June 8, 2021 - Graphic Novel, Reviews
Author: Svetlana Chmakova
Publisher: JY

While the graphic novel Brave, by Svetlana Chmakova, talks about the experience of one child being bullied for being “nerdy,” the effects of bullying for any reason can be detrimental to an individual (and potentially their loved ones). I’m sure it can be defended that bullying is not a human rights issue—it is merely kids being kids and innocent comments made to peers. While I believe kids should have a little more leniency, and that some jokes can give you tough skin, to a certain degree I believe bullying can be extremely dangerous to our society. At this point we know well enough to say racism, homophobia, and other forms of intolerance are taught not born into us. Specifically, many things children would say I would confidently call a microaggression if it came out of an adult’s mouth. This novel (as well as Awkward, also by Chmakova) shows the negative effect bullying can have on a child’s state of mind, possibly leading to depletion of self-esteem, depression, or other negative physiological consequences. Further, I see bullying as the small first steps that have helped maintain the horrific treatment of our fellow citizens. We have faced traumatic events as a society because of bullying, not limited to school shootings and suicides which are the most heartbreaking. Equally important, if children are allowed to believe that bullying is okay and making “jokes” about someone’s weight, race, class, etc., is acceptable, we are silently teaching them intolerance and that putting people down is acceptable. Graphic novels do a wonderful job of making information more accessible and I firmly believe access to knowledge should be granted to children as overwhelmingly as we can provide it. Children are more susceptible to change and therefore will be the ones to incite it in society if they are given the resources to do so. To bring my review full circle, I think both of these graphic novels accurately portrayed bullying, which I absolutely think is one societal illness we must continue to combat if we are ever going to all be treated equally. It hurts me to see people be treated poorly because of their differences, but it terrifies me to know this poor treatment is killing innocent people every single day (especially when children are involved).
—Cameryn Scali, CMRD101 Fall 2020