Here's what all the
papers and really smart people say about Don't Feed the Bully,
plus a listing of radio stations that I have appeared on and
their web sites:
article. I was interviewed along with
Trudy Ludwig, My Secret Bully, and other experts.
Bullies, Begone! Safe Schools Ambassadors Help Keep
the Peace on Campus. Students can
effectively discourage bad behavior among their peers.
wanted to say "Thank You" for scheduling this video conference
for me; I am
amazed at how much my students love
Brad/book/process! (They wanted to miss
P.E. for the
conference -- I feel like I am in the Twilight Zone). My
students are volunteering to read orally~~simply
Language Arts & Read 180
Here is a recent email that warmed my
heart: "I know it (DFB) changed my boys life.
Being English in a rural American school he was being picked
on most days now he has learnt from the experience by reading
your book. He is a much happier child as he doesnt let any
remarks get to him."
"What amazed me was the participation that
you were able to draw from even our most secluded
personalities. Way to go! ...you have impressed the
socks off of many area agencies that were in attendance (some
by word of mouth) and they plan on incorporating your book in
their libraries and in care packages for their younger
On a personal
note, I wanted to thank you for writing such a great book and
being such a great role model. My son is not the most
eager reader but after listening to your examples, such as the
airport incident, he felt that he had some confirmation on his
own non-violent beliefs. He has even read your book
twice (that's a first) in preparation for his entrance into
high school." Danette Romines Director Goowill
Home of Evansville
“My son (13) loves the
book, thanks! Not only does he have bullying issues, but
it has been very hard to get him to read as well. So
your book has a double benefit for us. I heard you on
WLS Chicago, and I was very
impressed. When my son is done with the book I plan on
reading it as well.
Cheers and thanks for writing this
"Brad presents a
story filled with humor and compassion to help lay out an
approach to bullying that goes beyond "just let them work it
out together," as is often proposed. In the Appendix, he also
offers a practical step-by-step plan to help students use
their intelligence to deal with bullies, similar to the way
the book's main character dealt with his tormentors."
Gary Cassel, flamingnet.com
"If you're tired of
the bully who's making school unbearable for your child, you
might want to heed the words of author/comedian Brad
Tassell:Don't Feed the Bully." Rebecca Courdret,
“I finally got the chance to read Don’t
Feed the Bully. I loved it. I will be looking for
venues for you. I will review it for
IMAGES.” Ginney Burney,
President Indiana Assoc. for the
"Reading just a few pages will get you
hooked. It's about a gifted kid using he great thinking
skills to get to the bottom of a bully
mystery." IMAGES magazine, Ginney
“Don't Feed The Bully is a
quick read that kids will be able to relate to. Important lessons are
taught, but the book still manages to be funny and
entertaining! Even reluctant readers
will enjoy this book, with its fun characters and the mystery
that is the center of the story. To add to the fun,
there are entertaining illustrations by Logan
Sibrel that definitely add to the book. Most of the pictures
are a great addition to the story. Just because there are
pictures doesn't make this a book for little kids, though;
everyone will enjoy this story!” J. Pear, student
reviewer Reviewer Age: 15 Asheville, NC USA
“Don't Feed the Bully is a
humorous story with a very good moral. While the plot is
geared more towards ages 10-12, there was a surprising amount
of extensive vocabulary. The analogies Brad
Tassell writes made me chuckle every time. The plot had great
lessons on how to stop or deter bullying, and that was
amplified by the appendix giving step-by-step explanations
about how to overpower bullies. The book has great
potential, and I think Brad Tassell could make this into a
series . Handy Greatneck might just be the next Encyclopedia
Brown.” JMC, student reviewer
Reviewer Age: 13
Quincy, Pennsylvania United States of America
presents an important message in a very engaging and
entertaining way. Kids will easily identify with
the characters in the story. Teachers and parents
readily find points for discussion with their
young charges. I highly
recommend this book
for use as part of any anti-bullying education
Robert Moore, School Safety
Specialist, North Spencer County School Corporation
"My son and
I heard you yesterday with WLS. I noticed that my son
was real quiet and quite intent on hearing your stories on the
radio." Thanks again, Tom
"Talking to Tassell is like chatting with a
whirlwind. ... Tassell has been
making people laugh for several decades." Marsha Fulmer,
“'Don’t Feed the Bully' has been critically
acclaimed for helping kids become aware of bullying behavior
and solve situations before they become violent. It has won
the Top Choice Award for best teen novel from
Flamingnet.com." Amie Slevin, Noblesville
July 28th I was greeted with nothing but wonderful fans of
the book and a top notch staff at Barnes and Noble in
Bloomington IL. Thanks guys!
