Review of ‘To This Day: For the bullied and the beautiful’
I’ve been meaning to review slam poet, Shane Koyczon’s powerful, must-have book, ‘To This Day: For the bullied and the beautiful’ for ages now, but when I gifted the book to one of Eden Riley’s children, I realized that, as a slam poet herself, she was the best person to review this book! How does one introduce Eden Riley as a guest reviewer? Writer. Artist. Poet. Performer. Mother. Stepmother. Survivor. Rarely does anyone write with such truth and such beauty of the pain and the joy of life. Eden and I are so very different in so many ways but we are bonded by grief and loss and words, beautiful words.
‘To This Day: For the bullied and the beautiful’. Written by Shane Koycsan. Illustrated by Carol Adlam.
Click on title link or cover image to purchase.
Megan Daley gives my children books. She thoughtfully picks them out according to their ages and what she thinks they would like. After a particularly difficult year Megan has started to make me read to them again and be conscious of more books in the house. As a kid I read and read and read, devouring books like icing. Oh the worlds I went to, just sitting in my own bedroom! The simple act of reading a book was, is, and always will be, magic.
Yesterday I had set up a cool lounge area for Megan and her family to come and swim and eat lunch at the hotel I’m staying at. As we were waiting so long (because I got there early to get the BEST position) I said to the boys, hey, let’s read this together. Megan had given it to one of my sons for Christmas.
So we sat under the shade with my six year old in the middle of my thirteen-year old and I and when he started to read it I immediately started to tear up. These fluid, soulful, beautiful, heart-wrenching words about being different and being bullied read so innocently by a little boy.
This book took my breath away. Incredible. Perfect for anyone of any age. It made me feel, it stirred both my boys and we had an amazing conversation about it. I was bullied terribly when I was a child and I hate to admit it but sometimes at some of the many schools I went to – I was a bully. I’m ashamed of that. I abhor bullying in all of its intricate, subtle, heartbreaking ways. I’m hyper-vigilant about how my children treat each other.
My thirteen year old said the book was really effective “because of the way the words were used, the pictures, and how we don’t actually really stop and realise the pain there is in bullying.”
Shane is 38 years old and from Canada. It’s painfully obvious how such intense bullying has affected Shane for his entire life. It’s beautifully obvious how he has now grown a voice so big and strong that now he is inspiring and helping and reaching people all over the world. I bet his words have saved lives. Shane has written other books and is also a slam poet. I LOVE HIM.
Check out the clip below and you can also see Shane’s TED talk on this project here.