School administrator: "Students and teachers alike had a new perspective on bullying"
Michele Natali, Ed.D.
Librarian: "The message of his book still rings clearly with our students"
Lisa Petroccia, Media Specialist/Librarian
|Barb Raak and Lynn Welsch,
Language Arts Teachers
Jody Martin, Principal
Fennville Middle School
Community organizer: "Giving everyone a chance to participate in our community-wide discussion"
Doug Wilhelm was an immediate success with our entire community in discussing his book on bullying, The Revealers. His honesty, energy and openness about a difficult topic for teens gave everyone a chance to participate in our community-wide discussion. Doug was respectful of all comments and empathetic based on his own experiences as an awkward student. His sense of humor relaxed the group and provided an immediate sense of camaraderie.
Because if his visit our entire middle school staff has since received additional training on bullying. Answers to a student questionnaire are providing the school administration with information to address the issue. I strongly recommend bringing Doug to your community-wide discussion on bullying. As one of our students said that night, "Mr. Wilhelm, you are my hero."
|Brigid Sullivan, Executive Director
Black River Area Community Care Coalition
School counselor: "What a positive impact this has had on our school!"
All our students in grades 5-8 read Doug Wilhem's book The Revealers last fall. We also arranged for Doug to facilitate workshops with all 530 of our middle school students.
The students loved the book and were thrilled to be able to work with the author. Awareness of what bullying is and the effects of this behavior were increased. We saw more children becoming allies for each other as well as standing up for themselves. What a positive impact this has had on our school!
|Carol Bick, School Counselor
Williston Central School
Library media specialist: "The students were mesmerized"
Doug Wilhelm spent the day at our school and talked to all of our middle school students in grades five through eight. At first the students couldn't get over how tall Doug was, but once he sat down and started talking about how he came to write his book, the students were mesmerized. He read from his book, The Revealers, and spoke about the characters in his book who were bullied by others because they were different. Our students asked so many good questions. They truly enjoyed listening to Doug, asking him questions—and at the end of his presentation, they surrounded him wanting to tell him their own stories.
Doug was just great with our students. He listened to their concerns and you could tell by his sincere conversation style that he knew what issues students face in school. Students and teachers all commented on how much they enjoyed Doug's presentation and his visit to our school.
|Georgeanne E. Bonifanti, Library Media Specialist
Manchester Elementary & Middle School
Manchester Center, Vermont
All sixth graders at L.C. Hunt Middle School read The Revealers. As in most middle schools, bullying is ever-present in our hallways, classrooms, cafeteria, etc. Our sixth grade teachers read and LOVED this book because the story was well written and relevant to today's middle school students. The book is read and discussed in home rooms. We ended the year with a visit from Doug Wilhelm, author of The Revealers. What an exciting day for our students!!!
Doug met with two large groups and enthusiastically answered all of their questions. Best of all, he shared his own story of being bullied.
The students had really been looking forward to Doug's visit, and he did not disappoint them. Teachers as well as students enjoyed listening to the ways The Revealers came together. For the students who attended the writing workshop in the afternoon, Doug was inspiring. They were jumping out of their seats wanting to share ideas about their own writing with him. It was a great afternoon.
|Diane F. Pawlusiak, Librarian
Lyman C. Hunt Middle School
Teacher: "This was the best unit I've ever done with kids ... nonreaders became readers"
Kids who had avoided reading for years became immersed in this book, and then asked me what else Doug Wilhelm had written. Another thing that happened was that students started talking to their parents about the book and what they were doing in class. Parents actually emailed me and stopped me in the grocery store to thank me. "Whatever you're doing, keep it up!" one parent told me. I even had parents asking to borrow the book so they could read it.
As a teacher of hundreds and a mother of five, the only other time I've ever witnessed such excitement about reading was when the Harry Potter series began. What's different about The Revealers is that not only has the desire to read increased, but my students want to write more. Several of them asked to take their writing portfolios home over the summer, so they could work on revisions and add to them. Doug Wilhelm's voice has ignited a spark in them that I've never before seen in seventh graders.
Lastly, another thing that is remarkable to me is the trust that was built while working on this unit. Students began to trust each other and me, so they felt as if they could share experiences without feeling like they'd just taken a huge risk. They supported each other, and they also believe they can do something about bullying in our school and community that is positive.
This was the best unit I've ever done with kids. As one of my students said, "Bullying isn't cool, but The Revealers is!"
|Karon Perron, Teacher
Castleton Village School
National Board-certified teacher: "Every page and chapter rings true"
The Revealers is just such a book. Every page and chapter rings true with the angst, isolation, drama, confusion, and humor of middle school kids trying to find their way through the cruel and complex social order of early puberty. Some bewildered kids are clueless as to how they fell out of favor; some "nerds" have simply accepted their fate and learned how to stay out of the crossfire; and the few and powerful "alpha males" and "queen bees" are already wielding their social power with diabolical and menacing accuracy.
