Every teacher knows that the best way to prevent bullying is by talking about the problem and helping your kids learn how to forge healthier relationships with their peers. A book on the topic of bullying can be a great way to elicit a heartfelt discussion about bullying and the ways to prevent it. The following picks are great for teaching your kids empathy, kindness, and respect for others. So, without further adieu, pick a few and start reading your way to a more thoughtful classroom!
1. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
Stand Tall, Molly Lou is a wonderful book that can be used to start an important conversation with your kids about bullying. Molly Lou is different, but she doesn’t mind…that is until she moves schools. When she starts at a new school, her differences become a bit more of a challenge for her. Your kids are bound to love Molly Lou’s courage and clever solution to deal with a school bully.
2. My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig
This is a wonderful read to help your kids explore some of the finer nuances of bullying and relational aggression. Katie has been Monica’s friend since kindergarten—so why is she so mean to Monica sometimes? Bullying from friends can be the most challenging behavior to notice and prevent in your classroom, but Monica’s story of standing up for herself will help your students understand what to do if they find themselves in this situation.
3. Willow Finds a Way by Lana Button
When Willow and her friends have had enough of Kristabelle’s ongoing bullying, Willow takes control of the situation—but not the way your kids might be expecting. This accessible book will show your students how to find their own way and do the right thing to deal with a bossy or bullying classmate.
4. Bully by Patricia Polacco
In this timely choice, Patricia Polacco takes on cliques and online bullying. When new girl Lyla makes the cheerleading team, she soon realizes that the girls on the squad are not very nice and she won’t tolerate it. This is a powerful story about standing up for yourself and your friends- even when it seems impossible.
5. A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems
This installment of the ever-popular Elephant and Piggie series will teach your young children about bullying and misunderstandings. Gerald and Piggie will help your kids see that sometimes we can view certain actions as bullying behaviors—when really they were just a misunderstanding.
6. I Walk with Vanessa: A Picture Book Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoet
I Walk with Vanessa reminds us that kids who witness their friends being bullied don’t always know how to react or how to help. This beautiful picture book illustrates that there is power in numbers. Your kids will love interpreting the images to understand what happens when a child is being bullied and her community supports and protects her by walking her to school.
7. You, Me and Empathy by Jayneen Sanders
This charming picture book deals with an important life skill that every child should learn: empathy. Quinn, the main character in You, Me and Empathy, is a remarkable character who knows how to show love and understanding to others. The gentle use of Quinn as a role model is a simple way to illustrate kindness to your kids.
8. Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
Enemy Pie is a humorous book that provides a thoughtful lesson in the difficulties and rewards of making friends. It’s a wonderful read-aloud that follows the journey of a dad who helps his son turn a best enemy into a best friend.
9. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
When a poor Polish girl named Wanda is ridiculed for wearing the same dress every day, she claims that she had a hundred dresses at home—a story that no one believes and only earns her more scorn. But when Wanda is pulled out of school, her classmates understand the impact of their teasing; especially after Wanda’s father writes to the class and tells them more about his daughter. This book is the perfect way to bring up discussions about having the courage to speak against something you know is wrong.
10. Anger Tree by John H. Cary
Trevor Baker is a nine-year-old bully who gets in trouble with his mother, which leads him to storm out of his house. When Trevor meets the anger tree, he fights it at first, but soon calms down. The friendship that ensues between the boy and the tree leads to Trevor learning to deal with his anger. The Anger Tree will help your students see bullying from others’ perspectives while giving them valuable insights into their own emotional regulation.
11. The Bully Book: A Novel by Eric Kahn Gale
A unique take on bullying, The Bully Book is about a sixth grader who learns to stand up against bullies. When Eric is the target of bullying he discovers an instruction manual for how to become a bully—however, in his pursuit to find out who wrote it, he discovers a lot about himself.
12. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Wonder is about a boy named August who has facial deformities. He really just wants to be treated like everyone else as he is entering fifth grade, but his classmates struggle with his looks. Wonder delves into a variety of points of view, illustrating the nuanced and interconnected ways in which bullying can impact a community. Your kids—and you—will appreciate the insights that this book offers on the different aspects of bullying and overcoming it.
13. Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham
Read Friends is about the ever-changing dynamic of friendship as kids begin growing up and meeting new people. Shannon and Adrienne have been friends since they were little, but when Adrienne begins hanging out with the most popular girl at school, Shannon wonders if their friendship will last. This graphic novel is a good choice for your older readers who are ready for a look at how growing up can affect friendships.
14. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
This instant classic is about a girl named Annabelle who finds the courage to stand up for others in her community. Annabelle’s small town is quiet—until new student Betty arrives at school. Betty is a bully whose teasing escalates to include a local WWI veteran. Your students will be enthralled as Annabelle finds the courage to stand up for what’s right.
15. Tease by Amanda Maciel
Tease is a powerful read for older kids that reinforces the harsh impact of “simple teasing”. When a bullied student takes her own life, those who tormented her are criminally charged for her death. The story is a hard lesson of how teasing and bullying can go too far—in ways your students have probably never imagined.
16. The Bully Blockers Club by Teresa Bateman
Lotty Raccoon tries different ways to get her bully to stop, but nothing seems to work until she notices that others are getting bullied too. Lotty and the others form The Bully Blockers Club and take a stand against Grant’s bullying. This is a charming read that will get your kids thinking about simple ways they can stand up for those around them.
17. Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean by Jane Lynch
Marlene Marlene is a wonderful conversation starter for your class on how to deal with bullying. Marlene, the self-appointed queen of just about everything—who also happens to be very intimidating—meets her match in Freddy, who stands up to her and refuses to allow her to be a bully. The rhyming text and fun pictures will gently remind your kids of the importance of standing up for yourself and others.
18. Stand in My Shoes: Kids Learning About Empathy by Bob Sornson
Stand in My Shoes is a wonderful story about empathy, which is sometimes hard for young readers to understand. This book will teach your students about how noticing the feelings of others can help us to live better and happier.
19. The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand Up for Others by Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy
Join the journey of Pete, a new kid learning the power of empathy and kindness. Through relatable struggles and valuable lessons, The Juice Box Bully empowers children to take a stand against bullying. Together, Pete’s classmates create a culture of support- making this a must-read for your young readers.
20. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum the mouse faces teasing over her unique name but quickly learns to celebrate her individuality. The gentle guidance of her parents and teacher helps her find confidence and self-esteem. Chrysanthemum is a nurturing story that encourages embracing who you are and culminates in a heartfelt celebration of uniqueness and love.
21. One by Kathryn Otoshi
Bullying takes on a colorful perspective in One. The story follows personified colors to illustrate the dynamics of bullying, acceptance, and unity. With simplicity and depth, it teaches children about empathy and the power of actions. The profound message will surely resonate with readers of all ages.
22. Nobody Knew What to Do: A Story About Bullying by Becky Ray McCain
This insightful story explores the bystander effect- encouraging children to intervene against bullying. When Ray is bullied at school, sympathetic students notice and feel bad but don’t know how to solve the problem. As tensions escalate, the book’s narrator finally takes a stand and acts to prevent more hurt. Nobody Knew What to Do promotes empathy, responsibility, and the significance of helping others.
23. The Berenstain Bears and the Bully by Stan and Jan Berenstain
The Bear family is back- navigating the challenge of bullying from Too-Tall Grizzly. Throughout the read, Brother Bear learns strategies to cope and discovers the essence of empathy and understanding along the way. This engaging adventure is not only fun but full of wisdom for your young readers.
24. Llama Llama and the Bully Goat by Anna Dewdney
Llama Llama’s world is filled with learning and kindness. Facing teasing from Gilroy Goat, Llama Llama discovers resilience and empathy with his friends’ support. This charming tale will provide valuable lessons for your students on promoting kindness and handling bullying. The rhyming text and sweet pictures also make it an enjoyable and educational read for your little ones.
