“Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy” by Emily Bazelon. Random House, 2014. $16.

Bullying is one of the buzzwords in schools today, but it’s a word that is quite difficult to define. And it’s often difficult to discover until it’s too late.

“Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy” has a good message.

Bazelon begins by introducing the reader to several stories of victims of bullying in various manifestations. I found the stories the most impactful part of the book; real examples often hit home with both kids and parents. The FAQ section about bullying at the end is helpful if a child has questions and it offers up some excellent advice. But Bazelon is not a therapist, she’s a journalist.

This is not a complete book on the subject, but a good resource to start a discussion about bullying.

— Anna Guerra, Denham Springs

Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction” by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd. Random House, 2013. $16.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder and his longtime editor and friend Richard Todd offer advice on writing nonfiction in this elegant little book.

Letting us know right from the start how fervently they believe in the “power of story and character,” the authors affirm that “the techniques of fiction never belonged exclusively to fiction,” indeed, “no techniques of storytelling are prohibited to the nonfiction writer, only the attempt to pass off inventions as facts.”

Kidder and Todd are formidable talents but present their advice in an accessible and encouraging way. They draw on their long careers in the field to urge aspiring writers to believe in the intelligence of the reader and to focus on the human side of the story: “we think that every piece of writing — whether story or argument or rumination, book or essay or letter home — requires the freshness and precision that convey a distinct human presence.”

“Good Prose” is the culmination of Kidder and Todd’s decades-long friendship and experience in publishing. The result? Excellent prose. It belongs on every writer’s shelf alongside Strunk & White’s “Elements of Style” and Stephen King’s “On Writing.”

— Louise Hilton, Baton Rouge