Confessions of a Former Bully by Trudy Ludwig paperback
After Katie gets caught teasing a schoolmate, she's told to meet with Mrs. Petrowski, the school counselor, so she can make right her wrong and learn to be a better friend. Bothered at first, it doesn't take long before Katie realizes that bullying has hurt not only the people around her, but her, too. Told from the unusual point of view of the bully rather than the bullied, Confessions of a Former Bully provides kids with real life tools they can use to identify and stop relational aggression.
Katie, the antagonist of Ludwig's My Secret Bully, is back, this time narrating her own rehabilitation. Drawing on the tropes of the personal journal, the confessional, and the self-help shelf, this illustrated mock-notebook depicts how Katie, now in school-mandated counseling, owns up to her actions, deepens her understanding of "bullying behaviors" ("I used to think of bullying as only being physical"), and learns how to "become a better friend." Ludwig packs a lot of expertise and teachable moments into these pages, which often strains the authenticity of Katie's voice, leaving little sense of her character. An unfortunate reliance on quotes from famous people also prompts responses from Katie like, "Mr. Gandhi sure sounds a lot like my grandma." Adams, a debut illustrator who combines naïf drawings with collage, has the same problems: her pages often feel over-designed and glib. Still, bullies (and maybe victims) will undoubtedly recognize some of their own troubles as they follow Katie's journey. Ages 7–11.