Back to School Means Bullies, Too: These Recent Books Are Here to Help
Bullies. We’ve collected books new and old, with the aim of equipping children with an eternal troublemaker that adults know manifests itself outside of childhood as well.
Bullies, the scourge of children everywhere. We’ve rounded up new books and old ones, all the way up to intermediate level and including some mind-blowing graphic novels, with the aim of equipping children for a type of eternal disorder that adults also know arise outside of childhood.
Lana Llama by Lori Doody, ill. by author. Run the goat. 2022. ISBN 9781927917817.
PreS-Gr 2-The cute but conflicted title creature hates how different she is from “her flock” – which happens to be sheep. Lana is aware of their similarities, but embarrassed by their differences, minimizing them through contortions. Absorbed by these efforts, she misses the anguish of her friends: they are harassed by a tyrant.
Giant Giant by Dylan Hewitt, ill. by Dylan Hewitt. Milky Way. 2022. ISBN 9781990252082.
K-Gr 2–This quirky yet simple story features a playful, literal depiction of what it means when a bully “steps all over” on others, and the positive change an outstretched hand in friendship can inspire.
What if Bunny was 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 classmates gather in the schoolyard and watch Bunny approach. Elephant tells the others to stay away from Bunny as she is a bully. Kitty begins to wonder how anyone even comes to be called a bully. Her series of questions serve as a catalyst for the group to see that everyone makes mistakes.
The boy with the flowers in his hair by Jarvis, ill. by author. Candlewick. 2022. ISBN 9781536225228.
PreS-Gr 2-As told by his best friend, who has black hair and brown skin, the name of the boy with flowers in his hair is David, a white boy with long branches coming straight out of his head instead of hair. The students, of many different ethnicities, don’t think David is weird until the flowers start to fall. David ends up with bare branches and the other students start avoiding him until his best friend comes up with the idea of creating colorful paper flowers to hang from the empty branches.
Boris the school bully by Diana Love. (I can read 1). Harper Collins. 2022. ISBN 9780063204423.
Group 1-3-Boris and his bully friends come and ruin 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 true heroine of the story as she comes to the rescue by inviting the bullies to join the party with her and her friends.
Lunch every day by Kathryn Otoshi, ill. by author. KO kids. 2021. ISBN 9781734348200.
Group 1-3-Otoshi uses his vibrant palette and in-depth storytelling to great effect, as the story of one victim of bullying shines a light on another victim – the bully himself. Readers will be immediately connected to the target’s fate during a painful opening scene in the cafeteria where a young boy is preyed upon and his lunch is stolen. But the story quickly deepens and the bully’s own victimization at the hands of his older brothers is portrayed.
Chester Keene cracks the code by Kekla Magoon. Random Lamb/Wendy. 2022. ISBN 9781524715991.
3-7 gr.– Chester Keene is not joking; he can time what’s happening around him faster than you can say “boo”. He’s a spy, because he believes his father is one – and he embarks on a mission he’s convinced will bring him closer to his father and help him fight a college bully, only only to discover that his world is changing faster than he can handle.
Rotate forward Rotate backward by Alma Fullerton. Peach/Tuffeau. 2022. ISBN 9781682633663
3-7 gr.–Fifth grade Claire is a successful competitive gymnast, but she is unable to find the same success in school. She compensates for her inability to read by having her best friend Emma Lea do her homework and by listening to audiobooks to complete reading reports. Her embarrassment in class leads to a conflict with her teacher, and her classmates begin to bully Claire.
witches by Claribel A. Ortega. School. 2022. ISBN 9781338745528.
3-7 gr.– Seven Salazar, 12, looks forward to the Black Moon ceremony where she and her best friend Poppy hope to be placed in the mighty clan, in this magical quest for friendship and power that is sure to please fans of the genre . Much to her dismay, Seven discovers that she is a Spare, who is despised and has less power. To make matters worse, Seven’s bully Valley Pepperhorn is also part of her clan.
Come out for the blood by Steven Banks, ill. by Mark Fearing. Vacation home. 2021. ISBN 9780823446162.
3-6 g–Tom Marks is not your average middle school student; it’s a werewolf, a vampire and a zombie! After being bitten by the three, he learns to cope with his new body and what he can do, such as transform into a bat and fly around the room, become smoke, and of course, hair. of the body whenever there is a full moon. . He also has quite an interesting appetite!
In the beautiful country by Jane Kuo. HarperCollins/Quill Tree. 2022. ISBN 9780063118980.
5th year superior–A beautifully written verse novel about finding your way in the world. In 1980, Ai Shi/Anna, a Taiwanese girl, moved with her parents to California, or as they call it, the beautiful country. Anna is thrilled to move, until she arrives and learns that life in California is not what she expected. She is the only Asian student at school and the kids bully her for being different.
Mid-Level Graphic Novels
Oh yes by Jarad Greene, ill. by author. Harper Alley. 2021. ISBN 9780063032859.
5th year superior–Greene recounts the often bumpy road to self-discovery that is triggered by puberty. As Jay, a kind but anxious eighth grader, becomes intensely self-conscious about his appearance, especially his acne, he decides to try Accutane, an intense and sustained oral treatment that forces him to take responsibility for his own health. At school, he watches friendships dissolve and new ones form, encounters obnoxious bullies, and explores his artistic interests.
Reserve by Kwame Alexander, ill. by Dawud Anyabwile. HarperCollins/Etch. 2022. ISBN 9780358161820.
5-8 grams–After a stunning turn with the 2016 graphic novelization of Crossing, Alexander and Anyabwile team up again, this time for a verse adaptation of the 2016 Alexander novel. Eighth-grader Nick Hall lives and breathes football, but he has a lot of other things on his mind . His best friend is on a rival team; his father’s expectations for him are astronomically high; and a few brutal bullies keep meddling in his business.