Huntington Beach Group's official kick-off to coincide with National Bullying Prevention Month in October
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., (MMD Newswire) September 21, 2012 -- HBReads (www.hbreads.org), a Huntington Beach-based not-for-profit organization that promotes diversity through reading, today announced its annual featured book campaign will focus on bullying, which is vividly portrayed in Author Jay Asher's best-selling novel about teenage suicide - "Thirteen Reasons Why".
"Following our successful HBReads promotion of Temple Grandin's story about how she overcame her own and society's obstacles of being autistic, it seems appropriate that we draw the attention of students and adults alike to the growing problem of bullying," said Fred Provencher, HBReads chair.
He notes that it is well-documented that two-thirds of all children with autism have been victims of bullying. In addition, teenage suicide and hate crime rates are at record levels as cultural diversity widens (experts predict that by the year 2020, almost half of the U.S. school population will consist of members of non-caucasion cultural groups.)
Leading up to Asher's personal appearances March 21-22, HBReads plans several special events to illustrate the importance of understanding the repercussions bullying has on young people, both the victims and the perpetrators.
The official campaign kick-off will begin with a 7 p.m. reception Oct. 10 at the Huntington Beach Central Library, followed by a series of discussions, a film series and an art walk (time and dates to be announced later).
"Thirteen Reasons Why", which will be encouraged reading in Huntington Beach schools, consists of a series of transcripts of audiotapes recorded by 16-year-old Hannah Baker before she committed suicide. Included are the reactions of a high school classmate who listens to them. The tapes reveal 13 separate anecdotes about classmates whose actions the girl blames for her death.
The book was on The New York Times children's books best-seller list and has been published in 29 countries. According to one Barnes & Noble executive, "Kids like to read about situations that are worse than theirs and figure out that 'O.K., my life isn't so bad."
HBRead's announcement to emphasize the prevention of bullying follows last month's action by the Huntington Beach City Council to support local and statewide legislative efforts to prevent bullying through education and to ban the behavior in the city's schools.
Joe Dagley, chairman of the Huntington Beach Human Relations Task Force and member of HBReads, said a task force report on bullying in the city revealed that nearly one third of students involved in bullying are either the aggressor or the victim, which is consistent with the national average. He said more awareness events and a citywide reporting system are planned to quell the growing problem.
About HBReads (www.hbreads.org)
Huntington Beach Reads One Book (HBReads) is a not-for-profit organization formed in 2007 to invite readers in Huntington Beach - adults, students and families - to learn about the diversity of people, cultures and to discuss new perspectives. It introduces them to authors and sponsors a variety of programs that share the art, music, food and experiences of the story. Each year the group selects one book to be read and discussed at the same time by the entire community. HBReads is endorsed by the HB City Council, the Human Relations Task Force and the Huntington Beach Library board of trustees and its corporate sponsors include the Kiwanis International of Huntington Beach and Boeing Corporation. Address: 419 Main St., Ste. 38, Huntington Beach, Calif. Phone: (714) 497-3237. Website: www.hbreads.org.