Thank you to the WILD
BOOKSTORE for a great event. We sang, we read, we
joked, and we learned how to outwit a few bully
problems. I think they have pictures at www.gotothewild.com. Also,
Ernie and Jane own the store and they are great! Even
through the song I sing about a bully named Ernie? Ouch,
6.50 am WBKO TV,
ABC Bowling Green Kentucky, AM
October 29, 6:00am WTWO
TV, Channel 2 Today show, Terre Haute,
Octover 26, 6:00am cst: AM with the Beamer on WINH-FM, Terre Haute,
october 10, I was on with Gene Gee on psalm99.5
This was a terrific hour of radio.
6:40am Brad is on with MANCOW, since he is the number one
show in the morning in America you know if you can
Sept. 27, 8:25 CST/7:25 MST I will be on Tea Party
Thursday with MO Schumn. It's live on KOGA 930 AM Ogallala,
September 10, I felt
a litte smarter and more cultured after spending an hour with
Victoria on WDVR
FM Princton, NJ. The Low Down.
29, Starting at 6:40 am EST with WOCM's Rude Awakening with Bulldog, John Smith and The Dude.
They are heard up all over the east coast out of Ocean City,
29, 7:30 MDT you can catch me on KGAB the Morning Zone Dave and Amy are legends, and this show is
heard from Cheyenne, Wy to Metro Denver and all over the
29, 8:00pm PST I hit the big time with The ‘X’
Zone Radio Show with host
Rob McConnell which is syndicated internationally on the
TalkStar Radio Network on AM / FM Radio Stations and Satellite
subscribers throughout the US, Canada, the Caribbean, Central
America, South America.
20, 1:00am est. Brad gets the honor of the
year when he appears on the Nationally syndicated late night
Joe Mazza Show.
23rd 12:30 pm est. I will be on the radio in
countries all over the world on Voice of America. The audience
is in the tens of millions. You can also listen by going
to their website by click above.
SATURDAY AUG. 4 10 am est. I
have meet my match with Natalie Emerson who is 14 and
has had her own talk show on WELE
1380 in Daytona for two years. This is one
brilliant young woman. At 14 I was trying to pull my
Stretch Armstrong apart to see what the gooey
This week it's a special on in
ERIE, PA as I am proud to be on MAGNIFY with Msgr. Tom Snyderwine, Pastor of St. Luke
Catholic Church, Listen on
Erie's #1 talk station WJET
1400AM the JET, or click here
for Pastor Tom's
July 30 Brad is on the Dr. G show on KCLU
in Los Angeles
July 30 WPCV
97 in Lakeland Florida
Monday May 14 it's WCCM,
Boston and the Bruce Arnold
April 30, 11:00am est. Do not
miss, the Shauna Rae Show on CJBK 1290 AM, London's favorite
personality. (Ontario that
April 25, 8:30am cst. 99.9
KLUR, in Dallas/Fort Worth, or Whitchita Falls,
please tell me which, is a great show with Trista. (The web site is not
April 26, 8:00am est. WSBS
860AM, is the hometown radio voice of talk out
of Great Barrington, MA. It's LET'S TALK Tom
Jay, he will ask all
the right questions.
4:15pm est. Brad is on WLW 700AM
Cincinnati and Nationwide on XM radio with the Legend of 30
years, GARY BURBANK! This is truly huge, and I you must
check this out.
8:15am est. WOCA 1370AM,
Ocala, Florida is the place to hear me on the Larry Whitler show, with his co-host
Robin. They are nice
6-10am. It's Brad Live on KSPI Stillwater, OK. I am going to ask to be
week for Brad on Denvers top
morning show, Jessie and Shotgun,
(really!) on 92.5 the WOLF.
5:15pm est. it's The
Show with Scott McCall WBNW AM 1120 in Boston. When Scottie knows you,
you've made it! (Really this time!)
April 16, It's a double triple shot on CKNX. First
listen to CKNX 920AM talk and the
morning show with Phil and Scott, then at 9:40 it's over the FM at CKNX The Bull
94.5 with Joey, Drew, and Janice
for the Bull Pen. Finishing
off at 8:00pm that night for a full hour of talk with
Big News! Look for the new copy of IMAGES
Magazine, out now with an article/review by IAG President
Ginney Burney. Here's a
quote, "Reading just a few pages will get you
Hooked!" Check out the Indiana Assoc. for the Gifted
syndicated, on the Mike Dresser Show. ON the
lifestyle network and great radio stations around the
country. This is positive radio at it's
Holland Michigan loves RED Kingman on WHTC, talk 1450AM, and so do I. April
April 11, 6:00pm cst. The home
of the Simpsons greets me in Springfield, at WMAY, and Under
the Dome with Kirk
April 12, 6-10am. It's Brad
Live on KSPI Stillwater, OK. I am going
to ask to be sheriff.
7:15am a great time on 1440AM The KEYS morning show. Rarely do
you find morning show host who care this much about their
community and it's people!
