This is one of the best picture books about bullying for girls. It's an in-depth story about a girl, Katie, whose former best friend, Monica, manipulates and bullies her after years of unconditional friendship. The situation is confusing for Katie because at times, when no one else is around, Monica returns to her old nice self. But then she reverses her behavior in the presence of others by teasing, excluding and name-calling. If you are searching for a book that does not sugarcoat the issue and offers some sound advice for handling this type of situation, look no further.
Best Children's Books about Bullying
Children can encounter bullying behavior at very young ages, even starting as early as the playground at daycare or preschool. A lot of times this aggressive behavior is a transient part of a child's social development and does not manifest into full-blown bullying. But sometimes, more serious, ongoing bullying behavior is encountered. There are many different types of bullying, both verbal and physical, and this mean behavior can grow in intensity with time. It can manifest in lots of ways, for instance children's books about stealing share lessons about kids who take things from others.
By the time children reach elementary school, bullying takes on many forms, both obvious and subtle. A child may be purposely tripped by a bully in the hallway, causing pain and humiliation. Or it could be a less noticeable shove or bump which causes distress to the victim nonetheless. Kids' first day of school books can help prepare students for navigating a variety of social issues, including bullies at school. This type of mean behavior is most common in settings when adults cannot intervene, like the stories shared in children's books about school buses. Learning how the characters handle bullies will teach little ones how to handle these situations.
Reading the best children's books about bullying is a good way open a discussion with your kids about this topic, whether they are on the giving or receiving end.
Books about Bullying for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Figuring out how to socialize takes a lot of trial and error for toddlers. The first time a young child is plopped into a group of other similar-sized tots, things might not go very smoothly. Little ones often grab toys and other objects from others without asking, so books for kids about sharing are an important addition to story time.
Behavior that appears seemingly aggressive, like some forms of physical aggression, is often part of the learning process. Children's books about hitting, shoving, and pushing will help toddlers learn how to express their feelings using their words, not their hands.
Toddlers who experiment with this type of behavior can learn their lesson quickly when the other child retaliates. For instance, kids' books about biting address a type of bully behavior that occurs frequently in toddlers. After a little bit of give a take, most little ones settle down and eventually figure out how to get along with others. But sometimes this bully behavior persists, requiring more than the occasional adult intervention. If your child is the aggressor or the recipient, these books about bullying for toddlers will help.
A best-selling picture book about a sassy baby who takes bullying seriously. She heads to the park for a day of play only to witness some kids behaving not-so-nicely toward others. Shady Baby stands up against the bullies, but what happens when her own feelings get hurt? Will the other babies have her back? This charming book for babies and preschoolers reminds us that it's never too soon to talk to our kids about bullying.
All the kids on the playground have fun until Billy Bully shows up. He always spoils everything. With each mean thing he does, a friend moves on to play with a different group. Eventually Billy Bully has no friends by his side. Having learned his lesson, this little fellow reverses course with acts of kindness until his circle of friends is restored. A fun counting book for little ones who will enjoy watching Billy Bully transform into a kind friend.
A group of friends is playing at the park when a bully shark interrupts all their fun. Mr. Fish is tired of being pushed around but wonders if he has the courage to stand up to the shark. A big lesson is packed into this short and sweet book about using your voice to stand up to bullies. Just the right tempo for the preschool crowd learning to navigate the playground.
A sturdy board book with large, bold pictures will keep the attention of toddlers. Each page shows a dinosaur working to be kind, and self-correcting his behavior when he acts like a bully. Just right for toddlers who need to use their words instead of their hands to get what they want.
Sometimes it's just best to tell an adult when a bully is getting out of hand. Llama loves going to school, but when Gilroy Goat starting making fun of him and lots of other students, he isn't sure what to do. Llama wants to tell his teach about the bullying, but he's afraid that Gilroy will never want to be his friend again. A good book about bullying for kids in preschool.
Kids Books about Bullying for Kindergarten and Up
Don't wait until your child encounters a bully to start reading to them about this important topic. Picture books about bullying for elementary children cover the spectrum of behavior that they are likely to encounter on the school bus, in the lunchroom, on the playground, and in the hallways.
