My daughter was cyberbullied for being chubby in middle school by a girl she truly thought was her friend. My son was shoved in the hallways and called a fag in middle school and high school. I, myself, was bullied in the third grade by a boy who had a sick puppy love crush on me. He would smack me on the playground almost every day and then call me at home and ask me if I liked him. The teachers told me to just ignore him. I couldn’t. I still remember his first and last name. Most formerly tormented people do.
The cartoons that syndicated cartoonist, Stephanie Piro, and I produce about cyberbullying and bullying visually illuminate the pain of bullying and the reactions of bystanders, parents, and teachers. They are our powerful way of showing the many aspects of bullying including kids killing themselves to escape it. We want it to end, and this is our way of doing it. These cartoons show people they are not alone in what they are going through. We have 100 of them…. so far.
I have also written some about the positive things that individuals and schools are doing to prevent and end bullying in their own and others’ lives. I hope to write more of those as I read more and more about what is being done.
Our brand, Compassionate Cartoons, began with poignant cartoons about divorce and death from both the child and adult perspectives. I was working at a nonprofit, Rainbows for All Children, that helps children who are grieving due to divorce and death, while going through my own divorce. I was inspired to write these after seeing how many kids were helped by talking to other kids about their grief and journaling about their feelings. The bullying cartoons were a natural offshoot to those first efforts to capture strong emotions in a drawing with a caption.
Stephanie Piro and I have been working in the cartooning world for over 25 years creating mostly humorous cartoons for many publications. Stephanie is the artist, and I have been a freelance gag writer (ghost writer) for many cartoonists over the years. Compassionate Cartoons, however, are our most meaningful work.
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Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your Compassionate Cartoons with my readers. I think they are amazing and it is true – how few words and a picture can speak volumes.
Recently Compassionate Cartoons was able to help youth understand that no matter who you are, every body is a bathing suit body. A great post about body image.