Anti-bullying Reading Recommendations for Children and Teens

Anti-bullying Reading Recommendations for Children and Teens

I am very excited to share this much-researched list of books with you!

I chose these books because they all promote themes related to anti-bullying, such as tolerance and acceptance of those who are different, regardless of whether those differences are due to appearance, family structure, gender preference, autism spectrum disorders, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or social skills.

Some of the books directly address bullying actions such as taunting, teasing, exclusion and violence.  Other books contain stories that subtly deal with issues of personal identity and social acceptance.

The books are broadly grouped by age, but I recommend that you preview them to make sure they are suited to your individual child.

I have provided a direct link to each book on Amazon so that you may learn more about the ones that interest you.

Picture Books for Children Ages 4-8:

The Bully Blockers Club, by Teresa Bateman. Albert Whitman & Company, 2004.

A.Lincoln and Me, by Louise Borden and Ted Lewin. Scholastic, 2001

Violet the Pilot, by Steve Breen. Dial, 2008.

Ballerino Nate, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Dial, 2006.

Simon’s Hook; A Story About Teases and Put-downs, by Karen Gedig Burnett. GR Publishing, 2000.

How to Lose All Your Friends, by Nancy Carlson. Puffin, 1997.

The Meanest Thing To Say, by Bill Cosby. New York: Scholastic Inc., 1997

Ella the Elegant Elephant, by Carmela D’amico and Steve D’amico. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2004.

King and King, by Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland. Tricycle Press, 2003.

Oliver Button is a Sissy, by Tomie dePaola. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers,1979.

The Sissy Duckling, by Harvey Fierstein. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2002.

Tough Boris, by Mem Fox. Harcourt Children’s Books, 1994.

The Princess Knight, by Cornelia Funke. The Chicken House, 2004.

Elena’s Serenade, by Campbell Geeslin. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2004.

The Sneetches and Other Stories, by Theodor Geissel (Dr. Seuss). Random House, 1961.

Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow Books, 1991.

Horace and Morris but Mostly Dolores, by James Howe. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2003.

The Little Bit Scary People, by Emily Jenkins. Hyperion Books for Children, 2008.

Just Like Josh Gibson, by Angela Johnson. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2007.

My Princess Boy, by Cheryl Kilodavis. Aladdin, 2010.

My Travelin’ Eye, by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw. Henry Holt and Co., 2008.

How To Be A Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them, by Laurie Krasney and Marc Brown. Little Brown & Co., 2001.

Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles, by Tami Lehman-Wilzig and Nicole Katzman. KAR-BEN Publishing, 2011.

Tacky the Penguin, by Helen Lester. Walter Lorraine Books, 1990.

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, by Patty Lovell. Scholastic, 2002.

Nobody Knew What To Do: A Story About Bullying, by Becky McCain. Magnetix Corporation, 2002.

Have You Filled A Bucket Today? By Carol McCloud. Ferne Press, 2006.

Say Something, by Peggy Moss. Tilbury House, 2004.

Enemy Pie, by Derek Munson. Chronicle Books, 2000.

King of the Playground, by Phyllis ReynoldsNaylor. Atheneum, 1991.

The Boy Who Cried Fabulous, by Lesléa Newman. Tricycle Press, 2007.

It’s Okay to Be Different, by Todd Parr. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009.

Thank You, Mr. Faulkner, by Patricia Polacco. Philomel, 1998.

Snow in Jerusalem, by Deborah da Costa, Albert Whitman, 2008.

Don’t Laugh At Me, by Steve Seskin and Allen Shamblin. Tricycle Press, 2002.

The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand Up for Others, by Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy. Ferne Press, 2010.

This Is Gabriel Making Sense of School, by Hartley Steiner. Trafford Publishing, 2010.

Stop Picking On Me, by Pat Thomas and Lesley Harker. Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 2000

Am I Really Different? by Evelien Van Dort, Floris Books, 1998.

Why Does Izzy Cover Her Ears? Dealing with Sensory Overload, by Jennifer Veenendall. Autism Asperger Publishing Company, 2009.

Words Are Not For Hurting, by Elizabeth Verdick. Free Spirit Publishing, 2004.

William’s Doll, by Charlotte Zolotow. HarperCollins, 1972.

Text-Rich Picture Books and Chapter Books for Ages 8-13:

**Parents and guardians should pre-read these books to make sure the content is age-appropriate for readers on the younger end of the age spectrum.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger. Amulet Books, 2010.

Blubber, by Judy Blume. Yearling, 1974.

Vive La Paris, by Esmé Raji Codell. Hyperion Paperbacks for Children, 2007.

Blue Cheese Breath and Stinky Feet, by Catherine DePino. Magination Press, 2004.

The Hundred Dresses, by Eleanor Estes. Scholastic, 1973.

Real Friends vs. the Other Kind, by Annie Fox. Free Spirit Publishing, 2009.

I am Jack, by Susanne Gervay. Tricycle Press, 2009.