In fact, bullies find ways to harass their victims in just about any setting, and almost always when the teacher isn't looking. We've put together a list of a wide variety of bullying books for kids that showcase a spectrum of physical and verbal bullying behaviors.
A little boy, Jeremy is eager begin a fun-filled summer, but all his plans are ruined when a mean kid moves in down the street. This new boy is outrageously mean and Jeremy is not sure how to handle it. His father steps in with a creative solution, one that does not involve discussion but a rather effective way for young children to resolve conflict that you may just want to try sometime.
When a kid is the victim of bullying behavior, it's normal to respond spatting mean words right back. This story teaches children to be true to themselves and respond with kindness whenever possible. Lucy learns this lesson the hard way. Ralph constantly teases her incessantly because she's different- crazy hair, weird food preferences, and other traits that make her stand out. Then one day Ralph finds himself stuck on the jungle gym and needs help. Will Lucy lend a hand or give him a taste of his own medicine? This is a great scenario for little readers to ponder. Bonus discussion questions and lesson plans come with this book about a bully.
Mean Jean is the reigning queen of the playground. She dominated all activities during recess and none of her classmates dared to cross her. Then one day a brave new girl takes a different approach by befriending Jean instead of bowing down in fear. Kids will learn that sometimes a little bit of kindness goes a long way, even when a person seems to deserve it least. Humorous illustrations and bouncy text soften the tone of a not-so-nice story about bullying.
The playground can be a breeding ground for bullies. In this story, a Sammy makes all the rules, threatens to do harm if the other kids disobey him, and ruins playtime for all the others. Kevin is tired of this behavior, so with some sage guidance from his father, stands up to the bully once and for all. A relatable book for any child who is looking for some tips on how to handle their own bully.
Marlene has firmly established herself as the queen bully. She takes cruelty to a whole new level on the playground and Freddy has had enough. He's the only kid who has the courage to confront Marlene, much to the relief of others, and put her in her place. In doing so, he even manages to break through Marlene's tough exterior and she learns a lesson in kindness. Written by actress Jane Lynch, in collaboration with a clinical psychologist, this children's book about bullying is one of the best.
This anti-bullying book is highly recommended by teachers for use in the classroom and at home. The story urges all kids who witness bully behavior to take a stand, not just the victims. Pete, a new kid at school, behaves badly from day one, wreaking havoc in the classroom and threatening some of his classmates. When the entire classroom comes together in unity, reciting a "promise" not to tolerate bullies, Pete learns an important lesson about how to treat others.
The Berentain Bears learn a very important lesson in this book about bullies. They are sick and tired of Too-Tall Grizzley and his gang taunting and teasing them. So they take matters in their own hands and gave this group a taste of their own medicine. While this tactic seemed like a good idea at first, their plan backfires and they discover that bullying always has negative consequences for everyone involved.
Chester Raccoon has a loving mother who helps him handle difficult situations with a tender heart. In this story, Chester and his friends are having trouble with a bully at school. Rather than fixing the problem for him, Chester's mother tells him a valuable story. She shares a tale about a group of forest animals who lived among a pile of smooth stones, except for one single sharp rock that hurt their feet. Rather than toss the rock aside, the animals worked together to soften its edges. So Chester applies the moral of this story to his real life dilemma by inviting the bully to join in and play. A wonderful message about how to transform bullies through kindness, forgiveness, and inclusion.
Lunchrooms always seem to bring out the worst in bullies. Big Bob torments Max every single day by taking his lunch. His friends offer up all kinds of advice, from ignoring Big Bob to reaching out with kindness. Nothing seems to work. When Max learns that Big Bob hates lemons, he packs an entire lunch with lemon-flavored items. A clever story about outwitting a bully that contains bonus material to help guide parents.
Everyone has encountered a classic bully like Ronald Durkin. He preys on kids who are a little different and puts them to shame with his teasing and taunting. But when he targets Molly Lou Melon, the new girl in school, he is finally put in his place. This sprightly girl, who refuses to be defined by her undesirable traits (i.e. bug eyes, unusually short stature, and frog voice), shows all her classmates her true strength, spirit and wit in this relatable book about bullies.
A happy-go-lucky little girl has her spirits dampened when schoolmates make fun of her name. She always loved her name, just like the flower, until some kids start teasing her. With the support of a kind teacher, Chrysanthemum learns to stand up for herself and her lovely name. An award-winning children's book about bullying favored by educators and school counselors.
