It’s no secret that bullying and cyberbullying is an issue facing many of our children. This difficult topic is a growing problem that, even with education and awareness, isn’t going away. Just consider that data show rates of cyberbullying have tripled, with a whopping 87 percent of our kids now encountering this in some form! This prevalence is alarming for us on many levels, because it’s heart wrenching to watch a son or daughter suffer at the hands of a bully.
Thankfully, books are wonderful resources! We can harness the power of anti-bullying books and literature to help address teasing, self-esteem, friendship, and more to help our kids deal with bullying. Please scroll through the following guide of anti-bullying books to help kids deal with this pressing issue:
The Band-aid Chicken by Becky Henton
Geared for younger children, the story highlights all those unhappy feelings caused by bullying. It also shows the advantages to being brave, even when others might disagree.
My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig
This book allows us to follow Monica, a girl emotionally bullied by her friend. As the story develops, with the support and help of her mother, Monica learns to overcome humiliation, name-calling, exclusion, and manipulation.
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
This Newbery Honor book addresses the bullying of a girl who is bullied for wearing the same dress everyday to school, while nobody steps up and does anything to help her.
Alley Oops by Janice Levy
Told from the bully’s perspective, we see a bully learn to accept the person he once tormented. This book handles the topics of playground bullies and aggressive behaviors.
The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill
This book features Mean Jean, a schoolyard bully who pushes her way around. But, things soon change when a new girl arrives, leading to a change for the good. The characters model ways kids can handle bullying.
Simon’s Hook by Karen Burnett
Burnett uses Simon, a boy who is suffering from a day of bads: bad hair and teasing friends. Thankfully, he learns how to handle teasing and put-downs. Kids can apply this advice in their own day-to-day lives.
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
Kids can learn about how making new friends is a good thing! After spending a day with his enemy, Jeremy might just come away with a new best friend. This story helps kids deal with bullying and encourages new friendships.
Bully by Patricia Polacco
Polacco tackles cyberbullying and ever-present cliques. This is a great book for digitally-active children, because it allows them to see how social media and their devices can harm others.
Real Friends by Shannon Hale
This book touches the subject of losing a best friend to a group of popular kids. It shows how finding your real friends might be difficult, but worth it in the end.
You, Me, and Empathy by Jayneen Sanders
This book is a great resource for helping kids learn and identify empathy, feelings, being kind, tolerating others, and recognizing behaviors that are considered bullying.
The Only Game by Mike Lupica
This story is an emotional tale of Jack Callahan, who struggles after the death of his brother with baseball, friendships, and loss. He finds solace with new friends, who are targets of bullies.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
This popular movie was based on a novel that takes us along August’s first time attending a mainstream school. Born with a deformity of the face, it’s difficult for his new classmates to see that he is just like them.
Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen
This book tackles everything from bullying to immigration – all from the eyes of a young girl named Molly. It’s a great way to help children see how words and actions can tear others down or build them up. To expand on these concepts, watch the 1985 movie based on the book!
The Berenstain Bears: No Girls Allowed by Stan and Jan Berenstain
This classic book featuring our favorite Brother and Sister Bear takes readers on a journey of being excluded and cliques. It is the perfect story to help children learn about friendship and fairness.
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
This award-winning picture book follows Chrysanthemum, a little mouse. It touches on teasing, self-esteem, and accepting yourself.
Blubber by Judy Blume
This novel introduces us to Linda, a girl who is teased for being overweight. It address real life problems, is easily relatable for children, delves into why people bully, and shows what bystanders can do if they see bullying.
Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
Also a motion picture, this book highlights the unlikely friendship between two boys that takes them on extraordinary adventures. The pair has to overcome physical obstacles, dangers, family issues, and even bullies.
What anti-bullying books do you recommend for helping kids deal with it?
Amy Williams is a freelance journalist based in Southern California and the mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety. Follow her on Twitter at @AmyKWilliams1.