Booklist for Students
Children’s/ Picture Books
By Trudy Ludwig
This book highlights the harm that can result from spreading rumors. The story follows Bailey, a new girl in school who befriends a girl named Maya. Bailey soon turns on Maya and spreads a rumor that Maya’s parents are getting divorced. Through the help of the school counselor, Bailey learns a lesson on how to pick friends and stay above the fray. Bailey eventually learns to reform her behavior. The book is for children ages 4 to 8.
Confessions of a Former Bully
By Trudy Ludwig (author) and Beth Adams (illustrator)
This work of fiction is told from the perspective of a 10-year-old bully. After finding herself in the principal’s office for harassing other students, Katie reflects on her actions through a journal. The writings, in scrap-book form, give insights on physical, emotional and online harassment. The book is geared for grades 3 to 6.
Nobody Knew What to Do
By Becky Ray McCain (author) and Todd Leonardo (illustrator)
This picture book tells the story of Ray, a new kid at school who is targeted by bullies. The story is told from the perspective of a bystander, who finally decides to tell a teacher what is going on after Ray stops coming to school. The school then takes actions to resolve the issue, and Ray and the narrator become friends. The book is geared toward young children, and reveals the steps that should be taken if bullying is witnessed.
By Peggy Moss (author) and Lea Lyon (illustrator)
Say Something looks at bullying from a bystander’s perspective, and highlights the importance of speaking up. The protagonist stays silent when she witnesses the bullying of classmates, but begins to identify with them when she is teased. She responds by reaching out to another girl who is often harassed. The book is useful for identifying different types of bullying and generating discussion on how to stop the behavior. The book includes illustrations and is geared for young elementary school students.
By Trudy Ludwig (author) and Adam Gustavson (illustrator)
Just Kidding tells the fictional story of D.J., a new kid at school whose feelings are hurt by Vince, a boy who taunts him. Vince plays down the teasing by claiming he is "just kidding." Hurt and confused, D.J. turns to his father, who comes up with defensive strategies. When these fail, D.J.’s teacher gets involved to stop the behavior. This picture book is geared toward elementary school students.
My Secret Bully
By Trudy Ludwig (author) and Abigail Marble (illustrator)
This book, written for elementary students, touches on the issue of friends who bully. The fictional story focuses on Monica, who is increasingly teased and excluded by her best friend Katie. The book highlights the subtle bullying that takes place among girls and is often overlooked. Monica eventually overcomes her issues with Katie with the help and support of her mother.
By Trudy Ludwig (author) and Maurie J. Manning (illustrator)
Sorry! explores the problem of bullying and the insincere apology. The story follows Charlie, who is a popular boy who causes trouble but gets away with things by saying "sorry." After destroying a classmate’s science project, he learns from his teacher that his behavior is unacceptable and that empty words cannot undo his pranks. The book is for elementary students, and includes an afterword by apology expert Dr. Aaron Lazare and discussion questions.
Books for Teens and Preteens
Please Don’t Cry, Cheyenne
By Candy J. Beard
The book follows Cheyenne, a junior high student who is bullied for her family’s poor financial status and her plain looks. She suffers humiliation at the hands of a "rich clique." The story illustrates Cheyenne’s journey toward inner strength.
By Laurie Halse Anderson
Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak was named a 2000 Printz Honor Book, and has earned about a dozen additional accolades. It tells the story of the fictional Melinda Sordino, a high school freshman who becomes an outcast after calling the cops on a summer party. The book follows Melinda as she loses her friends and interests, and spirals into depression. Her only solace is art class, where she receives the support of her art teacher. It is eventually revealed that Melinda was the victim of a brutal rape at the party, which prompts her peers to express sympathy and support.
Letters to a Bullied Girl: Messages of Healing and Hope
By Olivia Gardner, Emily Buder and Sarah Buder
After Olivia Gardner, a 14-year-old Californian, was severely taunted and cyberbullied, teens from a neighboring town decided to take action. They initiated a letter-writing campaign to lift her spirits that became the basis for this book. It contains letters from bullying victims, remorseful bullies and bystanders, and advice from expert Barbara Coloroso (The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander).
