Jessica opened the bathroom door and listened. Silence echoed in the room. All she could hear was her pounding heart and quick breaths. Her trembling hand released the door, and Jessica hurried to the closest stall. In one movement, she shut the stall door and locked it. Suddenly, “Thump.” A footstep coming toward her stopped the silence. “Thump,” Jessica held her breath. “Thump,” she slowly raised her feet up so no one would know she was in the stall. She could feel her eyes starting to water. “Not again,” she thought. Two black boots stared at her from under the stall door right in front of her. Her heart almost burst with nervousness. She let her breath go out quietly and gasped in another and held it quietly. Fear surrounded her.

Jessica had been bullied everyday when she went to the restroom at school. She had tried to go with a friend, had the teachers walk her to the restroom, and she’d even tried to just be brave. It never failed though that this bully, a vicious aggressive giant of a girl, always seemed to find her. Today was no different. How was Jessica going to get out of this one?

(Egyptian contribution)
Jessica held her breath, but the black shoes did not leave. She knew she would have to leave at the end. So she took a deep breath and tried to get a lot of strength and courage."I will not be afraid," she thought to herself. she fought back tears and decided to face the bully. She opened the door to the stall and stood there, facing the girl who has been really mean to her for so long. She stared into the girl's eyes and walked past her without saying anything. Jessica left the bathroom and quickly walked away from the bully who did nothing. Jessica told the teacher who caught the girl and the girl was disciplined.

(Italian contribution)
Jessica decided to find out why the bully was so mean to her. At play time Jessica decided to ask the girl to play with her and her friends a game called Bimbo.The bully was surprised that anyone wanted to play with her. Since she had come to the new school no one had asked her to play. She was so surprised she almost cried. She said she was sorry for being mean and joined in the fun game.

(Japanese contribution)
In the end, Jessica learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes people are like mirrors of the world they live in. It someone is being mean, look behind the mirror. There is much pain there. Love and kindness can change the reflection. Jessica and the bully became good friends and learned that many of the fears of the bully were shared by Jessica. Having someone to speak to about the fears made them good friends.

The End

Canadian and US collaborated story:

Brooke couldn't wait to get home so that she could talk to her best friend Shin-Li. She and Shin-Li had been friends ever since they met through a project they both participated in last year in second grade. Brooke's teacher, Ms. Barker, created a project that allowed Brooke and her classmates a chance to talk to students from China about how they deal with bullying. Brooke was paired up with Shin-Li. Shin-Li was a lot like Brooke, even though they did not come from the same country, religious background, or culture. Brooke played the piano and Shin-Li played the flute. Brooke enjoyed jumping rope and playing hopscotch. Shin-Li also enjoyed jumping rope and playing hopscotch. Brooke was a great speller and Shin-Li won the school-wide spelling bee for her school. The girls met everyday after school to talk about what they had been doing for the day. When Brooke would come home Shin-Li would just be waking up for school because of the time difference between Texas, US and Beijing, China.
This day, Brooke came home, dropped her backpack at the front door, and ran to her room. She flopped onto her bed sobbing. Tears soaked her long chocolate brown hair and stung her big green eyes. She could hardly catch her breathe and felt as if she had choking on an invisible lump of steak.

"Why? WHY? Why did they do this to me? I never did anything to them to deserve to be embarrassed and hurt like that," she whimpered into her pillow that now had a large wet circle on the case.

Her computer binged a few times telling her that someone was requesting a Skype call from her. Brooke sat up, wiped her eyes, and walked over to her computer desk.

When she opened her laptop she saw that Shin-Li was calling in. Brooke didn't know how she was going to tell Shin-Li about what had happened, but if anyone could help Brooke, it was Shin-Li. Shin-Li always seemed to know exactly what to say to make Brooke feel better.

When Shin-Li's face appeared on Brooke's computer screen, Brooke burst into tears again.

"What's wrong," Shin-Li asked?
"Oh, Shin-Li, three girls at school were mean to me today. They said that I am a nerd because I make good grades and I won a class contest in spelling today. Then at lunch one of them tripped me and I fell and spilled my lunch tray. After school, they followed me to the corner and told me that I would never have any friends because no one likes to be friends with ugly girls with stringy hair."

Brooke's words drowned in her sobs. Shin-Li wanted to reach through the screen and hug her friend.

"Don't worry, Brooke. Listen to me. My elder grandmama used to always say, 'A gem is not polished without rubbing, nor a man perfected without trials.' Do you know what that means?

Brooke just shook her head.

"It means," continued Shin-Li, "that we need bad things to happen sometimes so we can grow in our hearts. You are a great friend and I think you are smart, and funny, and beautiful. Don't let those girls bring you down. Allow them to build you up! Walk with your head high because you are very special and those girls need you to be a model for them. You are stronger than you think."

Brooke knew her friend was right. Shin-Li's words were like a bandage with magical healing powers that made all of the pain in Brooke's heart go away.

"Thank you, Shin-Li," Brooke said, smiling for the first time all day. "You are my best friend!"
"You are mine," said Shin-Li.

The End