March 21st, begins at 1:00pm
eastern with the Legend Stu Breyer
Norwich, Connecticut. 1310 am
March 21st is a huge day
when you hear me on WDWS 1400AM with talk Master Gary
O'Brien. It's at 4:15pm
March 23rd starts with the
Gary Doyle show on 570 news talk, between 12 noon and
March 27 KLFD 1410
AM with "Aaron in the
Afternoons" in Litchfield MN
March 30 it's CHOK 1070
AM in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. 11:00 am est.
LIVE WITH LEE
March 30 at 1:15 cst.
it's KTRF 1230 AM in Thief River Falls, Minnesota Lee
Brad ON WLS 890 am
Chicago IL, on the
world famous ROE CONN SHOW, (special guest host BILL LEFF) 4:05pm cst. WED. Feb. 28!
Coming up listen for me on 93.5 the
QUAKE with radio legend UNCLE
SCOTTY in the Los Angeles area.
March 13 at 8:10am, WVMT 620 am TALK Featuring
Burlington and Plattsburgh's #1 local morning talk show, Charlie and Ernie!
KKID 92.9 FM's The Breakfast Buzz Morning Show with Val
and The Real Robbie Frish, Tuesday March 13 at
with the fabulous Mat and Lucia,
hopefully be happy when Brad joins the show for a great and
funny interview. Check local listings. Did you have an idea for a game about the digestive
system or be the first to name the bully! email
here! email@example.com And this is a
great and fun book for book reports, buy it
Monday it's a great morning as I am on “Ric and Laura in the Morning” on
B95.5fm Albany, NY.
And you thought it was cold where you are?
heard on the Peter Anthony Holder
800am Montreal Canada click
here to order books!
or email me with questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen Monday Morning
at 8:45am to KBIZ AM1240
for Brad on Mid-Morning Magazine with Mike
Did you Hear me on the
Morning Mess with Scott Thompson? 1570AM Monroe,
Thurday morning March 1, listen to Brad in
on NEWSTALK with Mike Cope 96.9fm News Talk radio
Friday morning March 2, the smartest radio show in the
midwest, Brad live on JT in the
morning on WSBT 960 AM South Bend,
IN. 30 years and still the best in town!
Fighting back with laughter
tells youngsters how to stay safe, avoid bullying
JOANIE BAKER, The Daily News, email@example.com
January 17, 2009 12:27 AM CST
As an adult,
Brad Tassell was bullied - in an airport, when a man
threatened to kill him for cutting in line.
comedian, who performs on cruise ships, took his experience,
added his desire to write a children’s detective novel, and
created “Don’t Feed the Bully.”
On Friday, the
Bowling Green author gave a
serious presentation about bullying to a group of fifth-grade
students at W.R. McNeill Elementary School -
complete with silly songs and simple tactics on what to do
“Bullying is not really that easy to pin
down,” Tassell said. “The goal is to make someone feel bad.
Bullying is trying to hurt someone physically or mentally over
time, it’s not a one-time thing.”
In the novel, written
for students between 10 and 14 years old, a sixth-grade
detective named “Handy” moves to a new school, where he finds
a class that’s put its bully in a cage in the middle of the
Upon further “investigation,” Handy
discovers that another bully is keeping the gargoyle-like
student caged while intimidating everyone around him.
Eventually, Handy teaches the school to take back control
while teaching the reader to identify problems and handle them
Tassell suggested students take away
bullies’ joy by not giving them the reactions they are looking
for in picking at a weakness - and that acting like the
bullying bores them will eventually bore the
The author said he spent two years researching
bullying studies, gradually adding his own experience of what
works and what doesn’t. He now tours the country making comic
presentations about the topic - using a ukulele and songs with
an interesting twist that leaves students having to decide who
the real bully is.
“It’s good to be entertaining, but
there’s got to be something there,” he said. “You’ve got to
change people in a positive way.”
- For more
information about Tassell’s book, visit www.dontfeedthebully.com.
get tips on how to fight bullying
RICHARD NILSEN/The Leader-Herald
November 19, 2008
Author and comedian Brad
Tassell gestures as he speaks to seventh-graders about
bullying Tuesday at the Broadalbin-Perth Middle School gymnasium.
- Comedian Brad Tassell used humor at Broadalbin-Perth Middle School Tuesday to
address a serious problem.
Broadalbin-Perth Central School District hosted
Tassell, who also is an author, in presentations which served
as a kickoff event for the district's anti-bullying campaign.
Tassell, author of the book "Don't Feed the Bully," did
presentations for B-P students in fifth through eighth
said he used humor to get the youths' attention and also to
show that "making fun" can be benign.
know if you are trying to hurt someone," he said to the
seventh-graders in his first session
using music and jokes, Tassell got the children to participate
in his own experiences of being bullied as a child, which he
said he hoped they could then use to combat bullying. He said
how much laughter and how much serious speaking he does in any
session depends on the type of group he is speaking
younger kids, I start by getting them laughing," he said.
