According to statistics from the National Bullying Prevention Center, one out of every five kids has been bullied. It’s more important than ever to teach students about the negative effects of bullying and to do so as early as possible. With the help of our awesome teacher community, we compiled this list of anti-bullying books (organized from youngest to oldest) that address bullying, teasing, friendship, self-esteem, and more.
(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)
1. Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry
True friends stick up for one another, even when it’s a little bit scary.
Buy it: Stick and Stone at Amazon
2. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
Molly Lou is a unique individual, that’s for sure. But her grandmother has taught her well. So when a bully picks on Molly, she knows just what to do.
Buy it: Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon at Amazon
3. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Anti-bullying books are hard to find for the younger set, but Chrysanthemum is a popular picture book 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.
Buy it: Chrysanthemum at Amazon
4. A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems
Sometimes it’s terrifying to be the little guy on campus. Will Piggie and Gerald figure out a way to survive the playground bully?
Buy it: A Big Guy Took My Ball! at Amazon
5. One by Kathryn Otoshi
In this beautiful and spare picture book, author Otoshi tackles what it means to exclude a peer—and why it’s important to respect different personalities—in an artful and imaginative way.
Buy it: One at Amazon
6. The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill and Laura Huliska-Beith
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.
Buy it: The Recess Queen at Amazon
7. The Juice Box Bully by Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy
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 back instead of doing nothing when they witness bully confrontation.
Buy it: The Juice Box Bully at Amazon
8. Willow Finds a Way by Lana Button
When bully Kristabelle starts uninviting kids to her birthday party, shy, quiet Willow decides she’s had enough. Her simple act shocks everyone and changes the dynamic of the whole classroom.
Buy it: Willow Finds a Way at Amazon
9. I Walk With Vanessa by Kerascoët
This pictures-only storybook beautifully illustrates how one person’s kindness can inspire an entire community to stand up to bullying.
Buy it: I Walk With Vanessa at Amazon
10. You, Me and Empathy by Jayneen Sanders
A very helpful book for teaching children about empathy, feelings, kindness, compassion, tolerance, and recognizing bullying behaviors.
Buy it: You, Me and Empathy at Amazon
11. Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
Readers will learn about the benefits of making new friends in this book. When Jeremy Ross tries to get rid of his enemy, 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 worst enemy turns into his best friend!
Buy it: Enemy Pie at Amazon
12. My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig
Monica and Katie have been friends since kindergarten, but the older they get, the more confusing the friendship becomes. Monica can’t understand why Katie has started to exclude her and call her names.
Buy it: My Secret Bully at Amazon
13. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945, proving that anti-bullying books have been around for a long time. This book follows 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.
Buy it: The Hundred Dresses at Amazon
14. The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
This book sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children and reminds readers how small acts of kindness can help others feel included.
Buy it: The Invisible Boy at Amazon
15. No More Labels! by Denisha Cook and LaMonica Powers
With a focus on students with different abilities, this book teaches kids to build on their personal strengths, regardless of what labels—official or unofficial—the world puts on them.
Buy it: No More Labels! at Amazon
16. Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
There are many messages in this book that 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 being Maya’s friend—could have gone a long way.
Buy it: Each Kindness at Amazon
17. Bully by Patricia Polacco
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 one of our fave anti-bullying books for our increasingly digitally savvy students.
Buy it: Bully at Amazon
18. The Bully Book by Eric Kahn Gale
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.
Buy it: The Bully Book at Amazon
19. Blubber by Judy Blume
Like many of Blume’s novels, this one is enduringly relevant. While some of the references may elude young readers, the realistic ways kids speak and act—taking teasing too far until it escalates into physical bullying—make Blubber both a compelling story and an important look at the harm kids can do to one another.
Buy it: Blubber at Amazon
20. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
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 appearance.
Buy it: Wonder at Amazon
21. Restart by Gordon Korman
Prolific middle-grade author Korman steps into a bully’s shoes in this book. When Chase wakes up with a bump on his head and no memory of what he was like before his fall, he has to relearn who he was—and he’s not sure he likes what he discovers. Can he be a better person with this second chance?
Buy it: Restart at Amazon
22. Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham
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.
Buy it: Real Friends at Amazon
23. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Heroine Annabelle must find her courage to stand up to a cruel bully and lead by example in this poignant tale set in the United States during World War II.
Buy it: Wolf Hollow at Amazon
24. Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones
One of our favorite anti-bullying books, this 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.
Buy it: Dear Bully at Amazon
25. Tease by Amanda Maciel
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.
Buy it: Tease at Amazon
26. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Sixteen-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.
Buy it: Side Effects May Vary at Amazon
27. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
Two trans teens have to rely on each other as they navigate school and life. This is a great pick for cis gender teens and tweens to better understand the trans experience.
Buy it: The Art of Being Normal at Amazon
28. It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living edited by Dan Savage and Terry Miller
Centered on the LGBTQ+ experience, this bestseller includes testimonials and essays by famous and successful adults who struggled as adolescents. No matter who is reading, there is much to be gained from this collection.
Buy it: It Gets Better at Amazon
What are your favorite anti-bullying books? Come share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Also, check out our favorite books for teaching kindness.