There once was a little girl named Jessica, whose peers at school would make fun of her, saying she was overweight… This is a fictional story written by eight-year-old LaNiyah Bailey, but it’s written in first-person because Bailey has had some of those same experiences in her life.
After getting teased for being “different,” Bailey fought back by writing a book: Not Fat Because I Wanna Be. The book has received national attention because of its anti-bullying message, at a time when bullying is receiving more widespread attention than ever, in schools and online.
Bailey’s mother has explained that certain health conditions may have contributed to Bailey’s weight. Still, she had been called names by kids her age and even by adults.
Bailey used her book to take matters into her own hands and address her bullies, and anyone who is a bully, once and for all. She lives by her mantra: “I am beautiful. I am loved. I will not let what others say define me. Bullying is not cool.”
LaNiyah Bailey is making history … as a child advocate against bullying. Her book has been praised nationally for bringing attention to the hurt and pain children feel when they are relentlessy teased and bullied.
What’s next for LaNiyah?
Since publishing her first book, Bailey recently created a coloring activity book called Stand up! Bully Busters Coming To Town.
In her own words …
“I just wish this book can help other kids like me,” Bailey told theGrio. “And I wish it can help people see that [even though] you might be big that you are not unhealthy or … a monster, like people may make you feel.”
A little-known fact about bullying …
In 2009, one in five teens reported being bullied on school property, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
THEGRIO’S Q & A TIME WITH LANIYAH BAILEY
Q: What’s next in this chapter of your life?
A: Well, we are going to different schools and talking to kids about bullying and hopefully we get to go to a lot of other schools. I would love to do a TV show and even a movie.
Q: What’s a fact about you that many people don’t know?
A: Hmmm… A lot of people don’t know that I am really goofy. I love to laugh at almost anything. And, I have my orange belt in Taekwondo.
Q: What’s your favorite quote?
A: My favorite quote is: “Bullying is not cool, it hurts people’s feelings.”
Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
A: I got inspiration to write my book, Not fat because I wanna be, from being bullied. I knew I didn’t want to keep allowing that to happen to me so, I decided to write about it. I am now inspired by other kids because, some of them are going through bullying and it is helping them.
Q: Who are/were your mentors?
A: My mother LaToya White, who helped me write the book and my dad Songo Bailey are my mentors. They help me with everything and keep me focused.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone hoping to achieve their dreams?
A: I would tell other kids who may want to write books, that you can do it. If you have a story to tell don’t give up. It may not be easy [but] if you have help from your family you can get it done. I think anybody can do whatever they want to do if they stay focused and keep at it, without letting someone tell them they can’t do it.
Laniyah has thanked theGrio.com & NBC News for her selection on theGrio’s 100 list for 2012 by posted a small video thank you on You Tube.