Help your youngsters better understand what a bully is, bullying tactics, and how to prevent them by reading books that focus on empathy, inclusion, kindness, conflict resolution, and confidence.
Here are our favorite anti-bullying books that are perfect for kids in Pre-K through early elementary school.
1. Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon
Be yourself like Molly Lou Melon no matter what a bully may do. Molly Lou Melon is short and clumsy, has buck teeth, and has a voice that sounds like a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor. She doesn’t mind. Her grandmother has always told her to walk proud, smile big, and sing loud, and she takes that advice to heart. But then Molly Lou has to start in a new school. A horrible bully picks on her on the very first day, but Molly Lou Melon knows just what to do about that.
2. We’re All Wonders
Countless fans have asked R. J. Palacio to write a book for younger readers. Palacio shows readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid but is not always seen that way. We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children.
3. The Juice Box Bully
Have you ever seen a bully in action and done nothing about it? The kids at Pete’s new school get involved, instead of being bystanders. When Pete begins to behave badly, his classmates teach him about “The Promise”. Will Pete decide to shed his bullying habits and make “The Promise”?
4. Kindness Starts With You
Follow Maddy through her day at school, where your child will learn how easy it can be to spread kindness. From taking turns on the swing to including everyone in the game – this storybook shows that no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted! A lightbulb lesson of kindness is found on each page!
5. Stick and Stone
When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair becomes fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favor? Author Beth Ferry makes a memorable debut with a warm, rhyming text that includes a subtle anti-bullying message even the youngest reader will understand. In this funny story about kindness and friendship, Stick and Stone join George and Martha, Frog and Toad, and Elephant and Piggie, as some of the best friend duos in children’s literature.
Chrysanthemum is a funny and honest school story about teasing, self-esteem, and acceptance to share all year round. Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect—until her first day of school. “You’re named after a flower!” teases Victoria. “Let’s smell her,” says Jo. Chrysanthemum wilts. What will it take to make her blossom again? Chrysanthemum is a classic that gets children thinking about and bonding with their own names and the names of everyone else in the class, and it’s the perfect vehicle for starting a discussion about treating classmates with tolerance, kindness, and compassion.
In this follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Pinkalicious, a young girl remains true to herself and discovers that pink isn’t only a pretty color, but also a powerful one. While everyone knows Pinkalicious’s favorite color is pink, the bullies at her new school don’t agree. All the girls are wearing black, painting in black, and making fun of Pinkalicious for loving pink. “Pink is for babies and stinks!” they tell her. Pinkalicious feels left out until she learns that pink can be a powerful color, and that the most important thing is to be yourself.
8. Monty the Manatee
Meet Monty. He’s a big creature with an even bigger heart. Monty’s nervous because it’s his first day at Sea School. He tries to make new friends but the other sea creatures think he’s a bit slow and strange….so they’re mean to him and call him names! When a dangerous predator invades the classroom and threatens to eat them all for his supper, Monty comes up with a plan. Is he brave or clever enough to save them all? The other creatures don’t think he is.
9. Empathy is Your Super Power
Learning to understand and care about the feelings of others is one of the most important steps in a child’s development―and it’s never too early to help little ones build those skills. This beautifully illustrated storybook teaches young kids how to recognize and practice empathy through simple real-life scenarios that are easy for them to understand. It’s written with clear language for adults to read aloud and features discussion questions and activities that encourage kids to talk about what they learned and use it in their lives.
Blue is a quiet color. Red’s a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see, but what can they do? When no one speaks up, things get out of hand — until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other’s differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.
11. It’s OK to be Different
Every Child is Unique! Whether they are big or small, short or tall, like to swim, dance, sing, or bike. Perhaps they have a special need or are from a different ethnic background. Maybe they wear glasses or talk differently. The truth is that all children are different and their individuality should be celebrated, not bullied or shunned. And this inspiring and brightly illustrated rhyming picture book does just that. By highlighting the ways kids are different from one another, it helps children to accept themselves and others as the beautifully unique individuals that they are.
12. Enemy Pie
It was the perfect summer. That is, until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street and became neighborhood enemy number one. Luckily Dad had a surefire way to get rid of enemies: Enemy Pie. But part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the enemy! In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipe for turning a best enemy into a best friend.
13. The Recess Queen
Mean Jean was Recess Queen and nobody said any different. Nobody swung until Mean Jean swung. Nobody kicked until Mean Jean kicked. Nobody bounced until Mean Jean bounced. If kids ever crossed her, she’d push ’em and smoosh ’emlollapaloosh ’em, hammer ’em, slammer ’emkitz and kajammer ’em. Until a new kid came to school! With her irrepressible spirit, the new girl dethrones the reigning recess bully by becoming her friend in this infectious playground romp.
14. Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun
Lucy has big hair, eats fun foods and is teased by a boy named Ralph at school because she is different. She tries to be brave but she wishes the teasing would stop. What should I do? she asks herself over and over. Lucy’s Papa Gino reminds her to do the right thing and treat people with kindness. So when Ralph gets stuck on the playground and needs help, will Lucy use this chance to teach Ralph a lesson? Or will she have the courage to be true to herself and make the right choice with an act of kindness?
15. Llama Llama and the Bully Goat
Llama Llama is learning lots of new things at school and making many friends. But when Gilroy Goat starts teasing him and some of their classmates, Llama Llama isn’t sure what to do. And then he remembers what his teacher told him—walk away and tell someone. It works! But then Llama Llama feels badly. Can he and Gilroy try to be friends again?
What are your favorite anti-bullying books for young readers? Tell us in the comments below!
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