25. Trouble Talk by Trudy Ludwig
Maya learns a vital lesson in Trouble Talk, a poignant tale about the destructive power of rumors and negative words. This enlightening book urges children to use words responsibly and choose kindness. It’s a reflective story that will help your students think before they speak and offers guidance on positive communication. Trouble Talk is a cautionary yet empowering tale.
26. The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts
Sally’s observant eyes witness bullying around her school and prompt courageous acts of kindness. The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade emphasizes the power of small, brave deeds. It will foster a safe and inclusive environment in your classroom and inspire your children to make a difference. Sally’s quiet strength will show your kids that size doesn’t matter when it comes to changing the world!
27. The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
Brian’s tale is one of invisibility, friendship, and belonging. As a quiet boy is overlooked by his classmates, he finds companionship with a new student. The Invisible Boy beautifully illustrates the importance of inclusion and empathy. It’s a touching narrative that will remind your kids to reach out to those feeling left out.
28. Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
This beautifully illustrated tale highlights the impact of what we do—and what we don’t do. When Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girls, they learn about the lasting effects of their choices and missed opportunities; inspiring readers to be more compassionate. This thought-provoking story explores empathy’s deep consequences and will encourage your kids to reflect on their everyday actions.
29. Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage To Be Who You Are by Maria Dismondy
Lucy’s unique taste brings both teasing and triumph in Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun. Supported by her grandfather, Lucy learns to appreciate her individuality —and takes the opportunity to respond with kindness to the boy who has been bullying her. This delightful book promotes self-acceptance, courage, and empathy. Lucy’s story is an inspiring anthem for being true to oneself.
30. The Weird! Series by Erin Frankel
The Weird! Series is a versatile trio addressing bullying’s multifaceted nature. The trilogy recounts the age-old tale of a student being teased for being “weird.” Each book in the series focuses on the perspective of a different character—from the bullied victim to the bystander to the bully herself. Each book serves as an engaging conversation starter for your kids, and are great resources to help them put themselves in others’ shoes.
31. Just Kidding by Trudy Ludwig
The fine line between friendly teasing and hurtful behavior is explored in Just Kidding. DJ’s struggle with his friend’s hurtful jokes will teach your readers about communication and understanding. This relatable story emphasizes recognizing harmful behavior and finding ways to respond; culminating in a realistic depiction of childhood friendships and lessons learned.
32. Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry
Meet Stick and Stone- a charming duo that embodies true friendship. When bullying occurs, they stand up for each other, which will teach your children about loyalty and compassion in a memorable way. Talk about a loving lesson wrapped into a delightful story.
33. Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall
A metaphorical masterpiece, Red: A Crayon’s Story is about self-acceptance and individuality. The main character, Red, is a blue crayon who is mistakenly mislabeled as red. Well-meaning friends and family try to help him be red, but it’s no use. Red must eventually learn to embrace his true identity. This innovative book will help your kiddos see beyond superficial labels and celebrate personal discovery.
34. Don’t Laugh at Me by Steve Seskin and Allen Shamblin
Emphasizing empathy and dignity, Don’t Laugh at Me is a remarkable book that’s perfect for guiding young hearts. Through engaging narratives, your kids will learn about compassion, respect, and understanding. This is an insightful choice for any of your students who’ve ever been bullied—or have been bullies themselves.
35. The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill
Recess Queen is a lively tale where a bully named Mean Jean learns the joy of friendship. Katie Sue, a brave new girl, challenges Mean Jean’s reign, and their bond transforms the playground. This playful story is rich in humor and heart; illustrating the power of kindness for your young readers.
36. The Little Bully by Beth Bracken
In an underwater world, The Little Bully explores personal transformation through friendship and empathy. As Billy Bully learns from his mistakes and becomes a better fish, your kids will learn about redemption and personal growth.
37. Say Something by Peggy Moss
Calling all young advocates! Say Something is a vibrant call to action against bullying; emphasizing the importance of speaking up. Brilliant illustrations and a potent message make this book a rallying cry for kindness and inclusion. This read will undoubtedly inspire your children to be proactive and create positive change.