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Bullying: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about bullying?

Bullying and its effects are heartbreaking, and unfortunately present on playgrounds, classrooms, and homes across the world. Its victims are often silent, and as younger and younger children have access to online forums the bullying can take place somewhere it is very difficult for adults to find and intervene. Knowing how to recognizing bullying, developing the courage to stand up, either for yourself or someone else, and having tools for how to cope with bullies can make the world of difference for a child—stories can help. They allow you to enter a world and a situation as an observer, experience it objectively and form judgements and make decisions about what is right and what is wrong, what works and what doesn’t and what kind of person you want to be. Without further ado, here are some truly amazing books to help create awareness, provide solutions and teach empathy, some quite light introductions and some with more serious themes.

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Wonder
Written by R. J. Palacio
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Born with a facial deformity that initially prevented his attendance at public school, Auggie Pullman enters the fifth grade at Beecher Prep and struggles with the dynamics of being both new and different, in a sparsely written tale about acceptance and self-esteem.

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The Hundred Dresses
Written by Eleanor Estes & illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Eleanor Estes’s The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time it’s too late for apologies. Maddie, one of Wanda’s classmates, ultimately decides that she is “never going to stand by and say nothing again.” This powerful, timeless story has been reissued with a new letter from the author’s daughter Helena Estes, and with the Caldecott artist Louis Slobodkin’s original artwork in beautifully restored color.

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Felix Ever After
Written by Kacen Callender
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 14-18

A Stonewall Honor Book * A Time Magazine Best YA Book of All TimeFrom Stonewall and Lambda Award-winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time.Felix Love has never been in love–and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many–Black, queer, and transgender–to ever get his own happily-ever-after.When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages–after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned–Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle….But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve.Felix is attending an ultracompetitive arts summer program to have a better shot at a full scholarship to Brown when someone posts Felix’s dead name beside photos of him, pre-transition, in the school’s lobby. Felix’s plot to get revenge throws him onto the path of love and self-discovery. (Publishers Weekly, An Anti-Racist Children’s and YA Reading List)

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Stick and Stone
Written by Beth Ferry & illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair becomes fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favor? Author Beth Ferry makes a memorable debut with a warm, rhyming text that includes a subtle anti-bullying message even the youngest reader will understand. New York Times bestselling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld imbues Stick and Stone with energy, emotion, and personality to spare. In this funny story about kindness and friendship, Stick and Stone join George and Martha, Frog and Toad, and Elephant and Piggie, as some of the best friend duos in children’s literature.

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Black Brother, Black Brother
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

From award-winning and bestselling author, Jewell Parker Rhodes comes a powerful coming-of-age story about two brothers, one who presents as white, the other as black, and the complex ways in which they are forced to navigate the world, all while training for a fencing competition.Framed. Bullied. Disliked. But I know I can still be the best. Sometimes, 12-year-old Donte wishes he were invisible. As one of the few black boys at Middlefield Prep, most of the students don’t look like him. They don’t like him either. Dubbing him “Black Brother,” Donte’s teachers and classmates make it clear they wish he were more like his lighter-skinned brother, Trey. When he’s bullied and framed by the captain of the fencing team, “King” Alan, he’s suspended from school and arrested. Terrified, searching for a place where he belongs, Donte joins a local youth center and meets former Olympic fencer Arden Jones. With Arden’s help, he begins training as a competitive fencer, setting his sights on taking down the fencing team captain, no matter what. As Donte hones his fencing skills and grows closer to achieving his goal, he learns the fight for justice is far from over. Now Donte must confront his bullies, racism, and the corrupt systems of power that led to his arrest. Powerful and emotionally gripping, Black Brother, Black Brother is a careful examination of the school-to-prison pipeline and follows one boy’s fight against racism and his empowering path to finding his voice.

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  • Starfish - Ellie is tired of being fat-shamed and does something about it in this poignant debut novel-in-verse. Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she’s been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules–like no making waves, avoid eating in public, and don’t move so fast that your body jiggles. And she’s found her safe space–her swimming pool–where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It’s also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie’s weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life–by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.

  • Fuzzy Mud - Fifth grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi and seventh grader Marshall Walsh have been walking to and from Woodridge Academy together since elementary school. But their routine is disrupted when bully Chad Hilligas challenges Marshall to a fight. To avoid the conflict, Marshall takes a shortcut home through the off-limits woods. Tamaya, unaware of the reason for the detour, reluctantly follows. They soon get lost. And then they find trouble. Bigger trouble than anyone could ever have imagined. In the days and weeks that follow, the authorities and the U.S. Senate become involved, and what they uncover might affect the future of the world.