Staying true to yourself is the prevailing message in this colorful, best-selling picture book. Pinkalicious is back in this sequel about some bullies who favor black. They dress in black and make fun of our pink-loving protagonist for not conforming. Young readers will learn that it's important to stand by your convictions no matter what your peers have to say about you.
Never judge a book by its cover. This statement rings true in this story about Piggie and Elephant, best friends who have each other's back no matter what happens. One day, a bully takes Piggie's brand new ball. Will (big) Elephant have the courage to confront (bigger) Whale and retrieve the ball for his friend? A story about friendship and bullying perfect for the preschool age crowd.
There's a new bully at school and his name says it all- Butch Pounder. What's even worse is that he is rumored to be from the Black Lagoon! Poor Hubie is certain he will end up in the nurse's office. After all, Butch beat his former football team to a pulp and ate the classroom pet. But what if there is no truth to these rumors? And what if all Butch really needs is a friend? Hubie learns an important lesson about not believing everything he hears.
Bullying can rear its ugly head in many different ways, so it's always a good idea to read a variety of books on this topic. In this story, Casey takes the position as goal keeper very seriously. But when lets a ball get past the little rabbit, Casey the squirrel starts calling out nasty names. Kids will learn how to handle verbal bullying in a safe and effective manner through the experiences of gender neutral animals.
Written by best-selling author Julia Cook, this book provides easy-to-understand actions that both victims and bystanders of bullying can take. The story is about a girl who demands that the smartest boy in school does her homework every single day. She bullies him with threats and reduces him to a puddle of tears. With the support of others, the boy learns how to use his own voice to confront the bully.
There's no doubt about it. Kristabelle is the class bully. She uses her words as weapons to control her classmates and get them to do things her way. Willow desperately wants to stand up to Kristabelle but she can never think of the right thing to say. She feels timid and afraid every time the bully is around. But then one day Kristabelle takes her mean behavior to a whole new level by disinviting kids to her birthday party. Finally Willow has had enough and finds the inner strength to do something about it.
Sister is the victim of bullying at school. When she comes home one day with injuries she suffered at the hands of Tuffy, Brother decides he needs to stand of for his sibling. But much to his surprise, Tuffy is a girl and Brother doesn't want to hit her retaliation. Will Sister be able to stand up for herself and put a stop to this bullying once and for all? This story's emphasis physical bullying will open up a conversation with your own children about the right and wrong way to handle it.
An excellent book for kids who will learn to handle bullying without adult intervention. It's the story of Lotty Raccoon, a student excited about a fresh start with the upcoming school year. But all of her enthusiasm goes down the drain when Grant Grizzly begins to pick on her. No matter what she tries, Grant is relentless. Finally, Lotty's parents get involved by notifying the teacher, but this strategy backfires. The bully simply continues with his antics when there are no adults present. When Lotty observes Grant bullying other classmates, she has an idea. A new club is formed and Grant is finally put in his place.
Instead of looking at the bully as a villain, this important story turns narrative around and asks reader to consider trying to understand the behavior. Elephant has spread the word that Bunny is a big bully and warns everyone to stay away. Fortunately, Kitty doesn't just accept this statement as fact and decides to do some investigating. After asking a lot of questions and making a lot of observations, Kitty concludes that Bunny is misunderstood and deserves a second chance. An important book to add to your child's collection that will open up dialogue and perhaps lead to some empathy for the bully.
Bullying Books for Tweens
The tween years, from ages 10 to 13, are difficult to say the least. Boys and girls are transitioning from young children into teenagers. Physical changes sometimes seem to happen overnight and the emotional rollercoaster created by hormonal fluctuations is full of highs and lows. This time period is difficult enough without the interference of a bully.
But when someone decides to wreak havoc on your tween's self-esteem by making fun of the way they look, how they dress, who their friends are, and anything else, it can have devastating consequences. Chapter books for tweens about bullying can be a helpful resource and source of comfort for kids who need to know that they are not alone in their experiences.
