful strategy!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great interview. Very thoughtful questions, Alison, and insightful answers, Karen. I think it’s important that you have shown both sides, the bullied and the bully, and that both need help. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Jacqui,
      Thanks for your amazing support of STOP the Bully … and “getting” why i wrote from those two perspectives … Karen 🙂


    1. Thanks Stella, for popping in with your kind words of support. Look forward to meeting you at the CYA Conference… Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Heather,
      Thanks so much for connecting me with your teacher sister in Sydney.
      Good luck with the comp … Karen 🙂


  4. Take # 2.. Thank you Alison & Karen for your informative questions & answers on the problem of bullying facing many..Karen your new book STOP the BULLY will assist in educating young people & giving them a supporting mechanism they can follow throughout their lives, also having included both sides, the perpetrator & the victim, shows an understanding that both sides need to be addressed.
    I wish you every success Karen & hope your book finds it way into schools & homes as education is the key. hugs Annette

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Mrs Stegert!! Pretty cool blog! May I review some books? ESPECIALLY Harry Potter? 😀
    Anyway, Karen, I have a question for you…what happens if the parents refuse to talk about the bullying issue, don’t care about their kids, bully their kids, or spoil them and tell them they’re perfect no matter what? What happens then, have you spoken about that? Also, if the kid has a lack of confidence in talking about their issues, or they are very passive, surely it follows that they won’t talk about their problems? You can’t write that the kid has to tell, because there are issues involving even that…however, since Mrs Stegert has recommended your book, I’d like to give it a go 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi HP Fanatic, I will bring Karen’s book in so you can have a look. I think you will find a lot of the issues you raise form part of the story. It isn’t an instruction manual, but a story for kids 8-12 and it has a twist at the end. The boy and girl in this story have to work out what to do when they are bullied. They manage to get help from parents and teachers because they talk about the bullying. That’s one of the things Karen shows is important to Stop the Bully! Thanks for visiting “R.”
      –Mrs S

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi HPfanatic,
      Thanks for coming along here to share your comments. Your questions are very valid. I would hope that the person in question has a special friend or trusted adult keeping a watchful eye over her, offering friendship, advice and support. Plus she can always talk to Kids Helpline counseling service who keep everything private. Ring 1800 55 1800 … Take care, Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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