  • Ace of Spades - Gossip Girl meets Get Out in Ace of Spades, a YA contemporary thriller by debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé about two students, Devon & Chiamaka, and their struggles against an anonymous bully. All you need to know is . . . I’m here to divide and conquer. Like all great tyrants do. –Aces When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too. Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures. As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly? With heart-pounding suspense and relevant social commentary comes a high-octane thriller from debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé.

  • The Queen Bee and Me - From the author of Caterpillar Summer comes the story of a young girl navigating her friendship with the middle school Queen Bee. Meg has been best friends with Beatrix forever. Everyone at school wants to be like confident, decisive Beatrix, and Meg has always felt the same. But this year, Meg wants to take a science course instead of dance class. She’d rather do what makes her happy—not what Beatrix wants. When a quirky girl named Hazel moves to town, Meg is partnered with her on a science project about bees. Meg learns a lot about being Queen Bee—in a hive and in middle school. As Beatrix is less than welcoming to Hazel, Meg feels her loyalty fraying. Choosing Hazel could mean ending her oldest friendship; a choice more difficult than Meg ever expected. By turns heartbreaking and empowering, The Queen Bee and Me explores the challenging dynamics of middle-school friendship in a way readers of any age will appreciate.

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The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
Written by Leslie Connor
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

From the critically acclaimed author of Waiting for Normal and All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, Leslie Connor, comes a deeply poignant and beautifully crafted story about self-reliance, redemption, and hope. This middle grade novel is an excellent choice for tween readers in grades 5 to 6, especially during homeschooling. It’s a fun way to keep your child entertained and engaged while not in the classroom. Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason’s learning disabilities are compounded by grief. Fifteen months ago, Mason’s best friend, Benny Kilmartin, turned up dead in the Buttle family’s orchard.An investigation drags on, and Mason, honest as the day is long, can’t understand why Lieutenant Baird won’t believe the story Mason has told about that day.Both Mason and his new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, are relentlessly bullied by the other boys in their neighborhood, so they create an underground haven for themselves. When Calvin goes missing, Mason finds himself in trouble again. He’s desperate to figure out what happened to Calvin and, eventually, Benny.But will anyone believe him?National Book Award Finalist ALA Schneider Family Book Award 2019 ALSC Notable Children’s Book Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2018 2019-2020 Nebraska Golden Sower Award Amazon Best Books of 2018 Kirkus Best of Children’s 2018 New York Public Library Best Books 2018 Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books 2018 2018 Nerdy Book Club Middle Grade Winner South Carolina Junior Book Award Nominee 2020 Colorado Children’s Book Award Nominee Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year 2019 (9-12) 2020 Grand Canyon Reader Award Nominee 2020-2021 Missouri Association of School Librarians Mark Twain Readers Award Preliminary Nominee 2020-2021 Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee

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Squint
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The hero of my comic books can shoot lasers from his eyes when he squints. But it might not be enough to save the Empress. What he’ll need most of all is a friend named Diamond Girl. Flint loves to draw. In fact, he’s furiously trying to finish his comic book so he can be the youngest winner of the “Find a Comic Star” contest. He’s also rushing to finish because he has an eye disease that could eventually make him blind. At school, Flint meets McKell. She’s new girl and doesn’t seem to have trouble making friends. She does have a problem with how some of her new friends treat this boy they call “Squint.” He seems nice and really talented. He also seems like the kind of person who wouldn’t laugh at you. That’s important, because McKell has hidden talents of her own but is worried about what will happen if she shares them. Squint is the inspiring story of two new friends dealing with their own challenges, who learn to trust each other, believe in themselves, and begin to truly see what matters most.

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The Tornado
Written by Jake Burt
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Bell Kirby is an expert at systems, whether he’s designing the world’s most elaborate habitat for his pet chinchilla, re-creating Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest inventions in his garage, or avoiding Parker Hellickson, the most diabolical bully Village Green Elementary has ever seen.

Since third grade, Parker has tormented Bell, who’s spent two long years devising a finely tuned system that keeps him out of Parker’s way. Sure, it means that Bell can’t get a drink when he wants to, can’t play with his best friend on the playground, and can’t tell his parents about his day, but at least he’s safe.

