Changing Genes: What If Someone Else
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By Jack Branson and Mary Branson ©2012.
After an explosion in a high school chemistry lab, a bully finds himself in the body of the boy he’s taunted unmercifully. The bully becomes the bullied as his former friends model the threatening behavior he taught them. Mark, 14, is the school bully who taunts anyone who, for whatever reason, cannot or will not fight back until the day Elliott enrolls at Mark’s high school. Then all Mark’s bullying efforts focus on his new victim. Nicknaming him Smelliott, Mark follows close behind Elliott, mocking him and setting up humiliating roadblocks at every turn. Mark and his friends find what pushes Elliott’s buttons, and they push them often. When Elliott is assigned as Mark’s chemistry lab partner, the bullying escalates. But all that changes the afternoon the mysterious Mr. Pierce announces that he’s their substitute for the day. Mr. Pierce turns the boys’ lives upside down, and they soon learn that the only way they can solve their “identity” crisis is to combine their resources.
In recent years, autism has also become an important topic, and because children on the autism spectrum often lack social skills and incorrectly interpret subtle ridicule, they make prime targets for bullies. This book makes a high-functioning child on the autism spectrum the hero, and the reader sees much of the adventure through his eyes. The book gives readers insight into why children bully, why some children are unable or unwilling to defend themselves, and the powerful role of the bystander. All of the examples of bullying are based on actual experiences.
Although Changing Genes: What If Someone Else Were Wearing Your Jeans? is about two fourteen-year-old high school freshmen, the book is written for ages 9-12. (Soft cover; 122 pages.)