"With older kids, I expect they will take on more
responsibility for their actions."
School Principal Wayne
Bell said seventh- and
eighth-grade English teacher Zoe Thompson was responsible for
getting Tassell's book for the students to read and for
bringing Tassell to the school for the
found the book on the Internet and thought it would be
fantastic for the kids," Thompson said. "I was looking for
something on bullying and took what I had to Mr. Bell to get
the conversation moving. He ordered 150 copies for the kids to
read. I love the book."
said she would move on to have a teaching unit on the
the age our students are at, they're often not sure how to
handle situations and things can get out of hand," Bell
said. "Many of them don't really understand what bullying is,
or the effects of bullying. Our students are already receiving
anti-bullying messages from our teachers, so we're hoping that
Mr. Tassell's presentation will grab their attention. We want
to get students and parents talking about this
school Principal Susan Casper agreed.
visit and his anti-bullying message will be an important part
of our character education program," Casper
said. "We already talk a lot about bullying in our classrooms
and in our monthly morning program, and I do see that our
efforts have made an impact. The teachers expect respectful
behavior from all of our students in their interactions with
adults as well as with their peers."
to a news release from the district, Bell and Casper want this to be the
first of many special events that the school hosts as part of
its anti-bullying campaign. The middle school will next
address the topic Tuesday at its Character/Discovery Day,
while the intermediate school regularly discusses character
education in its monthly morning program, which takes place
the first Friday of each month.
more information about Tassell and his book, see www.dontfeedthebully.com
Nilsen is a general assignment reporter and can be reached by
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bullies, Begone! Safe Schools
Ambassadors Help Keep the Peace on Campus
Students can effectively discourage bad behavior among
Earlier this year, when a Texas
high school student started dancing by herself to background
music during a student meeting, some classmates began to taunt
her with whispers, jokes, and laughter. But the bullies
quickly became silent when one of their peers joined the girl,
who was enrolled in the school's special education
"Some snickering started,"
recalls Don Shigekawa, who coordinates safe and drug-free
schools for the Clear Creek Independent School District,
southeast of Houston. "One of our ambassadors got up and
started dancing, and then another one did, and then some other
students did. In that flash of a moment, it turned into an
acceptable thing to do."
Bullying -- from verbal teasing
to physical violence -- isn't a new plight among children, and
it remains pervasive in the United States. According to an
April 2007 study by Stanford University and the Lucile Packard
Children's Hospital, nine out of ten elementary school
students had been bullied by peers and six out of ten had
engaged in some type of bullying in the previous year. A
former high school principal has come up with a proactive
solution to this enormous problem, a fix that's remarkably
effective in schools nationwide: Get kids involved in stopping
The Texas incident is a shining
example of this strategy. The students who stood up for the
girl being taunted were members of Safe School
Ambassadors, an eight-year-old program run by the
California-based Community Matters. To date, 650 schools in
thirty-one states have made use of Safe School Ambassadors,
says the nonprofit organization's founder, Rick Phillips. The
program identifies students in grades 4-12 who are leaders in
their social circles and trains them in constructive ways to
prevent cruelty and violence.
"There are a lot of bystanders
who are afraid to open their mouths because the bullying could
be turned against them," says Phillips, coauthor of the book
Safe School Ambassadors: Harnessing Student Power to Stop
Bullying and Violence. "There's a code of silence. You
have to start with kids who aren't afraid to buck the trend.
They are not always the 4.0-grade-point-average,
student-council kids. They're diverse. They come from all the
Schools choose their ambassadors
based on recommendations from teachers, staff, and sometimes
other students. After they've made the selections, trainers
from Community Matters teach the kids to use nonviolent
communication skills to curb bullying of all types, including
taunting, insults, gossip, harassment, and fighting.
Strategies may be as simple as changing the subject or
distracting the bully. For example, a student might stop an
argument in the bathroom just by giving combatants the helpful
heads-up, "I think someone is coming," whether or not anyone
of authority actually is on the way.
The initial two-day training,
which schools can launch and support with federal Safe and
Drug-Free Schools funding (Title IV of the No Child Left
Behind Act), costs $4,300 for a group of thirty to forty
students and six to eight educators. The fees include training
materials and ongoing coaching and support after the seminar,
Research shows that incidents of
bullying decrease by half when students intervene. Wendy Craig
and Debra Pepler, in their paper "Making a Difference in Bullying,"
found that peers are present for 85 percent of bullying
episodes on campus. Though these bystanders step in only 11
percent of the time, when they do confront the bully, their
chances of stopping the incident are about 50/50. Students
have an advantage over teachers because they are often on the
spot when bullying starts and have the option to act
immediately, Phillips says.
