Book Review: Good-Bye Bully Machine

Author: Debbie Fox and Allan L Beane
Interest Level: Grades 3-5

About This Book: Kids learn what bullying is, why it hurts, and what they can do to end it with this fresh, compelling book. With its contemporary collage art, lively layout, and straightforward text, Good-Bye Bully Machine engages kids and keeps them turning pages. The unique format of Good-Bye Bully Machine helps kids understand the definition and impact of bullying by comparing it to a mean machine—the Bully Machine. Kids can see how bullying makes the machine grow more imposing, while kind behaviors dismantle it.

Through the machine, kids gain awareness of their role in bullying, whether they are targets, bullies, bystanders—or all three. The role of the bystander is especially important. Good-Bye Bully Machine helps kids see the power of the bystander to become an ally, which means learning to show empathy, engage in kind acts, and take a stand against bullying. It's a perfect way to engage reluctant readers and hard-to-reach kids.

Good-Bye Bully Machine features:
  • Rich, full-color collage art
  • Engaging, straightforward text
  • Fun, easy-to-manage activities
  • Compelling content for kids ages 8 and up
A note to grown-ups about bullying and bully prevention:

You can use this book on its own or in support of other Bully Free products. Good-Bye Bully Machine naturally lends itself to productive group discussion. Bully-busting activities at the back of the book show ways for victims, witnesses, and kids who've bullied others to become Bully Free—including suggestions for building a school-wide campaign against bullying.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Good-Bye Bully Machine is a recent discovery. I just cannot say enough good things about what it has done on the playground, hallways, cafeteria, and classrooms in my school. Over the years, I've used dry and boring bullying curriculums which are now sitting idle on my shelf. I've lost students in a flash when I'm just standing at the white board writing the definition of bullying. As a counselor, it means everything to me for students to have better insight to bully behavior. The minute I introduce the metaphor of the "bully machine", I have a captive group of students. Good-Bye Bully Machine is one of the few books out there that really goes there with students and requires critical thinking. The first time I read this to a 4th grade class, one of the students went out to recess and reported a problem to an adult stating, 'I do not want to be part of the bully machine!' Love that. So why do kids like this machine plugged in? How can schools unplug it? What makes it grow and become strong? Like I said, the metaphor of the "bully machine" creates higher level thinking and questioning. Those that are participating in bullying behavior have an opportunity to try and understand themselves better. A lot of those students are in personal pain, take the time to explore this with them. It's such a worthwhile read. The "bully machine" causes a lot of hurt in schools across America.  If you are a teacher or a counselor looking for a creative approach to STOP bullying, add this book to your resource shelf. (be sure to use the leaders guide - it's an awesome supplementary resource)

A link to this book at Free Spirit Publshing.
A link to the Leader's Guide.


  1. Thanks for sharing this! I"m forwarding it to our school counselor and hope that she can get it going at our school. What a find!

  2. I absolutely LOVE this book. Check out my blog for some ideas to do with "Good-Bye Bully Machine: