In October, we observe National Bullying Prevention Month. According to statistics from the National Bullying Prevention Center, one out of every five kids has been bullied. Now more than ever, it’s important to teach students about the negative effects of bullying and to do so as early as possible.
We asked some of our staff members to share some of their favorite book suggestions for children and teens that address bullying, teasing, friendship, self-esteem, and more.
Here they are:
The Juice Box Bully – Bob Samson and Maria Dismondy
The Juice Box Bully is about a new student named Pete that was bullied at his previous school. He felt that if he bullied people first, it would stop him from being picked on. Little does he know that Mr. Peltzer and his classroom made a promise on bullying. The students introduce this promise to Pete when he bullies a girl from class. This helps Pete realize that the students at this school are very different from his old school and his attitude changes.
Stand Up for Yourself & Your Friends – Kelly Criswell
This accessible book from American Girl helps young readers gain the tools to recognize and handle bullying. Includes wise words to use with bullies, smart ways to ignore them, solid advice on getting an adult’s help when needed, and advice from real girls who have been in similar situations.
The Not-So-Friendly Friend – Christina Furnival:
In The Not-So-Friendly Friend, children will learn an easy and practical lesson about how to firmly and assertively – yet kindly – stand up for themselves in the face of a bully. By teaching children about the importance and value of setting boundaries for healthy friendships, this book provides children the tools they need to foster their social confidence and emotional well-being.
Stick and Stone – Beth Ferry & Tom Lichtenheld
Stick and Stone are sticking together in this hilarious and heart-warming board book that proves why best friends rock! The author Beth Ferry writes warm, rhyming text that includes a subtle anti-bullying message even the youngest reader will understand.
I Walk With Vanessa – Kerascoët
Inspired by real events, I Walk with Vanessa explores the feelings of helplessness and anger that arise in the wake of seeing a classmate treated badly, and shows how a single act of kindness can lead to an entire community joining in to help.
One – Kathryn Otoshi
As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other’s differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count. It is an extremely powerful moment when your young reader realizes that One is more than a book about colors and numbers.
Willow Finds A Way – Lana Button
In this picture book, shy, quiet Willow silently wishes she could find a way to say no to her bossy classmate Kristabelle’s demands, but the words never seem to come. The empowering message here also helps promote individual self-awareness, self-esteem and good decision making.
Wonder – R.J. Palacio
Wonder is a novel by R.J. Palacio that centers on 10-year-old August “Auggie” Pullman’s first year in a real school. Auggie was born with craniofacial abnormalities or facial differences which caused him to stand out in public. As Auggie navigates middle school, he makes friends, learns to deal with a bully, and starts to understand himself as a person.
Thank you so much to our staff contributors, Sheri Markus-Kennel, Shannon Lovato, and Annica Nilson for compiling this insightful list to help young readers learn more about the impact of bullying and how to be a kind human.