“And if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror. Look a little closer. Stare a little longer. Because there’s something inside you that made you keep trying despite everyone who told you to quit.”
― To This Day: For the Bullied and Beautiful
To This Day: For the Bullied and Beautiful
by Shane Koyczan
An authentic rallying cry for anyone who has been affected by bullying. In February 2013, Shane Koyczan’s passionate anti-bullying poem “To This Day” electrified the world. An animated video of the lyric narrative went viral, racking up over 12 million hits to date and inspiring an international movement against bullying in schools. Shane later performed the piece to sustained applause on the stage of the 2013 annual TED Conference.
Now this extraordinary work has been adapted into an equally moving and visually arresting book. Thirty international artists, as diverse as they are talented, have been inspired to create exceptional art to accompany To This Day. Each page is a vibrant collage of images, colors and words that will resonate powerfully with anyone who has experienced bullying themselves, whether as a victim, observer, or participant.
Born of Shane’s own experiences of being bullied as a child, To This Day expresses the profound and lasting effect of bullying on an individual, while affirming the strength and inner resources that allow people to move beyond the experience. A heartfelt preface and afterword, along with resources for kids affected by bullying, make this book an invaluable centerpiece of the anti-bullying movement.
To say that I’m a fan of Shane Koyczan would be an understatement. Each school year I change things up. I improve upon how I begin my year and what resources I expose my students to. The one thing that does not change is showing To This Day
by Shane Koyczan. It is a power slam poem that I find to be poignant and my students love it. If you haven’t watched it yet you have to watch it. You can click here
to check it out. My students ask to watch it multiple times throughout the year and many of them choose to watch it independently. I recently had a student tell me that their sibling still talks about it and rewatches the video despite it being 4 years since they were in my class. So, I knew I had to pick up the illustrated edition. I’m excited to introduce it to my classroom library.
“To This Day” as a poem on it’s own is extremely touching. It gives voice to many individuals that felt voiceless and marginalized in school. It gives a voice to the underdog that is raw and emotional. No matter what someone’s status is in life this poem is still impactful by bringing insight into other’s experiences. That is critical. We need to ensure that everyone has a voice. This poem helps with that.
This illustrated copy of this powerful poem is amazing. The foreword by Shane Koyczan adds another layer to this already meaningful poem. Also, the images are vibrant and raw. It’s incredible to see each illustrator’s interpretation of the tone of the poem and the imagery within it. Going into the book I already knew this poem. I knew what the text was going to bring. However, I really underestimated how powerful the images within the book would be. The animation within the original video is amazing. Yet, these illustrations in this book still manages to bring something beautiful and different.
Another wonderful component of this illustrated edition is it includes the story behind the poem, anecdotes of the illustrator’s experiences with bullying, and resources for students. The list of resources offers things like free counseling for students, toolkits for educators, and information on how to prevent bullying. This offers a subtle way to show students that may be experiencing these issues a way to receive help without bringing notice to themselves. That is an amazing feature of this book.
In all, I would love to recommend this book to anybody and everyone. I think everyone could benefit from reading this poem.
Are you a fan of slam poetry? Who are some of your favorite poets?