Until Daelynn Gower touches down in his classroom like a tornado.

Bell’s not sure why the new girl, with her rainbow hair, wild clothes, and strange habits, is drawn to him, but he knows one thing–she means trouble. It’s bad enough that she disrupts Bell’s secret system, but when Daelynn becomes the bully’s new target, Bell is forced to make an impossible decision: Finally stand up to Parker. . .

Or join him.

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Restart
Written by Gordon Korman
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The amazing New York Times bestseller about what you can do when life gives you a second chance.Chase’s memory just went out the window. Chase doesn’t remember falling off the roof. He doesn’t remember hitting his head. He doesn’t, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again . . . starting with his own name. He knows he’s Chase. But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return. Some kids treat him like a hero. Some kids are clearly afraid of him. One girl in particular is so angry with him that she pours her frozen yogurt on his head the first chance she gets. Pretty soon, it’s not only a question of who Chase is–it’s a question of who he was . . . and who he’s going to be. From the #1 bestselling author of Swindle and Slacker, Restart is the spectacular story of a kid with a messy past who has to figure out what it means to get a clean start.

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Wolf Hollow
Written by Lauren Wolk
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13

A Newbery Honor BookNew York Times Bestseller”Wolf Hollow has stayed with me long after I closed the book. It has the feel of an instant classic.” –Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medalist and New York Times bestselling author of A Long Walk to Water “This book matters.” –Sara Pennypacker, New York Times bestselling author of PaxDespite growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and though her bullying seems isolated at first, it quickly escalates. Toby, a reclusive World War I veteran, soon becomes the target of Betty’s attacks. While others see Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. And as tensions mount in their small community, Annabelle must find the courage to stand as a lone voice for justice. The brilliantly crafted debut of Newbery Honor- and Scott O’Dell Award-winning author Lauren Wolk (Beyond the Bright Sea, Echo Mountain), Wolf Hollow is a haunting tale of America at a crossroads and a time when one girl’s resilience, strength, and compassion help to illuminate the darkest corners of history.

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  • The Skin I'm in - Sharon Flake’s award-winning debut novel, repackaged with a new cover just in time for it’s 20th anniversary! Maleeka suffers every day from the taunts of the other kids in her class. If they’re not getting at her about her homemade clothes or her good grades, it’s about her dark, black skin. When a new teacher, whose face is blotched with a startling white patch, starts at their school, Maleeka can see there is bound to be trouble for her too. But the new teacher’s attitude surprises Maleeka. Miss Saunders loves the skin she’s in. Can Maleeka learn to do the same?

  • Save Me a Seat - Save Me a Seat joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content! Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they’re both stuck in the same place: SCHOOL. Joe’s lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own. Ravi’s family just moved to America from India, and he’s finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in. Joe and Ravi don’t think they have anything in common – but soon enough they have a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and a common mission: to take control of their lives over the course of a single crazy week.

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Boys don’t keep diaries―or do they? The launch of an exciting and innovatively illustrated new series narrated by an unforgettable kid every family can relate to It’s a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The hazards of growing up before you’re ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary. In book one of this debut series, Greg is happy to have Rowley, his sidekick, along for the ride. But when Rowley’s star starts to rise, Greg tries to use his best friend’s newfound popularity to his own advantage, kicking off a chain of events that will test their friendship in hilarious fashion. Author/illustrator Jeff Kinney recalls the growing pains of school life and introduces a new kind of hero who epitomizes the challenges of being a kid. As Greg says in his diary, “Just don’t expect me to be all ‘Dear Diary’ this and ‘Dear Diary’ that.” Luckily for us, what Greg Heffley says he won’t do and what he actually does are two very different things. Since its launch in May 2004 on Funbrain.com, the Web version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid has been viewed by 20 million unique online readers. This year, it is averaging 70,000 readers a day.