Shigekawa reports that since his
school district established the program in September 2007, he
has seen significant reductions in these areas:
- assaults against students: 24 percent
- assaults against teachers: 60 percent
- weapons-related incidents: 28 percent
- drug- and alcohol-related incidents: 37 percent
- terroristic threats (threats that cause fear) to entire
schools and individuals: 25 percent
Ambassadors meet regularly with one another, teachers,
counselors, and program advisers to discuss incidents they
have witnessed or prevented. To maintain their anonymity and
effectiveness, students are encouraged not to discuss their
efforts with the student body at large. "Students are not
wearing a cap or hat or T-shirt that identifies them as
ambassadors," Phillips says. "We feel it is important that
they operate informally and in the moment. They see and hear
things teachers do not."
Greg Lee, diversity coordinator at the William S. Hart Union High School
District, in Santa Clarita, California, says some
students are reluctant to take part because they fear being
perceived as snitches. Lee explains, "At first, they think
they're going to be asked to be hall monitors. But we're not
asking them to leave their comfort zone or their social
cliques. They're intervening within their comfort zones, with
people they know. When they are informed they were selected
because they are seen as natural leaders or people with
influence within their peer group, they tend to rise to the
Lee concedes that operating in virtual anonymity can be
difficult for some ambassadors, who do not receive extra
credit or public recognition for their good deeds. "It's tough
for some of them to work in the program without regular
recognition. They don't get the kudos that some other student
leaders get -- no yearbook picture, no bulletin board or PA
announcements," Lee explains. "Some love the anonymous aspect
of it, but I see it taking a toll on some others."
The student ambassadors have a lot to be proud of in the
William S. Hart district, which enrolls 25,000 kids in grades
7-12. Lee credits the program, one component of a districtwide
diversity initiative, with helping to reduce incidents related
to cultural and racial insensitivity from fifty-three in
2006-07 to twenty in the school year that just ended. "But
most of our bullying incidents are a result of poor social
skills, not race," notes Lee. "It's socioeconomics and social
cliques, and who fits in and who doesn't."
Melleny Hernandez, a senior in the district, says she
became an ambassador four years ago because she wanted to help
stop bullying. Since then, she's experienced the program's
positive effects. "It's made all the students on campus more
open with each other," adds Hernandez, who sometimes invites
students outside her circle of friends to join their
activities. "We have a lot of different races and groups, and
they don't exclude each other as much."
Hernandez and her peers seem to reflect a larger trend
among students to take antibullying efforts into their own
hands. Although the examples are harder to cite, because they
aren't affiliated with a national program, smaller-scale
efforts are in place. After being asked to write a report
about bullying, a student at Glenbard South High School, in
Glen Ellyn, Illinois, organized a club called Genders Against
Mean Experiences and Situations to promote healthy
relationships and reduce behaviors related to bullying.
As one of the group's efforts, club members meet with
incoming students to talk about bullying and to assure them it
is unacceptable. "It lets those eighth graders know that there
are people they can turn to for help," Assistant Principal Pam
Of course, student involvement of any kind does not
abdicate teachers, administrators, support staff, or parents
from their responsibilities. "Once a crisis is averted, it's
incumbent on adults to make a long-term solution," Lee says,
citing an incident on one high school campus in which a group
of students were staking a claim to specific turf. Teachers
and administrators halted the practice by holding activities
in the same area. The students' "territory" was therefore
appropriated for general use, which sent a message to everyone
that they are welcome anywhere in the school.
Trudy Ludwig, author of My Secret Bully and several
other books about the topic, says adults should also provide
kids with literature that contains empathetic social messages.
"We need to get them to notice bullying -- and to care," she
adds. "We have to educate kids to see that they need to be
part of the solution, not part of the problem. They have the
power to step up and be heroes."
Whether that involves dancing, or starting a club, is
entirely up to them.
Annemarie Mannion is a Chicago-based freelance
bully of a time
Brad Tassel gives West
Navarre students a lesson on being nice
Hundreds of kids bobbed their heads and swayed their arms,
chorusing “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road,” in the
cafeteria at West Navarre Intermediate School.
Author and comedian Brad
Tassel was getting kids warmed up before launching into a
full-on teasing attack.
knows what magic is?” Tassel asked the students.
“Magic is on the inside,”
one child piped up.
that’s medicine,” Tassel said.
Tassel continued asking children a host of questions in
relation to a song, and when they’d give a wrong answer, he’d
offended, but four seconds ago you weren’t,” Tassel said when
the students discovered the point of his exercise.
Using humor, silly songs and
teasing, Tassel addressed a very serious topic — bullying.
His book “Don’t Feed the
Bully,” released in November 2006, tackles the problem in an
amusing way with a mystery angle.
Tassel said he’s looking for a middle ground where
students learn the difference between friendly teasing and
hurtful, malicious bullying.
