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V.S. resident tackles bullying in her first children’s book

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“I’m an imaginative and creative person,” Valley Streamer Jennifer Brome said. “Writing just pours out of me … It’s like Utopia for me. It’s what I’m meant to do … Writing makes me so happy.”

She has lived in the neighborhood since 2010, and on Dec. 21 became a first-time author, publishing a children’s book titled “The MisAdventures of Zyria: The World’s Smallest Superhero.”

Writing poems, songs and creative pieces has been a part of Brome’s life ever since she was a child, she said, and it was a dream come true to publish her first book.

“The MisAdventures of Zyria” focuses on the sentiment behind its tagline, “there is a superhero inside of all of us, we just need to put on the cape,” its author said, and seeks to create a deeper meaning for readers on how to accept change and deal with the curveballs life throws your way, including bullying.

“The book has a way of helping people because we all go through transitions in life and bullying still exists,” she said. “Every chapter in my book has a different picture to try to help readers understand what [the main character] is going through.”

At 214 pages, it is designed for children and adolescents ages 6 to 12, and details about the life of its fictional protagonist, Zyria, who is about to become a superhero like the rest of the members in her family.

Throughout the book, Zyria struggles with the knowledge that once her super powers have fully developed, she will have to leave her friends and go to superhero school for five years. The book also focuses on the storyline of one of her classmates, who is being bullied, and how Zyria steps up to help him.

Brome, who took two years to write the book, holds its themes close to her heart, she said, after she experienced bullying first-hand when she was a child, and later witnessed many of her students being bullied when she had taught fourth-grade in Chicago before moving to Valley Stream. 

“Bullying needs to end because it’s ridiculous,” she said. “My book spreads a positive message that bullying should stop, and kids need to start taking actions to end bullying today.”

For Deborah Pressey, a long-time friend of Brome’s for 12 years, she said after reading, she found that although “The MisAventures of Zyria” is designed for younger people, it can also serve as a reminder to adults about the dangers of bullying.

“I think the book is a great way to reach out to children, because bullying can lead to suicide or it can follow a person through their lives and affect them as adults,” she said. “I’m glad [Brome] is covering this topic because even adults can be bullies.”

Brome’s uncle, Clifford Harris, from Mississippi, Okla., said he finds that the book helps readers recognize that change is a part of life that must be accepted.

“The book helps readers to understand that some changes in life can be prepared for and other changes are unexpected,” Harris said. “As you go through changes, you must get up and keep trying in life, and that’s when you become a superhero.”

Although Harris said he never experienced bullying himself, he has witnessed it when he was in school, and one of his close friends in his adult life has experienced bullying in his work environment in situations where people made him feel like he wasn’t qualified enough.

“[Adults and children] need to start taking a stand and step out to confront bullying,” Harris said. “This book is great avenue for kids, but it can also be understood in a way that provides adults with information.”

“The MisAdventures of Zyria” can be found for sale on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, and at jpbrome.com.