It’s always been important to teach kids about bullying, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Childhood can be the most delicate and brutal times in our lives. But at the same time, kids are some of the most resilient people on the planet.
Teaching kids about bullying when they’re still young can help them know what to expect when they are with their peers, and how to react when someone says something hurtful. Having the bullying conversation early and often means kids will learn to stand up for their friends, and will begin developing and honing their own identities and inner strength.
While it seems like every middle grade book is about bullying, it may be tougher to find a book about dealing with bullies for younger grades. To that end, we’ve found a few great books for younger kids that teach about the value of diversity and kindness in style.
As the author explains, “just because the Zombie Apocalypse has come and gone doesn’t mean that zombie kids don’t deal with human, kid-like issues, too!”
In this brightly colored book, zombie kids stand up for the new girl, teaching young readers that standing by and toughing it out isn’t good enough. As a bonus, there’s a hidden spider kids can look for on each page.
A percentage of proceeds from the sale of Zombie Squirts will be donated to Project Anti-Bully to help spread the good word that kids are strong, but words can hurt.
Blue was a quiet color.
He enjoyed looking up at the sky,
floating on the waves,
and on days he felt daring…
splashing in rain puddles.
Overall, he liked being Blue…
except when he was with Red.
This beautiful minimalist book uses simple poetic verse to get the message across that each one of us counts while exposing kids to an abstract aesthetic. Rather than being given faces, the bullies and heroes are colors and numbers, encouraging kids to use their imaginations to apply the story to their own lives.
Eddie Longpants is big. Really big. He has long legs and huge feet and gangly arms that dangle down from his soulders and bump into everything. Every day at school, his classmates find new ways to bully him. One day they call him a giraffe, the next a flagpole or a stepladder. When things get too painful, he takes refuge under his favorite tree.
Eddie Longpants is so tall, in fact, that the book has to be read vertically so Eddie can fit in the page, making the book itself something different. Eddie is tormented at school every day, until his classmates learn to appreciate him.
Yoko’s mother spread steamed rice on a bamboo mat. She rolled up a secret treasure inside each piece. Then she packed it all in a willow-covered cooler.
When Yoko brings sushi to school in , everyone begins to tease her. Finally, the bravest and most curious kids try some, and learn an important lesson about acceptance. Parents of picky eaters might find a bonus lesson in this one.
Through the playground we jousted, a chivalrous pair,
Till we bumped into three other knights standing there.
One of them sneered, ‘Well what have we here?’
And I looked at the dragon, whose eyes filled with fear.
Dragons, homemade costumes and imaginative play will start your kid’s love of fantasy early while opening up the discussion about how to deal with bullies in this whimsical, rhyming picture book.
In Bus Ride Bully, Gavin hates riding the bus because Max picks on him and eats his snacks (we’ve all been there, Gavin). When Max doesn’t show up on the bus for a few days, Gavin does the good guy thing and visits him at his house to see if he’s alright. We learn that Max isn’t exactly who we thought he was, which opens up a discussion for you and your kids about why bullies are so mean.
As an added bonus, this unique book also offers a primer on the first few pages on how to read graphic novels.
If you’d like to check out further anti-bullying resources, here’s the American Library Association’s list of organizations and campaigns who can help.