Through dramatic, silly storytelling about his own youthful
encounters as the bullied or bullier, he illustrates the
difference between crimes, intimidation and teasing.
“I think we can do that with
a little sense of humor and a little common sense,” he said.
When students are in a
bullying situation, he told them to stay calm and assess the
likelihood of violence. He added it was important to develop a
thick skin and a sense of humor.
But he advised that if something persists, write down
the evidence and tell a teacher.
Tassel also reminded students that not everyone is
going to be friends.
don’t have to like everybody, but it doesn’t have to be a
fight,” he said.
in town after docking in Mobile, Ala., this week. He spends
about 15 days a month doing stand-up comedy on a Carnival
cruise ship. Carnival then pays for him to fly to about three
or four school presentations a month.
Navarre’s principal caught Tassel’s act while on a
cruise and invited him to the school.
The students were engrossed
in Tassel‘s presentation and surprised by some elements.
“It’s not just people from
here who get bullied,” said fifth–grader Shakeitha Warren.
Fifth-grader Amanda Koger
said it makes her more mindful of other people’s feelings.
“You don’t want somebody
being hurt,” she said.
News Staff Writer Rachel Kyler can be reached at 863-1111,
CROWN POINT | Students at Taft and Wheeler
Schools are taking a stand against
bullying and learning that the oppression can come in many
The students are participating in
CASS, or Creating a Safe Social Climate -- a program used to
combat bullying. The program began at Taft in January 2006 and
spread to Wheeler when the school opened this
Taft kicked off CASS programs Thursday with a
presentation by author Brad Tassell, who wrote "Don't Feed the
Bullies" and entertained youngsters by playing his ukulele and
recounting personal experiences.
As an eighth-grader,
Tassell said he was small -- about 70 pounds and 4 feet 7
inches tall. He said he decided not to run from bullies and to
stand up to them. He also said he was willing to tell
teachers, his parents or any other adults if he was being
"There was a case where some girls were
beating up another girl on the bus, and do you know where
those girls are at now? In prison, adult prison," he
Taft seventh-graders Adam Kahn and Chris Dietrich
were impressed with the presentation.
"I liked the
stories better than the songs," Dietrich said. "I've seen
bullying, but sometimes they are just goofing
October 12 2007
Comedian offers tips to elementary school
students about how to deal with bullies
Brad Tassell knows what
it’s like to be bullied.
In middle school, he was
small, had curly red hair and wore braces. He wasn’t much of a
victim, though, because he didn’t let cruel comments get to
He also remembers being mean to others and still
feels terrible about some of the hurtful things he
Now a professional comedian and author, Tassell,
42, uses humor and his life experiences to share with students
some of his ideas on how to deal with bullies. He spoke to
West Vigo Elementary students Monday afternoon.
also talked about his book, “Don’t Feed the Bully,” written
for 10- to 14-year-olds.
He told students they don’t
have to like everybody, “But you do have to tolerate
His advice to kids who are bullied is to
stay calm and not give the bullies the reaction they are
looking for. A strong reaction will only encourage the bullies
He also encouraged students to have a
thick skin and a sense of humor, or to just ignore the bullies
and walk away. “Let them know they can’t hurt you,” Tassell
said. “You need to be strong enough to say, ‘I don’t like it
and I’m not taking it.’”
But no violence can be
tolerated, he said. “If you’re being hit or hurt, report it,”
Tassell’s rapid-fire, Robin Williams style of
comedy kept the kids laughing and listening. At times, he
played a ukulele and sang funny songs with a message. Another
time, he pretended to trip over a microphone stand.
one point, he bent his head backward and performed a trick by
“balancing” a ball on his nose. When he stood straight, the
ball stayed in place — adhesive from a glue stick kept the
ball on his nose.
Tassell, who also
is an entertainer with Carnival Cruiselines, met with
West Vigo’s No Bullying Club after school, where students
asked questions and talked about their group. They also
celebrated his birthday with a cookie cake; his birthday falls
Tassell told the No Bully Club members to
be role models for younger children and to stand together as a
group against bullying and “make it uncool” to be cruel to
One member of the club, fifth-grader Abby
Presnell, found it inspiring to hear from an author who wrote
a book about “such a bad yet good subject.” It’s good to talk
about, but bad when bullying happens, she said.
someone is bullied, that student should stay calm and stand
tall, maybe even joke about it, she said.
“If they do
try to hurt us, we can tell [a teacher or adult] … It’s OK to
let people know what’s going on,” Presnell
Fourth-grader Kylie Cardinal also learned that if
you unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings by teasing, “You
should tell them you’re sorry,”
After Tassell left the
school, members of the No Bully Club wrote announcements about
what students should do if they are bullied. They’ll take
turns throughout the year reading the announcements over the
Fifth-grader Sarah VanGilder offered the
following advice to someone who is bullied. “Why should you
take what they are saying? Just walk away.”
