Bullying seems to be a pervasive problem in every school. Sometimes it seems that no matter what we do, the problem continues or gets worse. One effective way I found to deal with bullying, is to address it head-on using different picture books. Not only are the books engaging and entertaining, they also simply lay out what bullying looks like and how it makes the other person feel. I found that books on bullying helped to build empathy among my students. I’m going to list 10 of my favorite books on bullying that you (probably) haven’t heard of, and 10 we all know and love.
Keep reading to the end to grab a freebie you can start using right away in your classroom!
I love this book because it talks specifically about exclusive as a form of bullying. This little boy isn’t invited to birthday parties or to play games at recess. It shows how important inclusion can be and how small acts of kindness can go a long way.
This book works great for younger students. It uses colors and numbers to show that “everyone counts”. I like this book because it is very visual and uses vibrant colors to get it’s message across.
I LOVE this book because it clearly explains what empathy means and what it looks like. This book helps students notice what other people are feeling and how the actions of others would make them feel.
I love the illustrations in this book. It’s a story about someone who doesn’t fit in and is bullied because of it. The apple becomes friends with a worm and then becomes bullied because of it. Mac the apple decides “he’d rather be a bad apple with his friend, than a sad apple without.”
This is a cute rhyming story about friends helping each other in bad situations. This book touches on the point of standing up for someone in need and not just being a bystander. The illustrations are also adorable.
I can’t even begin to explain how much I love this book by Jacqueline Woodson. This book went straight to the heart of my 3rd graders. It shows exactly what it’s like to have everyone be mean to you and that there are consequences for being cruel to someone else. The ending is also very different from most books your students will have read before. You can have great discussions and touch on some important points with this book.
I really like how this book explains the difference between teasing and bullying. It shows that not everything that every person does is bullying and what to do in each situation.
This is another great Llama Llama book. It helps students see what to do when bullying happens: walk away and tell someone. It’s a good reminder on how to handle tough situations.
This book is about a shy Japanese boy who is having trouble adjusting to school and is “misjudged by his classmates.” It’s about a boy who is an outcast and how he always plays alone. It’s a great read to build a classroom culture of inclusion and kindness.
Choose kind. The best-selling children’s novel has now been turned into a picture book. The illustrations are wonderful and the message is just as strong. This book is a great discussion starter and really helps students to see that different isn’t bad.
This last book made me realize how important it is that we give our students a kind and empathetic viewpoint. Many students in our room feel different and out of place. If we can show our students that everyone feels different and that kindness matters, our students will help create an environment of inclusion and empathy.
I created some free printable activities to go along with the We’re All Wonders book.
These pages help your students recognize what makes them special and unique. They can draw themselves on a banner and write words or phrases that describe them. These banners create a beautiful hallway or bulletin board display when hung together in rows!
I also love to tie in writing whenever I can. Letting your students process what makes them unique and then writing it down, can be powerful. These pages can be compiled into a class book for reference throughout the entire year.
By using these pages in your room, You’ll be creating a room that is empathetic, understanding, and purposeful in their interactions with others.
Other books I love to teach about kindness and empathy:
PEACE, LOVE, AND STICKY NOTES