Debut of Anti-Bullying Conference Held

By Elisabeth Condon

On October 19, the Spencer Road branch of the St. Charles County Library hosted Less Than Three, an anti-bullying conference hosted by New York Times bestselling author Heather Brewer.

Authors Andrew Smith, Carrie Ryan, A.S. King, David Levithan, and Antony John discuss LGBTQ bullying. (photo by elisabeth condon)
Authors Andrew Smith, Carrie Ryan, A.S. King, David Levithan, and Antony John discuss LGBTQ bullying. (photo by elisabeth condon)

Almost two years ago, Heather Brewer, whose fans refer to her as Auntie Heather, came up with the idea of creating an anti-bullying conference. Brewer, along with authors A.S. King and Jackie Kessler were on a panel at the Rochester Teen Book Festival in which they talked about the various facets of bullying. “From that spread this really wonderful idea that I really wanted to something about bullying because that’s my passion; that’s what I love talking about,” Brewer said.
Brewer created the Less Than Three Conference, named for the symbols used to create a heart on a standard keyboard. Also, Brewer said, the name was chosen because less than three-fourths of schools who were offered money to fund anti-bullying programs accepted the money.
Four separate panels of five Young Adult authors a piece touched on topics of Cyber-Bullying, Bullying in School, LGBTQ Bullying, and Self-Bullying. Each panel presented twice during the day, giving all attendees the opportunity to see all four panels.
After the morning presentations and the lunch break, Brewer presented her keynote address. Within the keynote address, 18-year-old Jordan Brooks took the stage after Brewer invited her to fly to St. Louis from New Jersey to share her story of bullying and healing. When Brewer first met Brooks, Brooks was shy and had been counting down to meeting Brewer that instead of introducing herself to Brewer by saying “hello,” Brooks told Brewer that she would introduce herself by saying, “today today.” Brooks has gone through such a change that she was able to stand on a stage and tell her story.
After Brooks shared her story, Brewer shared her experiences with bullying and attempted suicide. Brewer did not make any friends until her freshman year of high school, and believes this is because her classmates didn’t believe she deserved friends. “I was that kid,” Brewer said. “I am in every school. So, if you see me, reach out to me. Smile at me. Say hi. Give them those little compliments that may mean nothing to you, but will mean everything to me.”
After the afternoon presentations, attendees had opportunities to get their books signed by their favorite authors as well as to get their pictures taken with them. Also, representatives from the GSA Network, as well as the CyberBully Hotline were there to provide information to students and educators alike.
To get more information about the Less Than Three Conference, as well as a complete list of authors, visit