In this timeless, coming-of-age story, a popular football player who has a reputation as a bully, experiences a blow to the head causing amnesia. This injury, which erases his memory, gives him an opportunity to come back as a nicer, more compassionate version of himself. Chase learns who he used to be based on stories about how he treated people in the past. After a journey of introspection, he realizes he no longer wishes to be the same person. A remarkable, thought-provoking novel from the perspective of a former bully.
A short chapter book for the 7-10 age group featuring Jake Drake. He's a smart kid who is not new to being around bullies. Heck, Jake can remember such a person going all the way back to daycare. But when he finally reaches second grade and is assigned to work on a group project with the biggest bully at school, he learns a valuable lesson. In addition to standing up for himself, Jake figures out that the secret to changing a bully's behavior can be kindness.
Middle school years can be some of the most challenging. Most kids struggle with their own identities, which is complicated by the social dynamics in this age group. At Branton Middle School, the principal banned the usage of cells phones. But this does not stop the students from communicating. Using post-it notes, messages of both kindness and cruelty fill the hallways. When a new girl comes to school, she challenges the popular clique and starts an epic post-it war.
An unlikely friendship forms between two boys who band together against a common enemy. The biggest bully in school is terrorizing the classroom and hallway. Joe (a longtime local whose best friends have moved away) and Ravi (a boy who recently relocated from India to America) become fast friends despite very different backgrounds. Together they navigate some difficult situations and come out on top.
A highly recommended coming-of-age novel about a twelve year old who learns to be comfortable in her own skin. Ellie has been ridiculed since fifth grade for her weight. Filled with shame, she lives by a set of "fat girl rules", such as not eating in public and not making waves in the pool. Ellie eventually builds her self-esteem through the help of her supportive therapits, her father, and a new best friend. A novel-in-verse is a must-read for all kids struggling with their appearance during the formative pre-teen years.
Tweens will love this original middle-grade novel about Danny Day, a boy who gets to live each day twice! The first time around is a dry run and doesn't count. The second time is the day that sticks, so what happens actually matters. When Danny moves to a new town, he puts his special powers to use as he learns to make new friends, defeat his bullies, and expose a video game cheating ring.
The title of this humorous book says it all. A boy named Rafe has a plan for dealing with his school's ridiculous code of conduct- break every single rule! Clever illustrations pepper the pages of this story that covers all the hot topics kids deal with in middle school: bullies, crushes and learning all about one's identity. Bookworms and reluctant readers alike with enjoy this entertaining tween book about bullying.
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Tips for Helping a Child Deal with Bullies
"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters." -Epictetus
In a perfect world, children would grow up without the unfortunate experience of encountering bullies. The detrimental effects on a child's self-esteem can be devastating. Being subjected to relentless taunting and teasing can be insufferable for kids struggling to make friends. As parents, teachers, and caregivers, there are things we can do to coach a child through a bullying event. The end goal is for the child to come out on the other side of the experience stronger, more empathic, and better prepared to handle the next social challenge that will inevitably occur. In addition to reading children's books about bullying, here are some other tactics to try.
- Listen Openly and Without Emotion: It's important for your child to be able to speak freely about the bully's behavior to a neutral audience. As a parent, it is natural for you to feel angry and upset about the situation. Keep in mind that your child will be watching you for cues, so try not to project your feelings as they will only serve to exacerbate the situation.
- Support Your Child Unconditionally: Now more than ever, your child needs your unconditional love. No matter how unstable the social environment at school, children need to know that their family will have their back no matter what. Reaffirm to your children that the bullying is not their fault.
- Give Your Child Tools and Strategies: A child can't control a bully's behavior, but how he or she responds to it is another thing. Sometimes simply ignoring the bully does the trick. But other times, a child needs some other strategies to cope, like taking measures to avoid the bully if possible. Also, coaching a child about their own emotional reaction to a bully's antics may help to dissipate the situation.
- Notify a Child's Teacher and the School Principal: Schools have a zero tolerance policy for bullying. Sometimes the best tactic is to nip the behavior in the bud by getting administrators involved. It's natural to want to teach your child how to handle a bully on their own. But this may not be possible and the emotional damage due to prolonged bullying may can be too high a price to pay.
- Be Careful About Notifying the Bully's Parents: If you know the parents of the bully and can trust that they will handle the situation appropriately, then by all means reach out to them. But don't assume that all parents will respond in a helpful manner. You may encounter defensiveness and denial which could end up making the situation worse for your child.
