Monday, February 6, 2012

Dealing with Bullying - Books for Children and Adults

Stories are a great way to for kids to navigate the difficult waters of growing up. Literature allows children to safely explore tough issues like potty training, jealousy, divorce, or the death of a loved one. Bullying can be one of the most painful issues many kids contend with in their daily lives, and books can present them with the heroes they need to deal with difficult and hurtful experiences caused by bullying.

Whether a child in your life is the victim or the instigator of bullying, these books can provide a medium for thinking about their feelings and actions:

The Meanest Thing to Say – by Bill Cosby
Ages 4 and up

After engaging in a mean game with some of his friends, Little Bill gets some good advice from his dad about how to keep both his friends’ respect and a clear conscience.

My Secret Bully – by Trudy Ludwig
Ages 5 and up

The protagonist of this book deals with a friend who can be downright mean sometimes. My Secret Bully is prefaced by a statement from the founder of the Ophelia Project and includes helpful tips, discussion questions, and other resources for helping girls deal with bullying.

Mr. Lincoln’s Way – by Patrician Polacco
Ages 6 and up

The kindly, insightful principal in this book sees through “Mean Gene’s” unkind behavior and tries to help him, and the other students at his school, understand that being different is special.

For adults, Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye explores the painful relationship between a protagonist and her childhood “friend,” who dishes out a combination of sweetness and cruelty that is both confusing and hurtful. The book delivers surprising insights into what it’s like to contend with “mean girls” lurking in schoolyards without discounting these girls’ hidden anguish.

For a fantastic list of other titles, visit the Santa Clara County Library’s "Books About Bullying" page. Browse suggested fiction and nonfiction titles for kids in grades 3 through 8, and check out recommended titles for adults to learn more about bullying.

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