Has your child had to deal with a bully?
Kids aren’t born knowing how to handle bullies – or how to handle a friend who turns into a bully. If you know a child struggling with another kid’s bad behavior, these stories can help him or her feel less alone – and help you both talk about the situation and possible ways to deal with it.
Note: These picture books are aimed at parents with younger elementary school age children. For more parenting resources, check our catalog for books about bullying, and the Arlington Public Schools resources on dealing with bullying.
By Jacqueline Woodson
Chloe doesn’t want to be friends with the new girl, Maya. When Maya smiles at her, Chloe moves her chair away. When someone teases Chloe about her new friend, she whispers, “She’s not my friend.” Their teacher, Ms. Albert, shows them how a stone dropped in water produces ripples, saying that each kindness is like that stone, creating growing circles of kindness. Every day after, Chloe is determined to start her own ripples of kindness with Maya. But when Maya doesn’t come back to school, Chloe realizes that kindnesses not done sends ripples too. This is a delicate story about the fragility of friendship and finds that balance between teaching a lesson, while leaving enough unsaid for children draw their own conclusions.
by Margery Cuyler
Jessica is a nervous first-grader who stresses over everything–her mis-matched socks, her skinny legs, her shyness in class. Unfortunately, Brenda, the perfect, popular girl in class, has also noticed Jessica’s shortcomings and takes the time to deliver small, deliberate jabs that make Jessica feel tinier and tinier. When her mom makes an unwitting mistake that again draws Brenda’s attention, Jessica knows she has had enough and finds a way stand up for herself.
by Hannah Shaw
Weasel is rich and powerful, and hurt a lot of the other forest animals to get that way. When he throws a party in celebration of himself and no one comes, he decides to find out why, forcing him to reflect upon how he has treated others. This book has vivid illustrations and a great message–without being too heavy-handed–for kids who are trying to figure out how to be kind.
by Claire Alexander
Lucy is an adorable lamb who has a talent with art. Tommy is an angry bovine who is jealous of the attention that Lucy gets for her artwork, and so proceeds to destroy all of Lucy’s hard work. Lucy’s mother intervenes, and though things get better for Lucy at school, she also notices that things get a lot harder for Tommy. Feeling sorry for him, Lucy extends an olive branch, sparking a startling friendship.
by Bob Hartman
A troll hides in the playground to ambush and steal from his fellow students. One day, he pulls his stunt on the new kid (pun intended), a scrawny goat who has the nerve to tell him to wait until his brother gets there because he has much more to steal. The troll foolishly agrees to each of the goats’ pleas to wait for a greater reward from the next brother goat, until the last one gives the bullying troll a surprise that will stop the troll’s mean ways.
More Library resources for kids returning to school:
- Back to School Tips for Parents
- Picture Books for Anxious Students (and Parents)
- Picture Books for New Friendships