Philanthropic teen and children’s’ book author Alyssa B. Antoci is taking her passion to help children, parents and educators one step further. To bring kids and educators closer together on an important issue, Alyssa and her mother have started a grassroots-style crowdfunding campaign intended to place the anti-bullying book, The Purple Marble, into schools and libraries across the U.S. Alyssa knows first-hand how important that dialogue is. She wrote The Purple Marble when she was just eight-and-a-half years old. Today, The Purple Marble is in more than a hundred and fifty schools, and the number is increasing monthly. Alyssa wants to see her book, which addresses breaking the cycle of bullying and the effects of it, used within each classroom, so it can serve to build and shape conversations about the often-difficult subject of bullying.
The Purple Marble was inspired by a member of Alyssa’s family, who was bullied because of his weight. Feeling isolated and teased, he felt his only choice was to eat lunch in a boys’ bathroom stall. Alyssa was so saddened and affected by his story that she wanted to share it. And when she herself experienced bullying firsthand by what she considered a friend, it really touched home in a relatable way. These true-life stories made indelible impressions in her young life. So with paper and pen, she began to craft a message of hope, by using her own personal experiences to create a book that would help her peers and inspire readers to look deeper. “I feel bullying is when someone is continually mean to you or demeaning to you to have power over you, and that’s not right”, Alyssa states. While she always envisioned this story as a book, Alyssa never imagined early on it would be shared beyond her family. That is until an interested teacher and another author both felt the depth of the story and encouraged Alyssa and her mom to pursue self-publishing. Beautiful illustrations by Vicki Frazier propel Alyssa’s story along.
While The Purple Marble story is front and center, the book also includes a post-story review designed to educate and heighten awareness of bullying prevention. To support it, Alyssa thoughtfully wrote a list of discussion questions in the back of the book – as well as what each of the main characters learned from their experience. These discussion points serve as an intervention to reduce bullying and harassment, and are designed to enrich each student’s personal development.