At one point or another, you’ve probably encountered a bully. As an adult it happens less often, but school years can be brutal, leaving kids with painful emotional scars, if not physical ones. As parents, it’s difficult to watch our children endure any such cruelty. We do our best to shelter them and keep them safe from any type of pain. However, sometimes the only thing we can do is guide them towards confidence and provide a loving, safe environment to come home to. The books below can offer guidance and help the bullied child realize that they are not alone. Someone understands.
1. The Bully Book: A Novel by Eric Kahn Gale
Geared towards grades 3-7, The Bully Book is a self-proclaimed tragicomedy that follows the story of a 6th-grade boy who is the target of relentless bullying. He searches for answers to life amidst the horror of middle school, finding them in unexpected places. The Bully Book, a debut novel, made the Top Ten Indie Next List pick of 2013.
2. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina
Meg Medina writes a compelling story about Piddy, a new girl at school who isn’t quite “Latin enough” and learns that a schoolmate, Yaqui Delgado, hates her and wants to kick her ass. While navigating the turmoil of an absent father, a move to a new neighborhood, and bullies at school, Piddy learns to use resources she never knew she had. Winner of the 2014 Pura Belpré Author Award, Yaqui Delgado is geared toward grades 8 and up and takes a realistic look at teenage angst, and learning to overcome the pressures of bullies, family life, and work.
3. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Newberry Honor recipient and winner of numerous awards, Wolf Hollow takes place in the midst of both World Wars, and through the narrative of Annabelle, a young girl learning to gain confidence in the wake of unspeakable horrors. When a new girl moves in and begins to bully the shy, reserved, war veteran, Annabelle must learn to build the courage to stick up for him in order to be the “lone voice of justice.” For grades 5-7, this story teaches courage to defend others who are being bullied.
4. Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Jennifer Brown writes about the taboo topic of school shootings in Hate List. Protagonist Valerie Leftman is wracked with guilt after helping her boyfriend create a “hate list” for which he used as a guide to kill fellow classmates who relentlessly bullied them. Although she had no way to know he was going to go through such a heinous act, she is still blamed by her peers and must learn to accept her role in the shooting and overcome in order to make amends with her bullies and move on.
5. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Speak, a 1999 National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature shows teens how to speak up for themselves by following the story of Melinda, who is the subject of repeated bullying after calling the cops on an end-of-summer party. She withdraws into herself, carrying a dark secret as she finds solace in art class. Eventually, Melinda fights back and finds her voice against the tormentors.
6. Middle School Series by James Patterson
James Patterson writes more than great fiction for adults, he also writes fantastic middle-grade fiction. His Middle School series deals with a wide array of middle-grade problems, from family issues and the recurrent theme of bullying. More than one in the collection deals specifically with the subject of bullying with classic Patterson flair.
7. Stand Up for Yourself & Your Friends: Dealing with Bullies & Bossiness and Finding a Better Way (American Girl) by Patti Kelley Criswell (Author) and Angela Martini (Illustrator)
Stand Up for Yourself is less fiction and more work and guide book with quotes, quizzes, and scenarios that help teens prepare for real-life bullying. It teaches young girls how to stand up for themselves and others with quick comebacks and by ignoring the bully among other situational appropriate responses.
Marlene is geared for the early reader and is enchanting, with Seussian rhyme and the comedic story of a playground bully. Written by Glee actress Jane Lynch, with help from clinical psychologist Lara Embry, this book teaches younger children how to stand up to bullies.
9. The Recess Queen by
O’Neill wittingly tells the story of a playground bully through rhyme and teaches young children how to handle conflict resolution through friendship, without involving adults.
Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun is the story of a young girl who is the object of a bully because she is a bit different. Through the story, she learns how to be herself and be kind to others, even if they’re not always kind to her.
There are a plethora of books out there on bullying, and rightfully so, as there is no one size fits all answer to the bully problem. Do you know of some great bully busting books? Share this article and get a great discussion going!
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Featured image via David Wolfe
h/t Reader’s Digest