Growing Reader

No More Bullies! 9 Books About Bullying for Young Readers

by Janssen Bradshaw

Photo credit: Catherine Ledner, The Image Bank/Getty Images

Is there anything more heartbreaking than when your child comes home in tears and tells you that they’ve been bullied at school? Or when they see someone else being bullied but aren’t sure what to do?

These are the kinds of things that make you wish for the “easy” parenting days of 2:00 AM feedings and diaper changes!

Picture books can be a great way to gently bring up the topic of bullying — whether for an immediate need or to prepare for the future — and help your child think through ways to deal with bullying for themselves or in their social circles.

  • Horton Hears a Who

    by Dr. Seuss

    This classic Dr. Seuss tale is such a great way to introduce a bully. Sour Kangaroo is determined to destroy Horton’s precious Who friends and rallies other jungle animals around her. Because the characters aren’t human, the book offers a more subtle way to talk about these important issues.

  • Hooway for Wodney Wat

    by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

    There’s something so delightful for children (and adults!) about the underdog taking down a bully and saving the day. In this book, Rodney Rat can't pronounce his R's and suffers a lot of teasing because of it. But everyone starts feeling bullied when Camilla Capybara joins their classroom. Only Wodney, er, Rodney is able to save the class from her tormenting.

  • Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon

    by Patty Lovell, illustrated by David Catrow

    It’s one thing to be short, clumsy, and buck-toothed at home with your loving grandmother. But it’s another to be that way at a new school with a bully looking for a target. Fortunately, Molly Lou Melon has internalized her grandmother’s advice to be proud of herself and her abilities and she isn’t about to be taken down by an elementary school bully.

  • Something Else

    by Kathryn Cave, illustrated by Chris Riddell

    Everyone is teasing or ignoring little Something Else. And when a new friend, who also looks and acts different, shows up, Something Else does the same thing to him, teasing him and making him feel badly. But then he realizes that maybe this could be his chance to make a new friend himself. I love this message of looking for friendship in unlikely places and with those who aren’t exactly like you.

  • The Bully Blockers Club

    by Teresa Bateman, illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic

    For the child who has tried all the normal tactics for bullying — ignoring, trying to stand up to the bully, telling a teacher — this book offers a novel new suggestion: start a club. When Lotty starts getting bullied at school and the usual approaches don’t work, Lotty and her family come up with the idea for a Bully Blockers Club. Whenever the bully picks on any child, all the other children speak up to get an adult’s attention. Many is better than one!

  • Edwardo the Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World

    by John Burningham

    I have a soft spot in my heart for any John Burningham book, since I’ve loved his works since I was a child myself. This one, about how people tend to behave as they are expected to, follows Edwardo, who is a completely normal little boy — a little dirty and clumsy and occasionally loud, but generally good-hearted. But as adults start to label him negatively, that’s how he begins to behave, until an adult finally has a good word to say about him.

  • Swimmy

    by Leo Lionni

    Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Swimmy is a classic book about the power of working together to stay safe. Swimmy’s friends love their watery world, but it is also scary and they decide they’d rather stay hidden and safe, until Swimmy comes up with an ingenious (and beautifully illustrated) idea to let them experience the world without harm.

  • One

    by Kathryn Otoshi

    More than just a color and counting book, this clever story is about a bunch of colors who get picked on by Red. Then One comes along and helps everyone, including adding Red to the group. I love that the message here is to make everyone a friend, rather than just ostracizing the bully (which generally is only a temporary solution).

  • Enemy Pie

    by Derek Munson, illustrated by Tara Calahan King

    There’s nothing worse than when the excitement of a new neighborhood playmate turns into the reality that a bully now lives on your street. Summer looks like it’s going to be ruined, until Dad comes up with a secret recipe that turns an enemy into a friend. Is it possible?