Super Tool Lula: The Bully-fighting Super Hero!, by Michele Yulo. BookLogix Publishing Services, 2011.

The Liberation of Gabriel King by K. L. Going. Puffin, 2007. 

Hot Issues, Cool Choices: Facing Bullies, Peer Pressure, Popularity, and Put-downs, by Sandra McLeod Humphrey. Prometheus Books, 2007.

The Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow. Amulet Books, 2011.

Stick Up for Yourself! Every Kid’s Guide to Personal Power and Positive Self-Esteem, by Kaufman, Gershen, Ph.D., et al.Free Spirit Publishing, 1999.

Drita My Homegirl, by Jenny Lombard. Puffin Books, 2006.

Confessions of a Former Bully, by Trudy Ludwig. Tricycle Press, 2010

Just Kidding, by Trudy Ludwig. Tricycle Press, 2006.

My Secret Bully, by Trudy Ludwig. Tricycle Press, 2005

Trouble Talk, by Trudy Ludwig. Tricycle Press, 2008.

Mr. Peabody’s Apples, by Madonna. Callaway, 2003.

Nothing Wrong With A Three-Legged Dog, by Graham McNamee. Yearling, 2001.

Secret of the Peaceful Warrior: A Story About Courage and Love, by Dan Millman. H.J. Kramer Inc., 1991.

The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling.

Esperanza Rising, by Pam Munoz Ryan. Scholastic Paperbacks, 2002.

Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan. Scholastic Paperbacks, 1999.

Friendship: How to Make, Keep, and Grow Your Friendships, by New Moon Books Girls Editorial Board. Crown Publishers, 1999.

Call Me Hope, by Gretchen Olson. Little, Brown and Company, 2007.

Mr. Lincoln’s Way, by Patricia Polacco. Philomel, 2001.

If You Believe in Mermaids….Don’t Tell, by A.A. Philips, Dog Ear Publishing, 2007.

Bullies Are a Pain in the Brain, by Trevor Romain. Free Spirit Publishing, 1997

Loser, by Jerry Spinelli. Joanna Cotler Books, 2002.

Maniac Magee, by Jerry Spinelli. Little, Brown & Co., 1990.

Feathers, by Jacqueline Woodson, Putnam Juvenile, 2007

Tomboy Trouble, by Sharon Dennis Wyeth, Random House Books for Young Readers, 1998.

Chapter Books for Ages 12-17:

**Parents and guardians should pre-read these books to make sure the content is age-appropriate for readers on the younger end of the age spectrum.  Some of the books in this section contain content that can be very intense.

Twisted, by Laurie Halse Anderson. Speak, 2008.

Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher. Penguin Group, 2007.

Hate List, by Jennifer Brown.  Little, Brown and Company, 2010.

The Hunger Games series, by Suzanne Collins

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher. Greenwillow Books, 1993.

The Skin I’m In, by Sharon Flake. Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children, 1998.

The Secret Fruit of Peter Paddington, by Brian Francis. Harper Perennial. 2005

Charlie’s Story, by Maeve Friel. Peachtree Publishers Ltd., 1997.

The Misfits, by James Howe.  Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2003.

Totally Joe, by James Howe, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2007.

Teen Cyberbullying Investigated: Where Do Your Rights End and Consequences Begin?, by Thomas A. Jacobs. Free Spirit Publishing, 2010.

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, by Barry Lyga. Graphia, 2007.

Drowning Anna, by Sue Mayfield. Hyperion, 2002.

Luna, by Julie Anne Peters. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2006.

Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli. Alfred A. Knopf, 2000.

The Revealers, by Doug Wilhelm. RR Donnelley & Sons Company, 2011.

Parrotfish, by Ellen Wittlinger. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2011.

Story of a Girl, by Sara Zarr. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2008

Thank you for your interest in raising accepting, tolerant, diverse kids!  This list and many other resources will be included in my upcoming book, Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know to End the Cycle of Fear, which will be released this summer by Harper Collins.

If you have additional suggestions, please share them with Portrait of an Adoption on Facebook, where we have many eager readers.


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  • Carrie, this is WONDERFUL!! Oh my goodness, I want them all - where to begin?!! At least I only need to look at the 4-8 list, for now :) Thanks for putting together this excellent and very useful / needed list.

  • I am so glad you intend to read some of these books! Putting the list together has been a labor of love.

  • WOW. This is so impressive. And only deepens my mom crush on you. Thanks! MTM.

  • In reply to Mary Tyler Mom:

    I've been working on this post for months! Thanks SO much for sharing. Getting this list into the hands of parents, teachers, and kids makes me soooo happy. XO.

  • In reply to Mary Tyler Mom:

    She is impressive, isn't she?

  • Fantastic labor of love. I wish I had these resources when I was a kid - this is awesome! XO

  • In reply to Teppi Jacobsen:

    Teppi, I wish you had been able to get the support you deserved as a kid. You are an example of someone who has endured bullying and emerged as a strong, empathetic person. Not easy to do. Good for you!

  • In reply to Carrie Goldman:

    Thanks Carrie XO

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