- Give Your Child's Social Life a Boost: Having a strong support group of friends is probably the single best defense against a bully. Go out of your way to provide extra social opportunities for your child, especially when relationships are not formed on their own. Host a small party, invite some classmates for a sleepover, take a couple of friends to the movies, etc. Allowing your child to bond with friends outside of a school setting can help tremendously.
What To Do When Your Kid is the Bully
People do not raise their children to treat others poorly. Many even read children's books about manners to help reinforce the importance of behaving respectfully toward others. Parents spend a lot of energy teaching their children to be kind to others, to have empathy for those who are struggling, and to include anyone who seems to be left out. There may not be any sign at home that a child would ever do anything to hurt another classmate, either physically or verbally.
And yet, many parents receive that unfortunate text, call, or email informing them that their child was the instigator of repetitive bullying. It is normal to feel like there must be some mistake. Perhaps all of the facts have not been presented or there is some sort of misunderstanding. But when all of the information has been sorted through and the dust finally settles, parents often have no choice but to accept the fact that their child is the aggressor. If you find yourself in this position, keep these pointers in mind when deciding how to proceed.
- Hear Your Child Out: It's important to listen generously to your child. You will surely have some choice words to share, but you will need to exercise some extreme patience for the time being. Kids will not necessarily have a concise, clear explanation for their behavior. Many times they will not fully understand themselves why they are being so mean to another person. Give the child room to speak freely and openly about everything without pushing for explicit answers or information. You may be able to gather some important insight by just listening. Bite your tongue, hold your thoughts, keep your facial expression neutral, and just listen. This is a tall task since you are likely very angry and disappointed with your child. But it's an important first step in ending the behavior.
- Figure out why your child is acting like a bully: There are many reasons why your child might be treating others poorly. As the parent, it's your job to try and understand the root cause of this mean behavior so that you can put an end to it. Simply asking your child to explain why they are acting in a certain way is not necessarily going to get you answers. Think about reasons as possible motives as you delve in deeper into the problem.
- Your child was bullied by another child and is now taking it out on someone else. Bullying can be contagious and spread like wildfire. When a young person is a victim of bullying, it is not uncommon for them to deflect by mistreating a new victim. On a subconscious level, it may be a child's way of protecting themselves by shifting negative attention to another kid. Reading kids books about anger can help open a conversation about root causes and come up with better tools to handle these feelings.
- Your child enjoys the feeling of power and attention from others by being a bully. It is not unusual for bullies to be the leader of the pack. A likely explanation is that other children act friendly toward the bully so that they themselves never fall victim. This sense of popularity fuels the bully's bad behavior and the vicious pattern can continue until adult intervention is required.
- Your child has low self-esteem. There are many reasons why a children might not feel good about themselves. Perhaps they are struggling to keep up academically. Maybe home life is unstable due to a separation or divorce. Perhaps making friends has always been a struggle. Oftentimes a child who is a bully has internal conflict and lacks confidence. Not knowing how to resolve this unrest, kids will find a victim to harass. They channel all of their negative feelings about themselves outwardly toward someone else.
- Address the motive. Identifying the reason why your child is acting like a bully is just the beginning. Now you will have some real work to do in order to address the root cause. Lucky parents may be able to counsel their children and resolve the conflict quickly. Even so, it's important for those parents to continue to monitor their child's social activities and watch for signs of repeat offenses. Sometimes the problem is more serious and requires help from a professional therapist or child psychologist. It's a good idea find someone who can help address the problem before it manifests into more serious behavioral issues.
- Require the child to apologize to the victim. The bottom line is that the bullying needs to stop immediately. The first thing you need to ensure is that your child formally apologizes to anyone they have harassed. It is usually best if there is a witness to this apology to ensure it actually happened. Such witnesses may include parents, teachers, school counselors, sports coaches, or any other adult authority figure.
- Continue to monitor the situation. Don't make the mistake and assume that a single conversation will put a stop to your child's bullying. You have a responsibility to make sure that your child is not tormenting others. As difficult as this may be, you should consider notifying other adults, like teachers, of the situation so they can be on the lookout. You may even reach out to the parents of the child who is being bullied. Establish an open line of communication so that they are comfortable reporting back to you if the bullying does not cease.