But if the
bullying continues several times, “You should report what has
been happening to a teacher or an adult,” VanGilder wrote.
Tyler Massutti, a fourth-grader, advises someone who’s
been bullied to “ignore the bully” or to turn the comments
around and “make a joke” of what the bully says.
someone has a hard time facing a bully, Massutti wrote, “take
a deep breath and take the pain and use power words then walk
Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235
Author cracks up
brings his humor, advice on dealing with bullies to
At John Young Middle School, Brad Tassell was a small
kid with curly red hair and braces -- an easy target for
These days, the 42-year-old author and
comedian is busy promoting his latest book, "Don't Feed the
Tassell, who is originally from Mishawaka and
now lives in Santa Claus, Ind., drew on some of his own
experiences when he wrote the fictional book, which has an
often-humorous message about dealing with
chatted with sixth-graders at Discovery Middle School in
Granger earlier this week.
Prior to Tassell's visit,
every sixth-grader at the school read "Don't Feed the
Kathy Burnette, media specialist at Discovery,
explained the middle school's anti-bullying committee had
searched for a way to integrate anti-bullying-related fiction
into the students' studies as a way to open a dialogue with
them about bullying.
"Mr. Tassell's book is simple and
direct," she said. "The students appreciate
Having the author actually visit the school,
Burnette said, was a great way to put a face with a name and
affirm what they're learning.
addressed groups of sixth-graders in the school's large group
instruction area on Tuesday.
First, he did a bit of
magic and then played his ukulele and sang riddles and let the
students fill in the blanks.
After 20 minutes or so of
laughing and joking around, Tassell asked the kids what he'd
just been doing.
"Teasing," one student finally
"You have to have fun," he told the
kids, "but know where the line is."
If someone hurts
your feelings, he said, tell them.
"They might be a
jerk or they might apologize."
Tassell recalled his
days at John Young and how he himself was bullied, but also
took part in bullying another student, a kid with green
In response to the kids' teasing, Tassell said,
"Green Teeth would give us four shows a day."
experiences taught Tassell three things about dealing with
First off, stay calm, he told the Discovery
students. Don't give the bully the reaction he or she is
Secondly, assess the likelihood of
Finally, he said, have a thick skin and a
sense of humor.
Tassell told the students that though
he'd been bullied himself throughout the years, he also
regrets the bullying he dished out.
"You don't have to
like everybody," he said. "But, you do have to tolerate
Tassell ended the talk with a
question-and-answer session with the students.
updated them on his next book, which is in the works and will
be about Internet predators.
It's called "The
Predator's Web" and will feature the characters from "Don't
Feed the Bully."
Staff writer Kim
Comic/author slated, Indianapolis
star April 8, 2007
Brad Tassell will put in an
appearance for his book "Don't Feed the Bully" at 2 p.m. April
14 at the Wild bookstore in Noblesville.
"I'm a comedian, so I can't
just do a book signing," says Tassell, who lives in Santa
Claus, Ind. "I do songs, I do comedy, I get 'em
Tassell describes his book, a
mystery with step-by-step lessons on how to deter bullies, as
being in the vein of early "Lemony Snicket."
He'll be at the Wild, 884
Logan St., on the Noblesville town square. Call the store at
(317) 773-0920 or see www.dontfeedthebully.com.
|Comedy to come to
April 2007 |
|Writer and comedian to sign
By Amie Slevin
National comedian Brad Tassell will appear at The
Wild in Noblesville to promote his book “Don’t Feed the
Tassell will be at the Noblesville book store 2 p.m.
“Don’t Feed the Bully” has been critically acclaimed
for helping kids become aware of bullying behavior and
solve situations before they become violent. It has won
the Top Choice Award for best teen novel from
The book is described as a fictional detective story,
in which a male student solves the problem to why his
school is taken over by a bully. It includes step by
step lessons on how to prevent bullying situations.
“I believe kids can overcome their problems in four
steps,” said Tassell. “Staying calm, assessing the
likelihood of violence, having a thick skin and a sense
of humor, and collecting evidence.”
A 19-year veteran of comedy, Tassell has appeared
with widely known comedians such as Larry the Cable Guy,
Jeff Foxworthy and Tim Allen. He still entertains at
schools around the U.S. and presents at educational
conferences. He resides in Santa Claus, Ind.
For more information about his local appearance,
contact The Wild at (317) 773-0920.
Comedian has last word about
JEREMY D. BONFIGLIO
is a bit of an enigma. He plays the ukulele, once toured as a
mime, and is a coveted stand-up comic for club gigs and
So becoming a children's book author must have
seemed like the next logical step.
"I always wanted to
write a Sam Spade-type detective story," Tassell says by
telephone from his home in Santa Claus, Ind. "I
guess this is it."
