Books

Author's nationwide campaign against bullying begins at SLO High

Author Jay Asher speaks at an assembly at San Luis Obispo High School, his alma mater, on Wednesday as he kicks off his "50 States Against Bullying" tour.
Author Jay Asher speaks at an assembly at San Luis Obispo High School, his alma mater, on Wednesday as he kicks off his "50 States Against Bullying" tour. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Local author Jay Asher kicked off his “50 States Against Bullying” tour at his alma mater San Luis Obispo High School.

On Wednesday he talked to students there about bullying, depression and suicide, offering contact information for local resources.

Asher’s young adult novel, “Thirteen Reasons Why,” is a story about a teenage girl who commits suicide and leaves behind a series of cassette tapes explaining why, sending them to the people she feels pushed her toward that decision.

The book has been published in 35 countries and was on The New York Times bestseller list for more than 163 weeks. During his tour, part of the Penguin Young Readers Group, Asher will visit one school in all 50 states to discuss the book and bullying.

Jennifer Sawyer, the librarian at San Luis Obispo High School who organized the visit, said Asher’s book is difficult to keep on the library’s shelves.

“It’s rare to have a book that appeals to such a wide audience. When you are talking about 1,400 very diverse students that says a lot,” Sawyer said.

Students helped promote the event, putting posters around campus and posting pictures on Twitter promoting the tour’s theme of why every person matters.

“The message was an important one for our students not only don’t be a bully and help someone if they are bullied, but just making kids feel very important, that they do matter to each other and themselves,” Sawyer said.

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