Children often do not know what bullying is when they see or experience it for the first time. It is important to make them aware of the different forms that it takes and to let them know that they can talk to you about it.
Picture books about bullying can help children identify it when they see it or when it happens to them. Giving them the words will help them approach you and tell you about it.
When talking to your children about bullying with the help of books, you are giving them concrete ideas on what they can do – to ask for help, to empathize with others, and to stand up to the bully.
More importantly, reading books about bullies and bullying situations can help you teach your child about acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.
Here are ten books about bullying that can help you start a discussion about this issue with your child. All are available at local bookstores.
1. Crickwing by Janell Cannon
Available at TheLearningBasket.com, P100
For ages 6 to 9
Crickwing, so named because of his twisted wing, is often a target of bigger and stronger creatures. He plans to extract revenge on the world by bullying the industrious ants he sees around him. But the colony drags him into their anthill and prepares to hand him over to the army ants as a peace offering. What happens next is a story of kindness being repaid with kindness.
This amusing story of a sassy cockroach and a colony of ants matched with fabulous illustrations will surely delight young children. Like in the Janell Shannon’s previous works Stellaluna and Verdi, this book also has accompanying factual notes on cockroaches and ants. A masterpiece!
2. Stop Picking On Me: A First Look at Bullying by Pat Thomas
Available at TheLearningBasket.com, P 85
For ages 4 and up
In this book, children can see from the safety of their living room what a bully is and what makes one tick. For those who have already experienced being bullied, they will be able to relate with the emotions depicted by the illustrations.
Pat Thomas’ “A First Look At” book series is exceptional at helping parents talk to their children about difficult issues such as death, respecting others, racism, disability, sibling rivalry, anger, and many more.
3. Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie de Paola
Available at TheLearningBasket.com, P85
For ages 4 to 8
The other boys pick on Oliver Button because he doesn’t like sports and prefers to read, paint, jump rope, and dance! Even his dad thinks that he should pursue more “boy activities” and leave the dancing to the girls. But still, he persists and joins a talent competition.
With Tomie de Paola’s signature relatable writing and illustrations, this book shines in showing young readers that it is okay to be different and to pursue your own interests.
4. Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl by Jane O’Connor
Available at Fully Booked Online, P144.40
For ages 4 to 8
“Fancy Nancy” is a children’s books series featuring Nancy, an elegant girl with a fancy vocabulary. In this book for beginning readers, it is revealed that running is not one of Nancy’s many talents. Being a very slow runner, she becomes the target of a mean athletic girl during her school’s Field Day.
“Fancy Nancy” shows readers how words can be hurtful and how we can be gentle and kind even to those who are mean to us.
5. Do You Have a Secret? by Jennifer Mallinos
Available at Fully Booked Online,P336
For ages 4 to 7
There are two kinds of secrets, one is fun and good, and the other makes you feel bad inside. Do You Have A Secret? explores these two kinds of secrets in a way young children can understand.
As some children tend to keep things to themselves, it is important to help them differentiate a good secret, like a surprise gift, and a bad secret, like bullying.