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Tween

Bullies Be Gone! 15 Middle Grade Books on Bullying

by Dena McMurdie

Photo credit: fstop123, E+ Collection/Getty Images

Most kids will experience bullying at some level during their school years – either as a victim, bully, bystander, or friend. These fifteen books deal with various forms of bullying and offer insight, hope, humor, and inspiration. They’re great reads for kids who’ve faced bullying, or any kid looking to understand their classmates and themselves a bit better.

  • Wonder

    by R.J. Palacio

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    Wonder delivers the experience of August Pullman, both from his point of view and the point of view of those close to him. Sometimes humorous and sometimes tear jerking, Wonder is the heartfelt story of a boy with a deformed face and a big heart. His journey will make you laugh, cry, and cheer.

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  • Starfish

    by Lisa Fipps

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    This empowering and beautiful novel in verse is an excellent story about bullying and self-acceptance. It’s about a girl named Ellie who gets bullied about her weight and her emotional journey to improve her self-esteem. As her courage and confidence grow, so does her ability to shake off the cruel comments of others.

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  • Twerp

    by Mark Goldblatt

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    Even regular kids can make huge mistakes. Told from the bully’s point of view, Twerp offers its readers a glimpse into life in middle school – peer pressure, humor, and the unbearable guilt that comes from doing something horrible to someone else. It’s about growing up and making restitution for the wrongs you’ve done.

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  • Superpowered

    by Renee Jain and Dr. Shefali Tsabary

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    Bullying can take many forms and can result in anxiety and depression in children. One way to help your child become bully-resistant is by showing them how to manage stress and build confidence. This bestselling book offers kids the tools they need to overcome their insecurities and find their inner superheroes. It’s a must-have for every teen and pre-teen!

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  • The Saturday Boy

    by David Fleming

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    This book gives a different perspective on bully/victim relationships, one where nobody is completely innocent or entirely helpless. Derek and Budgie used to be best friends, and they are still good friends – when no one else is around. Derek learns a lot about himself, Budgie, and the changing dynamics in their friendship.

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  • Amal Unbound

    by Aisha Saeed

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    This book is about a girl forced into servitude, but it’s also about bullies and finding the courage to stand up to them. After a misunderstanding, Amal finds herself trapped and working as a servant for the most powerful family in her village. But the family is cruel, and life among the other servants comes with unique challenges. Soon, Amal realizes that it’s up to her to push for the change that her village desperately needs.

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  • Hoot

    by Carl Hiaasen

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    Bullying doesn’t take center stage in this comedic adventure, but it is one of the main themes. I love Roy’s approach to dealing with his bullies. He never shows fear and he never backs down. He uses his quick wit and intellect to solve his problems.

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  • Wolf Hollow

    by Lauren Wolk

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    Kids and parents alike will love this Newbery Honor-winning and New York Times bestselling story about prejudice, bullying, and courage. When a new girl moves to a small town and starts bullying everyone, including a war veteran, Annabelle must figure out how to stop the cruelty. It’s a fantastic conversation starter in the classroom and at home.

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  • Zenobia July

    by Lisa Bunker

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    Zenobia July is the new kid at Monarch Middle School, and she’s living openly as a girl for the first time. An expert coder and hacker, Zenobia hops on the case when an anonymous student begins leaving hateful posts on the school’s website. Lisa Bunker’s latest is a testament to doing our part to keep our spaces inclusive and bully-free.

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  • Turtle Boy

    by M. Evan Wolkenstein

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    Shy kids will love this heartfelt story about bullying, unlikely friendship, and taking risks. Will has spent his entire life trying to avoid attracting attention. He knows that if other kids notice him, they make fun of him. But when he becomes friends with a chronically ill boy with a bucket list, Will realizes the importance of taking chances and living life to the fullest.

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  • All’s Faire in Middle School

    by Victoria Jamieson

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    The author of the Newbery Honor Book Roller Girl returns with another heartfelt story starring a middle-school heroine. Imogene — call her Impy — is eager to prove her bravery so she can become a knight at the Renaissance Faire, just like her parents. She decides to brave public school, but the girls Impy falls in with are only sometimes nice, and Impy’s starting to feel unlike herself: ashamed of her background and clothes, and even acting mean. Will Impy find her way back to her roots?

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  • Me and Banksy

    by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

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    With the rise of online bullying, this story feels particularly relevant right now. It tackles the tricky topics of having video cameras in schools, privacy, bullies, and advocating for change. When a private moment gets caught on a school camera, and someone leaks the video, Dominica becomes the center of attention for all the wrong reasons. With the help of her friends, Dominica protests having cameras in the classroom and the invasion of privacy that they invite.

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  • Fish in a Tree

    by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

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    Sixth-grader Ally is a math genius with an active imagination, but she also has a secret: she can’t read. The daughter of a military family, Ally’s moved from school to school, so her dyslexia was never identified, and Ally believes she’s dumb. All of that changes when a substitute teacher, Mr. Daniels, catches on to Ally’s dyslexia and works with her to address it. Meanwhile, Ally’s relationships with her quirky classmates evolve, as they all learn to stop believing their bullies and start believing in themselves.

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  • Say It Out Loud

    by Allison Varnes

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    There are many stories about kids who get bullied and learn to stand up for themselves, but what about standing up for someone else? Say It Out Loud addresses the reality that many victims need someone to step in and help them when they’re being bullied. It’s about a quiet girl named Charlotte who doesn’t speak up when she witnesses a bullying incident, the fallout, and how she finds her voice.

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  • Reach for the Skai

    by Skai Jackson

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    An anti-bullying activist and Disney channel star, Skai Jackson charts the highs and lows of newfound fame in her inspiring and authentic memoir. Even Skai struggles with insecurities, and she’s faced her own personal bullies, too; she’s also discovered her own method of confronting those bullies by way of the “classy clapback.” A true story of self-acceptance and standing by your values.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2016 and updated in 2021.