Doug Wilhelm's extensive research and work with middle-schoolers has paid off in the authentic voice of this short and powerful work. Not only are the scenarios recognizable to anyone who has suffered through middle school (or suffered through raising middle schoolers), but the technology that permeates the novel is realistic as kids post messages, use KidNet (the school's local area network), and "instant message" each other in ways my generation still can't quite grasp. We watch in awe as three kids, empowered by their intelligence, use technology to "out" the bullies in their own backyard: Darkland (a.k.a. Parkland) Middle School. Some of the sequences are horrifying—yet kids will tell you they are not exaggerated.
Wilhelm artfully weaves lessons of history through his tale as students explore the story of Anne Frank in social studies class and realize that silence—even in the face of a formidable enemy—is wrong and can turn deadly. Like much of Walter Dean Myers's work, this book has a winning combination of realistic problems, ordinary kids, good values (without giving easy answers), and just enough grit to keep kids on the edge of their seats. Middle schoolers have their own little world, their own rules, and their own ways of communicating. Although there are some well-meaning adults in the book, most of the time they orbit the perimeter of this strange world rather than engage in it—just like real life.
The Revealers is good and good for you; it has already been used by many schools to create a dialogue among students and with adults about a hot topic that is also a perennial problem: bullies.
|Patricia S. Worsham
English Department Chair
National Board Certified Teacher Adolescent/Young Adult Language Arts
E.C. Glass High School
School counselor: "I'm amazed at the sensitivity and accuracy"
There's no quick fix in this story; instead the author incorporates his hours of interviews with actual students to weave a theme of self-awareness from the vantage point of both bully and victim. Excellent for students, teachers and parents!
Seventh Grade Counselor
Rutland Middle School
Prevention coordinator: "After you read it, pass it on"
I sat down one weekend and finished The Revealers in four hours, I couldn't (and wouldn't) put it down. It is so real as it shows the bullying kids do to each other, that it made me feel like I was back in school, which was over 25 years ago, and I could feel the pain the the victims in the book were feeling.
But the way the characters react to the bullying and make a difference was inspiring. They didn't do anything extraordinary, they just worked together, reluctantly at first, to help each other out.
My teenage daughter and I highly recommend this book not only for middle school students, but for parents and teachers. A true "must read" book and one on my top 10 list. My advice, after you read it, pass it on and share your feelings and thoughts with others!
Sussex County Coalition for Healthy & Safe Families
Newton, New Jersey
Middle schooler: "This book helped me realize I am not the only one"
One day I was just going out to recess and these kids just started trying to hit me with a wall ball. They would just bounce it off a wall to hit me. They did this so quiet that the teachers did not see.
Sometimes when we sled at recess this one big kid would just push you down the steepest way when you weren't even in your sled. He did that to me but he pushed me down the back way where all the big jumps are. These jumps are about four feet high. I went down and was flung off my sled and had to go to the nurse.
These stories are true and are like the ones in The Revealers. This book helped me realize that I am not the only one who gets bullied. I liked the way Russell, Elliot, and Catalina tried to figure out what made the bullies do what they do.
Teacher: "The story is well-written without being preachy"
This story is well-written without being preachy, and the characters are real and believable. The book lets the victims empower themselves by not having to suffer in silence. When we see and ignore bullying, it sends the message that it is acceptable. The Revealers offers a credible strategy to deal with bullying.
Although the characters are in middle school, every kid can relate to this issue. I read the first chapter to my twins, who are sixth graders in Seattle, to get their perspective. Their school has a major anti-bullying campaign. My son immediately wanted to read it. He is the shortest sixth grader in his school, and could relate to this book.
My class loved the characters Russ, Elliot and Catalina, but also relished the antics of the bullies, especially Richie. Most of the students cited all the rules that the bullies were breaking, according to our own discipline policy. My substitute teacher got so involved with the story that she read to the class for an hour. She even stayed late after school so she could finish reading the book. Her note said that "every fifth grade teacher should read this book to their class."
I have recommended this book to our librarian, to my book club, and to all the teachers that I know.
Peter Kirk Elementary School
Retired teacher: "This book has the power to change attitudes and behavior"I am a recently retired middle school language arts teacher, and now I organize reading and writing programs in my community. I've been looking for over a year for the perfect book that will spark the interest of early adolescents, speak to a topic of relevance to them yet have universal appeal to all ages, and initiate discussion and action that may bring about positive change in our school.
This is a tall order! You can't imagine my excitement when I discovered The Revealers.
As I began reading, I was immediately drawn to Russell's angst when he says in the second paragraph, "I wanted people to say, 'Hey Russell! Sit with us!' But I'd open my mouth and what came out would be loud and clanky and wrong. And they would give me that quick, flat, puzzled stare that is the stock weapon of the cool seventh grader and seems to ask, 'What species are you, exactly?' And I would go away thinking I was hopeless."
From that first page on, I knew that this was the book I wanted to use to promote reading and discussion. Doug not only has developed a cast of characters that reflects the middle school population, but he focuses on several driving issues that face early teens every day. I see in this novel a way for students to recognize themselves, recognize others, and recognize the various reasons that a person becomes the perpetrator or victim of bullying. The plot also gives readers an awareness of how school authorities or parents can affect the school climate, and the power that students have to change this. This book has the power to change attitudes and behavior, and that is why it excites me.