Brief Overview

End Peer Cruelty, Build Empathy by Michele Borba, Ed.D. shares in detail helpful insights on the topic of bullying, based on years of field and evidence- based research.

As a globally recognized educational psychologist and an expert in character development and bullying prevention, Borba’s aim is to strengthen children’s empathy and resilience and break the cycle of youth violence (Source: Free Spirt Publishing).

She involves the students, families, educators and even the community to help in the mission to pursue the mission of their namesake, to end peer cruelty and to build empathy. There are plenty of helpful guides and scenarios played out in different ways for everyone to relate to; not just one scenario, along with one set of solution.

Quotes from real children are shared from their perspective, giving the audience an inside scoop of how they feel in their words, in their shoes.

The Brave Staff Chat snippets provide antidotes on what real teachers say they notice in schools (such as why students may choose not to report bullying or gives ideas on how to engage staff — many ideas for professional development)

Helpful charts and questionnaires are listed throughout the book that can be printed and passed out to parents, teachers and staff.

This book also comes with a Book Study Guide at for those who may want to do it as part of their professional development.


After reading this book, I now realize that bullying happens more often than we’d think in schools.

I had a bullying experience in middle school.

My brother shared stories of being bullied in his elementary school bathroom when he was just in 3rd grade.

It would seem that any person you come in contact was either the bullied, the bystander or even the bully at one point at one point in their lives. Everyone can make a difference in someone life.

Last fall, I was elected to be on my child’s school leadership team. The School Leadership Team (SLT) is a group of people who develop educational policies for their school. They also make sure there are resources to support those policies.

As both an educator and parent, the most important thing for me was to find ways to make kids feel safe in school. When kids feel safe, they are more receptive to learning and feel safe to be expressive and show who they are. And naturally, as someone who’s been bullied in my younger years and now as a mama bear and someone’s whose teaching and life philosophy is grounded on empathy, one of the first topics I asked the team about was about bullying.

I was told that my daughter’s school did have a program in place aimed to reduce bullying. I was happy to hear that the program was found to be effective; and that fights and aggressiveness had decreased, over the past few years.

Free Spirit Publishing knew I was looking into even more ways to impact/reduce bullying and was kind enough to send me this book for review.

It is remarkable that Borba takes into great consideration, the varying personalities of children and gives suggestions for say, what a shyer child could say or do to help someone who is being bullied, such as drop their belongings so that the crowd around the bullied child, will be redirected; as well as give suggestions on what a more verbal child can do to help a child being bullied, like simply stating the truth by saying to the bully, that he/she is hurting so and so.

She covers anything and everything that is bully related from signs that a child might be bullied, to where it often occurs, how to create a safe zone for students, how to make reporting more available and effective, how to get the parent and community involved in  the school’s anti -bullying policy (she even provides an example of a real school’s anti-bullying policy for reference) and signs to look that can make a child more prone to being bullied or being a bully; as well as the effects bullying (as both victim and/or bystander) can have on children and how it can potentially lead the child into more problems in adulthood. She even makes several children/teen book recommendations for children in primary school and middle school and documentaries that schools can show for professional development.

The tips for administrators, educators and counselors points them to the next steps they can take to effectively prevent or reduce bullying.

There are also several sections that include Parent Involvement and how they can and should be a part of bullying prevention at their child’s school. Hints are also given to parents on how to tell if their child may be bullied and samples of bullying forms that they too can fill out at home.

My favorite part of the book may just be the part where Borba gives the bullied the power to stand up to bullies by giving them strategies they could work on from staying cool, appearing assertive, to using coping skills to develop social skills and more.

These methods can also help anyone, despite their age, in bullying situations.

This book was immensely helpful, thorough, easy to understand; and empowers everyone who interact with children. It is filled with every thing a school would need to know to prevent or reduce bullying! The numerous print outs and charts alone make this book worth getting.


As a proud Free Spirit Publishing Influencer, I am happy to say you can now get 15% OFF your entire order with code HOPSCOTCH, whenever you order from their website! They also offer a ton of free helpful posters of their website as well you can print out and use for your classroom or school (I’ve shared a few of them to the principal at my daughters’ school– so feel free to let your school administrators/teachers know about their free wonderful resources).

Disclaimers: Free Spirit Publishing offered this book to me as part of their influencer program. All thoughts are my own. I am a big advocate for the books they publish that help strengthen and grow children’s socio-emotional skills. Hopscotch Mom is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.


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