14 Must-Read Anti-Bullying Books for Kids

Bullying and cyberbullying is a difficult topic for everyone–students, parents, and teachers, and it’s an increasing issue in classrooms statewide. In fact, 1 out of 4 teens are bullied and 1 out of 5 kids admit to being a bully. […]

Bullying and cyberbullying is a difficult topic for everyone–students, parents, and teachers, and it’s an increasing issue in classrooms statewide. In fact, 1 out of 4 teens are bullied and 1 out of 5 kids admit to being a bully. What’s even more startling is that 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools…each month.

With these statistics, it’s more important than ever to teach students about the negative effects of bullying, early-on. With the help of our awesome teacher community, we compiled these anti-bullying books (organized from youngest to oldest) that address teasing, friendship, self-esteem and more.

1. Chrysanthemum

By Kevin Henkes
Grades: Preschool-3

A popular picture book, Chrysanthemum is a story about teasing, self-esteem and acceptance. It has sold more than a million copies and was named a Notable Book for Children by the American Library Association.

2. The Recess Queen

By Alexis O’neill, Illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith
Grades: Preschool-3
The Recess Queen

Mean Jean is the recess queen, and it isn’t until a new girl becomes her friend that recess dynamics change for the better. This book is ideal for addressing bullying that can be resolved without adult intervention.

3. The Juice Box Bully

By Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy
Grades: Preschool-5
The Juice Box Bully

One of the best things kids can do to combat bullying is to stand up for one another, which is exactly what The Juice Box Bully is about. Students will learn how to have each other’s backs instead of doing nothing when they witness bully confrontation.

4. Enemy Pie

By Derek Munson
Grades: Preschool-7
enemy pie

Readers will learn about the benefits of making new friends in this book. When Jeremy Ross tries to get rid of enemies, his dad comes to the rescue. The catch? The only way for Jeremy to succeed is to spend an entire day playing with the enemy. Soon, his best enemy turns into his best friend!

5. Each Kindness

By Jacqueline Woodson
Grades: Kindergarten-3
Each Kindness Book

This book has a powerful anti-bullying message and follows the story of Chloe, who won’t let the new girl, Maya, play with her and her friends. Eventually Maya stops coming to school and Chloe realizes that a small act of kindness–like giving Maya friendship–could have gone a long way.

6. The Hundred Dresses

By Eleanor Estes
Grades: 1-4
The Hundred Dresses

The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. It addresses a classmate who is ridiculed by bullies for wearing the same dress to school every day, while other students stand by and do nothing to help.

7. The Invisible Boy

By Trudy Ludwig
Grades: 1-4
The Invisible Boy

This book sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children and reminds readers how small acts of kindness can help other children to feel included.

8. Bully

By Patricia Polacco
Grades: 2-5

Here’s a book that takes on cyberbullying and cliques. When students begin teasing classmates on Facebook, Lyla knows something needs to be done. This is a perfect read for our increasingly digitally-savvy students.

9. The Bully Book

By Eric Kahn Gale
Grades: 3-7
The Bully Book

This book pulls from actual events as the author loosely recounts what it was like when he was bullied in sixth grade. It incorporates both sides of bullying and addresses this ongoing issue in the lives of middle-schoolers.

10. Wonder

By R.J. Palacio
Grades: 4-6
Wonder Book

This uplifting novel follows August Pullman to fifth grade, which is his first time entering a mainstream school. August was born with a facial deformity so he’ll have to convince his classmates that he is normal, just like them, despite his appearances.

11. Thirteen Reasons Why

By Jay Asher
Grades: 7 and up
Thirteen Reasons Why

This powerful novel addresses bullying that leads to suicide. The main character, Clay, sees everything differently at the end of the novel when he realizes why Hannah Baker, his classmate, committed suicide, and why she wanted Clay to understand what happened to her.

12. Dear Bully

By Dawn Metcalf
Grades: 8 and up
Dear Bully Book

This book is a must-read for teens. Today’s top young adult authors contributed 70 heartfelt stories about bullying in this collection–from being a bystander, to a victim, to a bully themselves. The book also includes resources and suggestions for further reading.

13. Tease

By Amanda Maciel
Grades: 9 and up

This story is about a teenage girl who faces criminal charges for bullying after a classmate commits suicide. Now she’s under attack as her peers, the community and the media berate her for causing such a tragic event.

14. Side Effects May Vary

By Julie Murphy
Grades: 9 and up
Side Effects May Vary

16-year-old Alice decides to settle the score with classmates after she is diagnosed with leukemia. Knowing she only has a few months left to live, she figures if she gets even and hurts people for the things they’ve done in the past, it won’t matter in the future. To her surprise, she goes into remission and has to face the consequences of all she has said and done.

15. Real Friends by Shannon Hale

What happens when your best friend since forever starts hanging out with the “popular” crowd? A story about how hard it is to find your real friends in life, but how the journey is worth it.

16. You, Me and Empathy by Jayneen Sanders

A very helpful book for teaching children about empathy, feelings, kindness, compassion, tolerance and recognizing bullying behaviors.

17. Anger Tree by John Cary

A poignant chapter book that tells the story of a neighborhood bully who is transformed by a strong, unyielding maple. The lessons the boy learns along the way will inspire thoughtful conversations about anger, self-worth and self-control.

We know there are TONS more books available about this very important topic. What books should we add to our list? List them in the comments below! 

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Posted by Danielle N. Barr

Danielle Barr is the director of social strategy at WeAreTeachers and loves being a part of the thriving teacher community online. She's a writer, reader & dog-lover, who spends her free time renovating her 1920s bungalow.

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