Review of ‘To This Day: For the bullied and the beautiful’

Home » 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. 

Thanks Eden!

to-this-day

‘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.

To This Day

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.

“So broken heart strings bled the blues
as we tried to empty ourselves
so we would feel nothing
Don’t tell me that hurts less than a broken bone
that an ingrown life
is something that surgeons can cut away
that there’s no way for it to metastasize.

IT DOES.”

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. 

Me (L) and Eden (R).

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11 Comments

  1. edenland on Dec 28, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Thank you for the opportunity, Megan. This book is SPECIAL. Amazing.

    We were enthralled at the pictures, the fonts – everything. You’ve made me love books again! It’s a Christmas miracle, cookie!

    I hope I might get to meet Shane one day.

    XX

    • Megan Daley on Dec 28, 2014 at 8:41 am

      Thank YOU Eden! Of COURSE you’ll meet Shane one day…and Bono.

      • edenland on Dec 30, 2014 at 8:55 am

        You know I decided to meet Bono when he was in Sydney so I did? Waited for five hours, introduced myself, shook his hand … SAID STUPID THINGS

  2. Helen on Dec 28, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Shane did a TED talk on ‘To This Day’ – I was left absolutely reeling by the end. Utterly amazing. Thank you for the review – I hadn’t realised there was a book available. Off to put in an order now!

    • edenland on Dec 30, 2014 at 8:54 am

      I didn’t know he did a TED talk on it, will have to have a look Helen!

  3. Maxabella on Dec 29, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Shane’s TED talk tool up residence in a little humby shack in my soul and will never leave. He’s got an empathy with the whole world. Someone like Shane defines courage to me. I’ll be getting this book for a Big Read at our place too. I can’t believe I didn’t know this book existed until now. Do you think it will help make bullying go away? Wouldn’t that be so wonderful? Maybe even better than solving climate change. x

    • Megan on Dec 29, 2014 at 9:17 am

      Yep that TED talk was blow your socks off amazing wasn’t it? I was so so so stoked when I found this book…cause now I can have the physical book in my house (and library!) to pick up and read and re read all the time. I must watch that TED talk again actually.

    • edenland on Dec 30, 2014 at 8:51 am

      I love your comment Bron … wouldn’t it be good if bullying went away. I don’t think it will because hurt people always hurt people so people gotta stop hurting people! But sitting on that couch having a discussion with my kids about it was huge – reading it with them made such an impact. I’m ALWAYS banging on to them about helping, watch out for people being bullied, and to NOT bully people.

      Solving climate change – man we need to GET ONTO THAT xxxx

  4. Debs on Jan 1, 2015 at 9:47 am

    I’m new to both this book and the TED talk so will definitely be investigating both. Thanks! I find kid literature can be so powerful and we need books like this available so that we can start these discussions with our children. There is something about someone else’s words in print validating our own thoughts or feelings or giving us a perspective on others that is really meaningful. Adding this to my “must read” list. xo

  5. Megan Forward on Jan 16, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Thank you for the review of ‘To This Day’. I recently found out a young person I know is cutting herself and being bullied etc in high school. I have been wondering what I can do to help. I have invited her and her mum over for dinner to reconnect and strengthen her support network. This book sounds like it might help, so after reading your review I went and ordered it. I’m going to see if it’s appropriate to put into her hands, I’ll play it by ear. In the meantime, I plan to read it with my older son so we can explore this issue together. My husband has a role in training for school chaplains, so I plan to show it to him also as a good resource text in this context. Thanks again for bringing it to my attention. Regards, Megan.

    • Megan Daley on Jan 16, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      I think it will be a great resource for both your friends child AND your husband. I have a few friends who are school chaplains and this is the sort of book they will often use. Megan

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