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The Fight: Surviving South Side
Isabel, or Bella, is a student at South Side High School. On the way to her favorite class taught by Ms. Weller, who is her favorite teacher, she hears the word “Faggot” being shouted at a classmate named Dominic. It was Jay, and he was bullying and pushing Dominic against a locker. Bella's hope was that Ms. Weller would intervene, but she didn't. This concerned Bella, especially since there have been numerous accounts of bullying against kids who were suspected of being gay and religious groups encouraging students to lead a straight life. Bella decides to help if she can and in her efforts joins a group called the GSA, or gay-straight alliance. But when Dominic commits suicide his secret is out and Bella finds the courage to ask her parents for help with the PTA. It's too late for Dominic, but with her new found alliance it will be up to Bella to make sure no one else is hurt. Bella's mission will be to teach tolerance by getting faculty, students and parents involved.
Parents and teachers will find that this story is an excellent teaching tool for tolerance. Opening up dialogue for young readers is important and the characters in this story could be any student at any school. The underlying tone will have readers engaged and looking inside themselves. Although this content is of a serious nature it is a book for any middle grade reader. The language is easy to comprehend.
BIBLIO:2013, Lerner Publishing Group, Ages 9 to 12, $27.93.