Back to school means bullies too: these topical books are here to help

tyrants. We’ve collected books new and old to equip kids for a perennial troublemaker who, as adults know, pops up outside of childhood too.

Bullies, the bane of children everywhere. We’ve collected books new and old up through Intermediate, and some stunning graphic novels below, to gear kids up for a perennial troublemaker that adults know pops up beyond childhood.

picture books

Lana Llama by Lori Doody, ill. by author. Let the goat go. 2022. ISBN 9781927917817.
PreS Gr 2– The cute but contradictory titular creature hates the way she differs from “her flock” – who happen to be sheep. Lana is aware of their similarities but is embarrassed about their differences and minimizes them through contortions. Lost in this effort, she misses her friends’ fear: they are being harassed by a bully.

Huge giant by Dylan Hewitt, ill. by Dylan Hewitt. Milky Way. 2022. ISBN 9781990252082.
K-Gr 2– This whimsical but no-nonsense story shows in a playful, literal way what it means when a bully “spills over” to others and the positive change that an outstretched hand in friendship can bring about.

What if Bunny is NOT a bully? by Lana Button, ill. by Christine Battuz. children can. 2022. ISBN 9781525300554.
PreS-K–Gerti the elephant and a group of her school friends gather in the schoolyard and watch as Bunny approaches. Elephant tells the others to stay away from Bunny as she is a bully. Kitty begins to wonder why people are even called bullies. Your series of questions prompts the group to consider that everyone makes mistakes.

The boy with flowers in his hair by Jarvis, ill. by author. candle wick. 2022. ISBN 9781536225228.
PreS Gr 2– As told by his best friend who has dark hair and brown skin, the boy with flowers in his hair is called David, a white boy with long twigs sticking straight out of his head instead of hair. Students of many different ethnicities do not think David strange until the flowers begin to fall. David is left with bare branches and the other students avoid him until his best friend comes up with the idea of ​​creating colorful paper flowers that hang from the empty branches.

Boris the school bully by Diana Love. (I can read 1). HarperCollins. 2022. ISBN 9780063204423.
Sizes 1-3-Boris and his bullying friends arrive to spoil a great school day for Diana, Roma, Koko and Dawn, but these super friends turn into heroes to save the day from the school bullies. In the end, Diana is the real heroine of the story as she comes to the rescue by inviting the bullies to join the fun with her and her friends.

lunch every day by Kathryn Otoshi, ill. by author. KO kids. 2021. ISBN 9781734348200.
Sizes 1-3– Otoshi uses her vibrant palette and insightful storytelling to great effect, as the story of one bullying victim actually sheds light on another victim – the bully himself. Readers are being exploited during a painful opening scene in the cafeteria, where a young boy is being exploited and his lunch is stolen, immediately linked to the victim’s plight. But the story quickly deepens and depicts the bully’s own bullying at the hands of his older brothers.

middle class

Chester Keene cracks the code by Kekla Magoon. Coincidence/Wendy Lamb. 2022. ISBN 9781524715991.
Sizes 3-7–Chester Keene doesn’t mess around; He can grasp what’s happening around him faster than you can say “boo”. He’s a spy because he believes his father is – and he embarks on a mission he’s convinced will bring him closer to his father and help him fight off a middle school bully, only to find his world changing faster than he can handle.

Tilt forward, rotate backward by Alma Fullerton. Peach Tree/Freestone. 2022. ISBN 9781682633663
Sizes 3-7– Fifth grader Claire is a successful competitive gymnast, but she doesn’t find the same success in school. She compensates for her dyslexia by getting her best friend Emma Lea to do her homework and listening to audiobooks to complete book reports. Her embarrassment in class leads to conflicts with her teacher and classmates begin to bully Claire.

witches by Claribel A. Ortega. scholastic. 2022. ISBN 9781338745528.
Sizes 3-7– Twelve-year-old Seven Salazar excitedly awaits the Black Moon ceremony, where she and her best friend Poppy hope to be inducted into the powerful circle in this magical quest for friendship and power sure to delight lovers of the genre. To her dismay, Seven finds that she is a spare who is looked down on and has less power. To make matters worse, Seven’s bully, Valley Pepperhorn, is also in her coven.

Out for blood by Steven Banks, illustrated by Mark Fearing. holiday home. 2021. ISBN 9780823446162.
Sizes 3-6–Tom Marks is not your average middle school student; he is a werewolf, vampire and zombie! After being bitten by all three, he learns to use his new body and what he can do, like turning into a bat and flying through space, turning into smoke, and of course, full body hair every full moon. He also has a pretty interesting appetite!

In the beautiful country by Jane Kuo. HarperCollins/Quill Tree. 2022. ISBN 9780063118980.
Size 5 and up-A beautifully written verse novel about how to navigate the world. Set in 1980, Ai Shi/Anna, a Taiwanese girl, moves with her parents to California – or whatever they call the beautiful country. Anna is excited about the move until she arrives and learns that life in California isn’t what she imagined. She is the only Asian student in the school and the kids bully her because she is different.

Mid-range graphic novels

A-okay by Jarad Greene, ill. by author. Harper Alley. 2021. ISBN 9780063032859.
Size 5 and up–Greene traces the often bumpy road to self-discovery that puberty sets in motion. When Jay, a kind but concerned eighth grader, becomes increasingly concerned about his appearance, especially his acne, he decides to try Accutane, an intensive, long-lasting oral treatment that requires him to take responsibility for his own health. At school, he watches friendships fall and new ones form, encounters obnoxious bullies, and explores his artistic interests.

Booked by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile. HarperCollins/Etch. 2022. ISBN 9780358161820.
Sizes 5-8-After a stunning twist with the 2016 graphic novelization of The crossover, Alexander and Anyabwile team up again, this time for a verse adaptation of Alexander’s 2016 novel. Eighth grader Nick Hall lives and breathes football, but he has many other things on his mind. His best friend is on a rival team; his father’s expectations of him are astronomically high; and a few brutal tyrants keep meddling in his business.

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