Children may be picked by their peers for countless reasons, including having a peanut, tree nut, or other food allergy.
Though parents and school personnel are working to stop the harassment, bullying continues. The experience is painful and confusing for the victims, the witnesses, and ultimately the bullies.
Thankfully, stories are powerful teachers and excellent discussion provokers. The right tale can make things clear to children and adults as nothing else can. Here are a few book suggestions that you and your child might enjoy and benefit from.
Six Children’s Books That Address Bullying
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, by Patty Lovell. The heroine of this story is short, clumsy, buck-toothed, and has a funny sounding voice, but her grandmother always told her to believe in herself. “Sing out clear and strong and the world will cry tears of joy,” advised Molly’s grandmother. Molly took her grandmother’s wisdom to heart, but it is put to the test when she moves to a new town, attends and new school, and is harassed by a bully.
Spaghetti In a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage To be Who You Are, by Maria Dismondy. This book’s messages are that being yourself is absolutely awesome, and you do not have to bully back to be a winner. Lucy rises above her bully by listening to her grandfather’s wisdom. He said, “Remember, when you treat others with love and kindness, you are doing the right thing.”
One, by Kathryn Otoshi. In this gem of a book, the “hothead” color red picks on the other colors: quiet blue, sunny yellow, bright green, and regal purple. Then, One comes along. No matter what the color red says, One does not back down—and shows the other colors how to stand together and be counted. Even quiet blue eventually finds his voice and understands his worth.
Stop Picking on Me (A First Look At), by Pat Thomas. The book’s author is an experienced psychologist and counselor, and the book’s purpose is to facilitate interaction between children, parents, and teachers. The story validates children’s feelings, teaches kids what makes bullies tick, how to protect themselves, that it is okay to tell someone, and confide in those who love them.
The Survival Guide To Bullying, by Aija Mayrock. This book is written for teens by a peer who suffered bullying in middle and high school, turning the painful situation into a positive growth experience. Beside the practical advice offered, this book helps people realize they have power over their own thoughts, and that power can be used to change circumstances. The Survival Guide was recently updated with new content including an added chapter about talking to parents.
The Hundred Dresses, by Eleanor Estes. In 1945, The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor and has been in print since then. The story is about Wanda Petronski who is taunted in school because she wears the same faded blue dress each day, and about Maddie who does not follow her gut instinct and stand up for Wanda. When Wanda’s mother pulls her daughter out of school it is too late for apologies, and Maddie must deal with her inaction on Wanda’s behalf. This is a beautifully illustrated, deeply compassionate book that stimulates conversation about doing what we feel is right.