5 Picture Books about Bullying
Bullying is a primary concern of school-aged parents (and kids). You want your children to understand that treating everyone with respect is non-negotiable. You want them to know just what to do if they are ever bullied (or cyberbullied). Of course, you want to be sure your kids would never be involved in bullying others, even as part of a group, and that they will stand up for kids who are bullied as well.
Talking to your kids about bullying is the best place to begin. Teach them constructive ways to solve problems, instill empathy in them, and show them how to be assertive and set healthy boundaries for themselves.
Reading appropriate books with your young reader is a wonderful way to open the door to conversations and to provide examples on how to handle bullies. To help you out, we have gathered five perfect picture books that your kids will both learn from and enjoy:
The Recess Queen
by Alexis O'Neill
Mean Jean was Recess Queen. If anyone dared to cross her, Jean would push and hammer and kitz and kajammer them. Mean Jean was a bully who always, always, always got what she wanted.
That is, until Katie Sue arrived. Katie Sue was a new kid. At first glance, Katie Sue looked tiny and easily scared. When the recess bell rang though, Katie Sue went wild on the playground. She didn’t know she should be afraid of Mean Jean.
Mean Jean decided to set the record straight. She let Katie Sue know that nobody does anything at recess until she did. But not only did Katie Sue stand up to Mean Jean, she actually dared to ask her to play. What do you think happened next?
Your children will learn that sometimes other kids act like bullies because it is the only way they know to gain attention. Talk about the importance of making everyone feel included.
by Kevin Henkes
When she was born, Chrysanthemum’s parents carefully chose her name. They thought it was perfect. As the little mouse grew, she thought her name was absolutely perfect as well.
On her very first day of school, everyone laughed and made fun of Chrysanthemum’s name. She decided that the other kids were right. Her name was too long and very silly.
At the end of the day, she cried to her parents that she hated school and she hated her name. Her parents told her that her name was perfect, just like she was. They ate her favorite dinner and played a game together and she felt much better until the next day, when the other children teased her once more.
Although her parents tried hard to help her feel better, the mocking at school continued, until a kind and thoughtful teacher made a simple comment that changed everything.
Your kids will root for Chrysanthemum and cheer for Mrs. Twinkle, who finds a way to help put a stop to the bullying.
Hooway for Wodney Wat
by Helen Lester
The little rat’s real name was Rodney, but because he couldn’t say his Rs, he called himself Wodney. Wodney Wat. His classmates thought it quite funny to make him say words that began with an R. Wodney felt howwible.
When Camilla Capybara joined the class, she intimidated all of the other kids. She was bigger, smarter and louder than any of them.
Wodney alone is able to make Camilla look silly and even make her go away, which causes the other kids to realize he isn’t weird. Wodney is wonderful.
You can wrap up this cute book by talking to your children about how differences make us unique and special, and that it is never okay to make fun of someone for being different.
Bootsie Barker Bites
by Barbara Bottner
The mother of the little girl narrating this story is best friends with Mrs. Barker. When Mrs. Barker comes to visit, she brings her daughter Bootsie along. Even though the little girl tells her mother that she doesn’t like to play with Bootsie, her mother says she should try to get along with everyone.
Bootsie is not very nice. She yells, pushes, and chases the little girl around the room when their mothers are not looking.
When her mother tells her that Bootsie will be spending the night while Mr. and Mrs. Barker are out of town, the little girl narrating is horrified. She imagines being rushed to the hospital with bite marks. She finally bursts out to her mother that Bootsie plays too roughly.
At her mother’s gentle suggestion, she stands up to Bootsie and tells her she doesn’t want to play that way. And guess what? It works!
Your kids will discover that they can be brave and assertive without being mean or bossy. They will also learn that you cannot make everyone happy, but that doesn’t mean you should give in when you are uncomfortable with something.
Willy the Champ
by Anthony Browne
Even though he tried, Willy wasn’t very good at soccer, bike racing, or swimming. The others even laughed at him when he went to the movies with his friend Millie.
One day, the big, bad bully Buster Nose approached Willy and the other boys. All of the boys ran away. Well, all of the boys except Willy.
Now, to be fair, he wasn’t actually trying to hurt Buster, but Willy became the accidental champ. He learned that by simply being himself, refusing to run away, and standing up for himself, he could be very good at something. Moreover, he never had to be afraid of any bullies.
Talking with your kids about what bullying looks like. Discuss different scenarios such as those described in these wonderfully illustrated picture books and chat about some ways to handle them. Arming your kids with knowledge and skills plus letting them know you are always in their corner can help ensure your children never become victims of bullies.
What are some children’s books you’ve read with the kids that discuss bullying? Share your favorites with us!
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