Bullying has been in the national spotlight for years, but unfortunately, incidents remain. These titles offer opportunities for students of all ages to find support and strategies to counteract bullying.

Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry (Grades P-3)

Stick and StoneAt its heart, Stick and Stone is a charming story about friendship. Stick and Stone are both alone, until they meet at the playground. Then along comes Pinecone, who makes fun of Stone for not being able to work the swing. Stick swiftly comes to Stone’s rescue, and the two become fast friends. Although this book is mostly about the strong friendship that develops between Stick and Stone, it also provides a great example for younger readers on how to stand up to bullies. Stick and Stone makes an appealing classroom read aloud; the crisp and simple images are supplemented with rhyming text, and the two work together to capture the attention of a younger audience. And although the bully Pinecone makes only a short appearance, the subtle anti-bullying message will still be clear to attentive listeners, especially when he shows up again on the last page to apologize for his previous behavior.



A Friend for Lakota: The Incredible True Story of a Wolf Who Braved Bullying by Jim and Jamie Dutcher (Grades P-3)

A Friend for LakotaWhen his pack grows, gentle Lakota finds himself the group’s omega (the wolf at the bottom of the pack—the opposite of the alpha). Lakota’s role as the pack’s omega looks to be a bleak one until his older brother Matsi, the pack’s beta, or second in command, stands up for Lakota, challenging the other wolves. Under Matsi’s watchful eye, Lakota finds new confidence and rediscovers his playful nature. There are lots of important messages in A Friend for Lakota, one being that bullying might happen in any group, but it doesn’t have to be tolerated. Sometimes stepping in to help a friend can make all the difference. Younger students might see themselves in the wolf pack, either as the alpha Kamots or the omega Lakota, or even as the brave Matsi.

This book is filled with beautiful color photos of the wolves, as well as lots of back matter on the gray wolf and more specific information on Lakota and the rest of the Sawtooth pack. More information on the Dutchers’ experiences with the wolf pack can be found at Living with Wolves, a nonprofit started by the Dutchers to support the Sawtooth pack and the rest of North America’s gray wolf population.


Red  by Jan De Kinder (Grades K-3, Lexile AD140)

Timmy and Lisa are playing on the playground when Lisa notices that Timmy blushes. Her gentle laughter and Red Jan De Kinderteasing is soon joined by others in the play group until everyone is laughing at Timmy. One child, Paul, takes things too far, and the interaction becomes physical when he pushes Timmy to the ground. When the teacher asks for witnesses, Lisa wants to speak up, but she’s scared of Paul, who’s bigger and stronger than she is. She feels intimidated and powerless. However, she finally finds the bravery to raise her hand, and soon the entire class is joining her in speaking up for Timmy. 

This title makes a great choice for a classroom read aloud, and the sparse text perfectly pairs with the graphic illustrations done in shades of black, gray and red. Students can share how they would react in a similar situation and learn how important it is to not be a bystander to bullying. While younger students can feel conflicted about standing up to bullies, especially ones who are older and stronger, Red illustrates how standing together can make a big difference.


Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens by Julie Mata (Grades 3-7, Lexile 710)

Night of the Zombie Chickens is the first book in a new series about Night Of The Zombie Chickensaspiring filmmaker Kate Walden. Kate is all set to direct her first full-length film featuring the chickens from her parents’ farm as birds who’ve been infected by contaminated chicken feed. Kate’s BFF, Alyssa, is playing Mallory, the human lead of Kate’s movie. But after Alyssa invites popular girl Lydia to be an extra, things quickly take a turn for the worst. Lydia starts teasing Kate about her family’s chickens, and soon Alyssa joins in.

After ugly words on both sides, Alyssa is sitting at the popular table at lunch and Kate is forced to join the school outcasts. Things go from bad to worse, as she becomes the butt of everyone’s jokes (and earns the unfortunate nickname “crapcake” in the process). The book is told from Kate’s point of view, and hers is an authentic voice, filled with hurt and betrayal. The reader can only commiserate with Kate as the taunts at school become more and more vicious, and she finds herself increasingly isolated. Soon, her mind turns to revenge as she decides to use her film to trash Alyssa’s reputation. Readers will be on the edge of their seats waiting to see if Kate gets back at Alyssa or uses this as an opportunity to forge new friendships.


The Survival Guide to Bullying: Written by a Kid for a Kid by Aija Mayrock (Grades 7-12, Lexile 740)

Aija Mayrock might be a successful actress now, but as a child she was bullied extensively. At age 16, she The Survival Guide to Bullyingdecided to write the type of book she never had but always needed. This book is Mayrock’s personal roadmap to surviving bullies. Content is pulled from her own childhood journals, drawings and poetry to create an extremely relatable text, and her inclusion of handwritten passages makes the reader feel like they are part of a heart-to-heart conversation. She gives advice on how to recognize all types of bullying behavior (including cyberbullying) as well as where to turn for help and how to handle real-world scenarios.

Sprinkled throughout are “Survival Tips,” which range from feel-good mantras to practical advice on ways to get through tough situations. Mayrock admits that being bullied isn’t something one can get over quickly or easily, but her shared experiences offer hope to teens who feel they have nowhere else to turn. The book also contains a great Q&A section, where Mayrock answers tough questions like “What do I do if a teacher is bullying me?” and “How did you learn to trust again?” Students can interact with her directly through her personal website, Instagram and Twitter.