The "it" Tassell refers to is
his new book, "Don't Feed the Bully," which he'll discuss
Saturday at the Barnes & Noble in Mishawaka.
pages of kid-friendly prose teaches kids how to "outwit the
bullies" in everyday life -- a message that, at first glance,
may seem a bit odd coming from a stand-up
"I know what it's like to truly
hurt someone through words," Tassell says. "I still feel
terrible about the things I have said to people."
words, Tassell says, weren't part of his act but part of his
own childhood experience growing up in Mishawaka.
the biggest kid in the sixth grade," Tassell says. "If you
were alone, he would yell at you and push you, just frighten
you to death. But, if we all stayed together, we would just
destroy this kid. So I guess I've known both
Geared toward preteen boys, "Don't Feed the
Bully," illustrated by Logan Sibrel, follows Hannibal
Greatneck III. Handy, as he is known to friends, is both a
sixth-grade student and an amateur sleuth. When he walks into
William B. Travis Elementary School, he
discovers a cage in the middle of a classroom. The school has
dealt with its bully problem by handing over all the power to,
well, another bully. Handy must uncover clues and outwit the
villains to give back control of William B. Travis to the
students and faculty.
Tassell, perhaps best known as
one-third of the stand-up comic troupe the Hoosier Dads
alongside Kevin Burke and Dave Dugan, became interested in
writing the book after reading more contemporary, adult
"I read something that said laughing is a
form of bullying," Tassell says. "I'm a comedian. I don't want
kids growing up thinking you're degrading someone by laughing.
If you look at all the adult solutions, none of them even
address what kids are scared about."
according to Tassell, is getting "beaten to death."
most cases, kids aren't going to be physically hurt," Tassell
says. "If they are, then there are other steps to take, but if
we're talking about words, it's important that kids know
there's nothing anyone can say that can change who they
"Don't Feed the Bully" is filled with lessons
aimed at building self-esteem, while it teaches kids that
remaining calm and having a sense a humor often can stop
bullies in their tracks.
That doesn't mean, however,
that you can't make fun of your friends from time to time.
"Remember when you were 12 and you'd get together with
your buddies?" Tassell says. "Think about the things you would
say to each other. You weren't trying to hurt each other, you
were having fun."
And that, Tassell says, is ultimately
what it's all about.
with fresh comedy and music
By MaryAnn Kromer
Writer, advertiser-tribune, Tiffin, OHIO April 21,
The author said his
is to promote reading and literacy, as well as values.
Tassell said he often
speaks for school classes, teachers,
libraries and parents' groups.
"I do a show. I can't just
sign books. I do a little magic trick, play
jokes and we talk about the book," Tassell said.
book, "Don't Feed the Bully," was released in November 2006.
winner of the Top Choice Award for best teen novel, its
sales have jumped to
the top three percent with Barnes and
Noble. Tassell said he has done a lot
of traveling to
market the book, which has received good reviews.
said the humorous detective novel is aimed at young people in
school and junior high, but its timely bullying
theme has universal appeal.
The author believes everyone
has dealt with bullies in some fashion or at
some time in
his or her life. Tassell has included ideas and examples
dealing with bullies. Tassell said his comedy routine
addresses bullying but
mostly from a parent's point of
"I'm getting on adults about what we do. We're huge
bullies. We'll drive to
McDonald's and when they take the
pickle off our hamburgers, we'll scream at
them like they
murdered our family," Tassell said. "Our kids are seeing
every day, adults everywhere, not only yelling and
everything they're not getting Š but we
will not let anybody apologize any
example, Tassell spoke about political candidates and office
who are researched, grilled and hated for
everything they ever did. He has a
theory that a lot of
kids he grew up with were bullies because their
were so domineering. He believes they brought a
dominant attitude with them
into the classroom and modeled
their own behavior on what they saw their
Now they have their own kids and are perpetuating the
cycle of bad behavior.
He said his book encourages its
readers to look at themselves and change
their ways. He
offers practical suggestions, such as remaining calm
using humor to defuse tense situations. These tips can
be used by people of
all ages in many everyday
"We will not forgive anybody and our kids are
seeing this, right along the
line Š We're all now doing
this, and kids feel entitled to scream and yell
everything," Tassell said. "My daughter will never see me
a jerk. I will never do that in front of her,
because I don't want her to be
that way. I want her to know
that you deal with things by being kind. If
people are mean
and awful, you move on."
against bullying among our children
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Sharon M. Smith
It's found on the playground, in the
hallways, and sometimes in the classroom, but usually when the
teacher is looking away. Bullying is a serious problem in the
schools and, Brad Tassell adds in his book "Don't Feed the
Bully," that "everybody is bullied in his or her life." It is
quite a sobering comment revealing that the problem has weaved
itself throughout the generations.