October was National Bullying Prevention Month and schools across the nation joined in the STOMP Out Bullying program. The goal of this program is to encourage communities across the country to work together in putting an end to bullying and cyberbullying by increasing awareness of the impact bullying has on children of all ages.  

We know the impact books have in our lives, as well as our children’s lives, so we thought it would be great to put together a list of books that teach children about how to deal with and prevent bullying.  These are our top choices:

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

This book is about a little girl named Chrysanthemum, who is happy with her name until she starts school and the teasing begins.  She wilts and life at school isn’t what she thought it would be, until Chrysanthemum and the other children are introduced to their music teacher, Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle.  It’s a lovely story about self-esteem and acceptance.

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Chloe feels as though she has missed an opportunity when her teacher gives a lesson about how small acts of kindness can change the world.  Chloe thinks back on the new girl, Maya, and how she and her friends rejected her when she first came to their school. Maya hasn’t been in school lately, and now Chloe feels as though she has lost an opportunity to make a new friend.  What will she do about it? Read Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson to find out.

Anger Tree by John Cary

An angry nine-year-old boy takes his aggression out on everyone around him, but when his mom takes away his television privileges, he runs out to the only thing that can brave his tantrum: He attacks a large maple tree- called his Anger Tree –  that reaches up to his second-story bedroom window until he is exhausted.  The tree and him become friends and he reads to it so the tree can give him advice.  This is a great story about working through your anger and finding ways to overcome it.

Blubber by Judy Blume

Fifth grade is a great year to teach kids about bullying just for the sole purpose of the middle school years being so close.  Blubber by Judy Blume is about a fifth grade girl who gets made fun of for doing a “boring” report on whales.  It’s a great introduction to teasing, which ultimately leads to bullying if left unchecked.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Everyone knows Wonder by R.J. Palacio from the major motion picture, but it began with a book that detailed the story of a young boy with a facial difference.  His difference prevented him from going to school for a few years, but in fifth grade it was decided that he would begin school and he hoped that he would be treated just like everyone else  This story follows the trials and tribulations of being different and how you can rise above anything that is thrown at you with the support of your family and friends.

The Bully Book by Eric Kahn Gale

Bullying has been an issue for as long as humans have interacted and The Bully Book by Eric Kahn Gale details the author’s experience with bullying when he was 11 years old.  The main character in the book is Eric Haskins and he tries to figure out why he has been made the target of bullies and what he discovers is not at all what he expects.

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick

This story tells the tale of an unlikely friendship between a large, strong boy that has been labeled ‘stupid’ and a small-framed boy named Freak that has an abnormally large brain.  Together, they not only make up Freak the Mighty, but they prove that friendship can be attained no matter the differences between two people.

Bully by Patricia Polacco

Remember being in high school and dealing with the pressures of being popular?  Lyla deals with that as she befriends Jamie, but then finds herself on the cheerleading team with a whole new group of friends.  Her new friends decide to viciously tease people on Facebook and Lyla steps away from them, but her new group of friends don’t plan on stopping and they are out for revenge.  Read Bully by Patricia Polacco to find out what happens next.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is a story about Hannah, a young girl who ends her life, but not before explaining the 13 reasons why she decided to do it.  The first reason is discovered two weeks after her death when Clay Jensen come home from school to find a package with his name on it on is front porch.  In it, is a cassette tape with Hannah’s voice explaining that there were 13 reasons why she decided to commit suicide and Clay was one of them, but he has to listen to the cassette to find out why.

Need to talk? Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) anytime if you are in the United States. It’s free and confidential.

Tease by Amanda Maciel

This is a story of a classmate’s suicide and the role the main character plays in it.  Sara Wharton, her best friend, and a few other classmates are facing criminal charges for bullying after a classmate commits suicide. Already guilty in the eyes of the public, Sara has to take a long, hard look at who she is and the actions she has taken to get her where she is.  This is a story of reflection in the face of a horrible tragedy.

Here are a few ways kids can make a difference:

1.) Make friends with someone you don’t know at school

If you were ever the new kid in school, or if you have ever been isolated, than you know it took time to make new friends and you also know what it feels like to be left out.  Imagine how nice it would be if someone took the time to get to know you, and make you a friend. If you can be that person to someone else, you will have made a difference in the life of another.  Be a leader and take it upon yourself to help someone who is being left out or isolated in school!

2.) Challenge yourself and others to be kind

Just like any popular Youtube video that goes viral, you can make kindness go viral too, by challenging your friends to respond to others in a kind manner.  Get creative and make a video about how you and your classmates show kindness to others and submit it to your school! There are so many ways to show kindness to others around you… find a way!  

3.) Treat Your Classmates with Respect

We all remember the Golden Rule: “Do Unto Others,” so be sure to apply it with your classmates and show them the same respect you would like them to show you.  Think before you act and whether your actions or words would be upsetting if someone treated you that way. Remember, these are common courtesies that will carry through into adulthood!   

4.) Stand Up For Others

If you see someone being bullied, it is so important to stand up for them.  Be brave because, more often than not, bullies will back down when someone stands up for their victims.  But remember, if for any reason you don’t feel safe, get the help of an adult immediately.

Bullying Prevention Month is a time to celebrate differences, but it’s not the only time you should do so. The more awareness you can create during this month, and the rest of the year for that matter, brings you one step closer to putting an end to bullying.  Oh, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #HereForYou on social media to let your fellow classmates know that they have your support!

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