By Alex Flinn
Breathing Underwater tells the fictional story of Nick Andreas, an abusive boyfriend, through his journal. The book reveals Nick’s perspective during his turbulent relationship with his girlfriend, Caitlin, his abuse, a subsequent restraining order, and his journey through rehabilitation in a court-ordered family violence class. The book is unique in that it looks at teen violence through the eyes of the aggressor.
By Alex Flinn
In her second novel, Flinn focuses on why teens commit violence. The protagonist, Paul, is targeted by bullies when he moves from home-schooling to a wealthy prep school. He is harassed because he is the son of a poor single mom and only has one friend. He is soon manipulated by Charlie, a popular boy, who convinces him to hack into the school’s computers. Things take a turn for the worse when another bullied student commits suicide. Eventually, Paul becomes so enamored with Charlie that he considers planting a bomb in the school to gain his acceptance. The book follows Charlie as he learns about himself and his relationships.
By Jennifer Brown
Valerie and her boyfriend were bullied and create a "Hate List" in retaliation. Valerie finds herself in turmoil after her boyfriend opens fire at their high school. After her boyfriend kills six students and a teacher and takes his own life, Valerie must deal with the guilt from making the list. The book follows her healing process and highlights the complicated dynamics of teenage relationships. It is geared toward high school students.
By Kelley Powell Barcellona
Barcellona, a former middle school teacher, sheds light on the inner workings of female cliques. The book follows members of "the hive," a group of four popular girls who torment other students. It is eventually revealed that Brook Stevens, the hive’s leader, displays aggressive behavior due to a turbulent home life. The book is meant to explore possible motivations for bullying, provide support for victims, and expose the pain caused by bullying.
Tornado Warning: A Memoir of Teen Dating Violence and Its Effect on a Woman's Life
By Elin Stebbins Waldal
Elin Stebbins Waldal presents a personal account of her involvement in an abusive relationship as a teenager. She recounts her experiences with her abusive ex-boyfriend, who damaged her both emotionally and physically. She talks about how she healed from the ordeal, and how she tries to help her own teenage children avoid a similar fate. The book has been honored with a Mom’s Choice Award. (NOTE: This book is relevant for teens and parents.)
Self-Help for Children
Stand Up for Yourself and Your Friends: Dealing with Bullies and Bossiness and Finding a Better Way
By Patti Kelley Criswell (author) and Angela Martini (illustrator)
This book provides defense strategies for bully victims, specifically females. It includes quizzes, quotes and scenarios to help readers gain confidence, learn how to stand up to a bully, and determine when to ask for help from adults.
Stick Up for Yourself! Every Kids Guide to Personal Power & Positive Self-Esteem
By Gershen Kaufman, Lev Raphael and Pamela Espeland
This self-help book promotes positive thinking and high self-esteem. It includes situational anecdotes and exercises for exploring one’s feelings and finding happiness. The School Library Journal says the book can be used independently, but is "most effective within the classroom, family, or guidance group."
Bullies Are a Pain in the Brain
By Trevor Romain
This self-help book targets children ages 8 to 13. The book uses illustrations and is easy to read. Romain gives advice on how to stand up to bullies and when to get help from an adult. It can be read on its own, or used as part of Romain’s "Bullies Are a Pain in the Brain" curriculum set, geared for grades 5 and 6. The Trevor Romain Company also provides curriculums for grades 1-2 and 3-4.
Speak Up and Get Along!: Learn the Mighty Might, Thought Chop, and More Tools to Make Friends, Stop Teasing, and Feel Good About Yourself
By Scott Cooper
This book offers 21 strategies for expressing feelings, building relationships, conflict mediation and dealing with bullying. Each technique is illustrated with examples. The book can be used by children who want to learn and adults who want to promote these types of skills.
Please Stop Laughing at Me
By Jodee Blanco
In this New York Times best-selling memoir, Blanco describes her experiences as a target of harassment from 5th grade through high school. Blanco was tormented for reporting bullying incidents to her teachers, and also for a medical condition that caused her breasts to grow at different rates. In the book, Blanco laments years of therapy and medication while her tormentors remained unscathed. She now travels the nation to tell her story and raise awareness about the dangers of bullying. Blanco followed up this book with a sequel, "Please Stop Laughing at Us," in which she tells the stories of other children who have been bullied and offers her own advice. (NOTE: This book is geared for parents or teens.)