In preparation for National Bullying Awareness Month this October, Devine hopes her books can help children everywhere respect one another
Victoria Devine is a teacher from Voorhees with a passion, like many in her profession, to help students and children as much as possible. She deals mostly with younger kids, teaching at an elementary school, and has seen and heard of plenty of bullying.
She hopes to be able to teach as many kids as possible about something that much of the world struggles with — celebrating each others’ differences, such as height, weight, skin color, culture and other characteristics rather than making fun of them.
“We don’t even think about the repercussions afterwards [of our words] and that’s the problem,” said Devine. “I’ve seen a bunch of children grow up through the years where they have carried the weight of what the bully has done to them forever, they won’t forget it. Because there are some things they may not be able to change. It’s whatever, it’s their genes, they didn’t ask for that. But that’s the stuff that sticks with them.”
Devine has written three children’s books, with her most recent having been published this past March, titled “Sparky’s Bully Workshop.” In this book, Sparky the Golden Retriever, after being an elf in Devine’s first book, returns as a professor teaching kids their ABC’s, being assertive, bold and confident.
The book is written in rhyme, to make it a quicker and more fun read for kids, however she makes sure to use words younger children may need explained by parents reading to them to help start a conversation about why bullying isn’t OK and how it affects others.
“If you have something nice to say, say it, but if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” said Devine. “That old saying literally sticks in my mind as the key to all of this bullying.”
Each book has taken approximately three years to write, spanning nearly a decade for Devine thus far in her career as a published author.
However, she doesn’t stop with simply writing these books. Devine has traveled up and down the East Coast, with most of her appearances around the South Jersey area, making appearances at schools or other events to read her books and perform events to teach kids about bullying as well.
“I see a lot of bullying in school. If you sit with a bunch of second graders, they’re only 7 or 8 years old, and ask them if they’ve ever been bullied or witnessed bullying, I would say about 95 percent of them would raise their hands.”
Devine also uses her books to help create lesson plans for students in her classroom and others across the country on her website. This way, students can both build up their own self-esteem and confidence, while also learning and understanding the value of respecting others at the same time.
Her books can be found at www.victoriadevine.com, and are available for purchase online on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.