Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Great Picture Books for Bullying

I don't feel this topic can be covered too early in a child's life.  Bullying is such a large part of our current society.  I believe the best way to combat it is to show children at a young age how horrible it can be.  Bullying and peer pressure can be so detrimental to a person of any age and I feel the following books are helping my children understand these concepts. I want to teach my children compassion and empathy and that it is okay to stand up for others and to be yourself.

There is an added benefit to reading picture books to your children.  Not only do they learn, but we learn as well.  I have learned new, subtle methods for dealing with anger.  I have learned to be more careful what I say and show my children more compassion.  Very often we forget that they are always listening and look to us to learn the most important values in life.  I have felt that by reading picture books and focusing on these topics our whole family has grown and learned and is far better for it.

These books all deal with bullying in a little different manner.  At the top of our list is: 

Hats by Kevin Luthardt
This is a nearly wordless story, but quite effective.  My kids were very moved when the boy is nice to the bully, in essence befriending him.  It is very simple for young children to be able to grasp the concept of bullying.

Jungle Bullies by Steven Kroll, illustrated by Vincent Nguyen
To get what they want, the larger jungle animals bully the smaller ones until Mama Monkey shows them all the benefits of sharing. We enjoy this book thoroughly.  It is a frequent request at our house.  A highlight is the repetitive saying that features: "...please share it with me as a friend, don't be mean to me again."  Vincent Nguyen's animal illustrations are very expressive.  As always the kids adore the animals, but take away so much more from the story.

Monster Mama by Liz Rosenberg, illustrated by Steven Gammell
Patrick Edward's fierce monster mother helps him deal with some obnoxious bullies. Beautiful illustrations. It is similar in theory to Jungle Bullies, but quite different as a whole.

Pinduli by Janell Cannon 
A beautiful story full of animals, Pinduli faces bullies.  The book is also about loving yourself and how Pinduli comes to realize that he is special, even though bullies tell him otherwise.  By the author/illustrator of Stellaluna.

Noni Says No by Heather Hartt-Sussman, illustrated by Genevieve Cote
Not focused on bullying, but on asserting yourself.  Noni can't say no, so people (even friends) take advantage of that.  She has to learn how to assert herself.  The illustrations are fun and the lesson stirs interesting conversations.  

Other Honorable Mentions for Bullying/Peer Pressure:
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
Please Don't Tease Tootsie by Margaret Chamberlain 
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patti Lovell, illustrated by David Catrow
One by Kathryn Otoshi

A few more indepth books on the topic of bullying from one of our favorite local Wisconsin authors: 
A Weekend With Wendell
Chester's Way

We love new books at our house - if you love any other literature on this topic, please share!

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