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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Interview with Aija Mayrock, teen author of The Survival Guide to Bullying

I'm not going to lie, I find it endlessly impressive when a teen not only writes a book, but sees it all the way to publication; that's a pretty huge feat in itself, so I can't even imagine the determination it would take while still dealing with high school. I find it even more impressive when teens are active and passionate advocates for change, and when you combine those two, you pretty much have my stamp of approval.
Aija Mayrock is one of those teens, who saw an issue that needed addressing, and then poured herself into addressing it.  Her book, The Survival Guide to Bullying, is based off of her own experiences, and was picked up by Scholastic; the newly revised edition has just been released, and Aija has dropped in to chat with us a bit about writing the book, some behind the scenes in bringing it to a larger audience, and some tips for those who are dealing with bullying themselves.
Check it out below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments!

A lot of kids and teens will write or journal to deal with bullying and depression, as a general coping mechanism, but clearly not a lot of kids and teens end up getting published; tell us a bit about the decision to seek publication, what the process was like, and generally how it all came about.

Since I was 16 years old, I knew I wanted to write a book to help kids deal with bullying. I decided to create the book that I never had, but always needed. I wanted to get it into kids hands as soon as possible, so I self published it in October 2014. One month later, Scholastic found it and acquired it. And now it’s out in the world! It’s my dream come true.

Following up on that, you also recorded the audiobook for it, so tell us a bit about what that was like. Was it ever something you thought you'd do? What was it like to hear your words, in your own voice, played back for you?

I loved it! It was an incredible experience. Audiobooks really bring books to another dimension and I’m so grateful to have been able to record my own audiobook.

Because of the easy availability of the internet and various apps now, we've really entered a new age of bullying, where it can be prolific (even viral & international), inescapable, and anonymous. How do we even begin to tackle bullying in this new, relentless form? And how do we prepare kids and teens for it, and/or teach them not to contribute to it?

It used to be that kids were bullied at school, but would then come home and be safe. That’s not the case anymore. With the Internet and social media, bullying is 24/7. It’s, as you said, inescapable. It’s a stepping stone process and it won’t be fixed overnight. To begin, parents should have open dialogues with their kids about the power of the Internet. WHATEVER you post stays on the Internet FOREVER. This can effect your future job and career! Additionally, there are now laws in some states that consider cyber bullying a crime which means that cyber bullies can actually be arrested and charged. Even though kids might feel invincible behind their computer, they aren’t. This conversation needs to be had.

For readers that are being cyber bullied or feel they might be cyber bullied, I have so many tips in my book that talk about privacy, handling bullying situations online, and going dark or semi dark. “YOU are your OWN Number 1 priority."

Can you give some of your top tips for:
- kids and teens dealing with bullying?
- adults who suspect their children/students are being bullied?
- general people who want to help fight it?

Kids and Teens dealing with bullying: Never go through this alone. This is a scary and confusing time. I know it’s hard to communicate with your parents, but find someone to communicate with. Like I say in my book, create your TOP 5 list of people you love and trust. Go to each one of those people and tell them what’s going on and seek their help.

Adults Who Suspect Their Kids/Students Are Being Bullied: It’s not kids being kids. It’s a real problem that effects 13 million American kids a year. And the effects of bullying carry on into adulthood. Talk to your kid/student and be there for them. Help them find the ways to take charge of this situation and change it for the better. It won’t be easy and it won’t happen right away - so stand by them throughout the whole journey.

General People: When you see bullying, intervene. 50% of the time when a bullying situation is intercepted, that kid being bullied will never be bullied again. If you aren’t going to be exposed to any of that, then educate yourself more on what is going on throughout the world. There are many organizations to get involved with or even ways to volunteer at hotline centers. These kids will grow up to be the future leaders, innovators, and talent of our country - we must take care of them.

Thanks for chatting, Aija!


The Survival Guide to Bullying by Aija Mayrock
Get It | Add It
Non-fiction, 160 pages
Expected publication: August 25th 2015 by Scholastic Inc.
"One day I realized that I had to create a little, yet powerful survival guide that any kid could use as a life-saving device when they were being bullied in the gym, the cafeteria, the locker room, the hallways - anywhere. A guide that could help any kid dry their tears and put a half smile on their face. A guide that could convince a kid to come out of the bathroom stall that they have locked themselves in and see the flickering light at the end of the tunnel. A guide that could be a road map, a flashlight, or a friend." - The Survival Guide to Bullying.

Aija Mayrock, a 19-year-old girl, offers a fresh perspective on bullying. In her book, "The Survival Guide to Bullying" - written by a kid for a kid, Aija offers support, guidance, and direction to her reader.

Aija, herself was bullied in middle school and part of high school. She shares with her reader the different approaches and strategies that helped her survive and thrive. Aija writes about how to handle bullying, cyber bullying, dealing with fear, personal safety, and ultimately creating the life that you dream of having.

From inspiring Roems (rap/poems), Survival Tips, personal anecdotes and quick quizzes, this book is an easy guide to light the way to a brighter future for teenagers.

Aija handles the issue of bullying with great sensitivity and a fresh perspective. She speaks the same language as her peers, making the book very relatable for kids and teens.

Aija Mayrock is a 19-year-old girl who experienced bullying firsthand. Instead of letting her experiences break her down, she channeled her positive energy into writing and self-publishing The Survival Guide to Bullying, where she shares the strategies that helped her survive and thrive. Aija writes about how to handle bullying, cyber bullying, dealing with fear, personal safety, and ultimately creating the life that you dream of having. Aija is also an accomplished screenwriter. Her film Diego received a Silver Key from Scholastic’s Art and Writing Awards. Visit Aija online at www.aijamayrock.com


  1. This book sounds amazing! I've been fortunate so far; I've been teased but never relentlessly bullied to the point that my emotional and/or physical well being was tremendously affected. I know that's not the case for everyone. It's good that this discussion is ongoing and I'm glad that Aija's book is available for anyone that needs help.

    Thanks to the both of you for this insightful interview :)

  2. This is a great interview. And what a wonderful way to tackle bullying - writing a survival guide for it! This is such an important thing. Congratulations to Aija! I know quite a few people to give this to.


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