National Bullying Prevention Month observed in October, and the PACER Center organizes it to raise awareness about bullying in the United States. The issue of bullying in schools, particularly online, is regrettably an ever-present one. Because this month is Anti-Bullying Awareness Month, teachers may majorly educate, encourage, and empower their students to prevent bullying.
We put together a list of five great books to read for National Bullying Prevention Month.
I Can Help
Written by Reem Faruqi
Illustrated by Mikela Prevost
When Ms. Underwood asks if anyone wants to help Kyle, Zahra always volunteers. She loves spending time with Kyle—he’s creative and generous, and he makes the funniest jokes at lunch. But when Zahra’s other classmates start teasing her for helping him, she starts making choices she regrets.
I Can Help is a gentle, sensitive portrayal of reaching out, facing peer pressure, and learning from past mistakes. With thoughtful storytelling and poignant illustrations, this book will open discussions about choosing kindness in the classroom and beyond.
“Beautiful and delicate details in both text and illustration situate readers physically in the school’s art classroom and autumnal playground, mentally in Zahra’s world full of special cooking spices like cumin and turmeric, and emotionally in her hesitation and growth. . . . An illuminating glimpse into how a young child learns to trust her instinct and be kind to others.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
Written and Illustrated by Jan De Kinder
Ages 4 to 8
A moving and realistic story about bullying
In this poignant story, a girl finds it funny when her classmate starts blushing on the school playground. Her friends laugh along with her, but one student takes the teasing too far. Torn between her sympathy for her classmate and her fear of the bully, the girl must make a difficult choice.
This heartfelt book will inspire readers to find the courage to take a stance against bullying and show compassion towards others.
“From the proliferation of red throughout this book, we know visually it has strong emotional content, and the cover, with a dispirited boy being gawked at by others, adds to its impact. . . . While the text is sparse (and in red), as the teasing builds to a crescendo, the distinctive pencil, charcoal, ink, acrylic, and collage art dramatically shows events spin out of control. . . . [A] thoughtful, accessible story.” Booklist (STARRED review)
The Chickens Build a Wall
Written and Illustrated by Jean-François Dumont
The chickens at the farm are building a wall, and no one is quite sure why. But they know one thing: the hedgehog that wandered in must be trouble. So all winter they build and build, until they have a wall that towers over the barn. When spring comes, though, they find that everything hasn’t gone quite according to plan . . .
A fable for the modern day, The Chickens Build a Wall invites readers to examine the power of prejudice in their own communities.
Written by Nikki Grimes
Illustrated by Bryan Collier
Ages 6 to 10
A poetic story inspired by Psalm 121
Jordan lives in fear of Tanya, the class bully. But Tanya has worries of her own, no matter how much she tries to ignore them. It seems impossible that Jordan and Tanya could be anything other than enemies, but the Lord is watching over them, guiding each of them along a path that might just help them to understand one another.
Nikki Grimes takes the words of a Psalm 121 and masterfully transforms them into a golden shovel poem of compassion, friendship, and faith. Coupled with powerful artwork from Bryan Collier, this heartfelt story is one that readers will treasure.
“Wilder Award–winning author Grimes delivers a compact yet powerful message of hope and encouragement based on Psalm 121. . . . A sumptuous work filled with a deliciously wrapped center—perfect for classrooms, school, public, or church libraries, or home: wherever hearts go for mending.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
Bully.com is a story about this brilliant seventh grader student called called Jun Li, who felt more comfortable around computers than being around people. But his world turns upside down when the principal accuses him of a cyberbullying incident. To prove his innocence, Jun has seven days to track down the true culprit.
Jun’s investigation will bring him face-to-face with computer hackers, a jealous boyfriend, and more than one student who has been a victim of bullying. But he discovers along the way that everyone’s story is more complicated than it seems — and that the people he meets might have more in common than they think.
“[B]ully.com is full of suspense with a surprise ending skillfully written to keep readers hanging on every word.”
—New York Journal of Books
How Bullying Affects Students
Peer-on-peer bullying adversely affects all the physical, social, and emotional health of adolescents. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, victims are more likely to suffer from despair, anxiety, sleep problems, worse academic success, and even drop out of school due to their injuries than other people are. These early dangers may have long-term ramifications, including self-harm or death because of the repercussions. Unexpectedly, formerly bullied bullies suffer from more severe mental health and behavioral problems because of their past bullying.
Bullying prevention initiatives have shown to be effective in combating the prevalence of the phenomenon. Congressional Research Service concluded that these programs reduced bullying conduct by 10-23 percent, the victimization by bullies by 17-20 percent, according to a study produced for Members and Committees of Congress by the Congressional Research Service Bullying awareness and student activities are two ways in which educators may make a significant impact in the lives of their pupils.