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Mom and daughter team up to use words against bullying

Fourth-grader Aleemah Lanier has experienced her fair share of bullying.

And so did her mother, Edwena.

The two decided to put their heads together and their experiences on paper to help others who might be going through the same thing. Aleemah and Edwena co-wrote a newly released book called Lets Help The Bully. It is an interactive book that provides positive solution outcomes to real-life bullying situations.

“The book started out basically with my experiences through childhood and Aleemah’s current experiences that she’s had with bullying over the last couple of years,” said Edwena, a Point Breeze native. “We sat down and put our thoughts on paper. We wanted to write the book for a long time but because of the pandemic and quarantining in the house so long, we figured it was the perfect time to put the foot on the gas pedal and publish it.”

Aleemah, 10, and a fourth-grader at the Jacquelyn Y. Kelley Discovery Charter School in the West Parkside area of the city, said the book was nerve-wracking to write but enjoyed the experience, especially once it was completed.

“It made me feel a lot better,” Aleemah said. “I was kind of nervous about some parts when we were going through with publishing, so I was just happy about the ending. I wanted to be done.”

The mother-and-daughter writing combo will share their experiences and more through a book-launch celebration at the ClearHouse event space at 1608 W. Passyunk Ave. in South Philly on May 22 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and include an autographed copy of the book, refreshments and live entertainment. There will also be a read-along and book giveaways. Registration for the event is at https://authorsedwenaandaleemah.eventbrite.com.

“We really want to bring awareness to the community,” said Edwena, who works in administration at the Universal Daroff Charter School at 56th and Vine streets in West Philly. “Because working in schools, you see that bullying is always there but it’s been heightened with everything being online. Bullying has converted more into the Zoom platforms and Google meets. It’s more invisible to the adult eye. We want children to be more aware to talk about it. We want kids to know this happened to me, too, and we know how you feel.”

Working on the book together was a special kind of accomplishment.

“It was touch and go,” Edwena said. “I know as a kid how I felt when I was bullied in elementary school. As a parent, you are more of a protector. It made me feel really horrible. But working in schools and being with kids for so long, it made me help her to see you have to say something. And on her own time, I taught Aleemah to talk to the person and find out the origin of the conflict that the bully was having with her. Helping the bully can help decrease bullying overall.”

Aleemah said she hopes to write more books in the future as she continues her education. But right now, she’s very satisfied at how her first offering came out.

“When I first saw the book, I got really excited,” Aleemah said. “I’m very proud of this.”

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