  • American Born Chinese - Gene Luen Yang is the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and is a MacArthur Fellow, a recipient of what’s popularly known as the MacArthur Genius Grant. A tour-de-force by New York Times bestselling graphic novelist Gene Yang, American Born Chinese tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he’s the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny’s life with his yearly visits. Their lives and stories come together with an unexpected twist in this action-packed modern fable. American Born Chinese is an amazing ride, all the way up to the astonishing climax. American Born Chinese is the winner of the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award, a 2006 National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature, the winner of the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album: New, an Eisner Award nominee for Best Coloring, a 2007 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, and a New York Times bestseller. This title has Common Core Connections

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Thirteen Reasons Why
Written by Jay Asher
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 12-18

THE BOOK THAT STARTED IT ALL, NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES The #1 New York Times bestseller and modern classic that’s been changing lives for a decade gets a gorgeous revamped cover and never-before-seen additional content, including: - An introduction from its award-winning author, Jay Asher; - The until-now-secret alternate ending for Hannah and Clay that almost was; - Early notes and ideas of how the story came to be; - Deleted scenes; - And more! You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play. Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever. Need to talk? Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) anytime if you are in the United States. It’s free and confidential.Find more resources at 13reasonswhy.info. Find out how you can help someone in crisis at bethe1to.com.

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Hoot
Written & illustrated by Carl Hiaasen
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

A book for young readers. It involves new kids, bullies, alligators, eco-warriors, pancakes, and pint-sized owls. A hilarious Floridian adventure!

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Blubber
Written & illustrated by Judy Blume
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

What happens when teasing goes too far? This classic middle grade novel from Judy Blume addresses the timeless topic of bullying and has a fresh new look.

“Blubber is a good name for her,” the note from Caroline said about Linda. Jill crumpled it up and left it on the corner of her school desk. She didn’t want to think about Linda or her dumb report on whales just then. Jill wanted to think about Halloween.

But Robby grabbed the note and before Linda stopped talking it had gone halfway around the room. There was something about Linda that made a lot of kids in her fifth-grade class want to see how far they could go…but nobody, Jill least of all, expected the fun to end where it did.

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The Chocolate War
Written by Robert Cormier
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 12-18

One of the most controversial YA novels of all time, The Chocolate War is a modern masterpiece that speaks to fans of S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and John Knowles’s A Separate Peace. After suffering rejection from seven major publishers, The Chocolate War made its debut in 1974, and quickly became a bestselling–and provocative–classic for young adults. This chilling portrait of an all-boys prep school casts an unflinching eye on the pitfalls of conformity and corruption in our most elite cultural institutions. “Masterfully structured and rich in theme; the action is well crafted, well timed, suspenseful.”–The New York Times Book Review “The characterizations of all the boys are superb.”–School Library Journal, starred review “Compellingly immediate. . . . Readers will respect the uncompromising ending.”–Kirkus Reviews, starred review An ALA Best Book for Young Adults A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year A Kirkus Reviews Editor’s Choice A New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year

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Gossip Girl
Written by Cecily von Ziegesar
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 14-18

Serena van der Woodsen is back from boarding school – but is she still the Upper East Side’s It Girl? The wickedly funny first book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series that inspired the original hit CW show and the HBO Max series.Welcome to New York City’s Upper East Side, where my friends and I live, go to school, play, and sleep – sometimes with each other.S is back from boarding school, and if we aren’t careful, she’s going to win over our teachers, wear that dress we couldn’t fit into, steal our boyfriends’ hearts, and basically ruin our lives in a major way. I’ll be watching closely…You know you love me.gossip girl

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  • Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse - A classic in the making, this heartwarming story about empathy and imagination is one that families will treasure for years to come. Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse–the best and most beautiful horse anywhere. But Chloe does NOT believe him. Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse? The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn’t get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important. Written with tenderness and poignancy and gorgeously illustrated, this book will show readers that kindness is always rewarding, understanding is sweeter than judgment, and friendship is the best gift one can give.

  • The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! - From the award-winning author and illustrator of Blown Away, Rob Biddulph, comes a delightfully hilarious story about a grizzly bear named Fred who loses his GRRRRR. Each year, for as long as the forest has stood, a contest is held for the bears of the wood… Fred is the champion. He’s the best. But being the best takes time and training, especially when it comes to having the loudest growl. Then, one morning, disaster strikes—Fred’s GRRRRR is gone! Oh, no! Will Fred find his GRRRRR and realize that there’s more to life than being a winner?

  • The Rag Coat - With paintings that capture all the beauty of Appalachia in authentic detail, this tender story about a resourceful mountain girl’s special coat will touchreaders with its affirming message of love and friendship.

  • Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon - B is for Bookworm -

    I love Molly Lou Melon! She is a fantastic girl who, despite some differences, listens to the advice her grandmother gives her to believe in herself, be proud of herself, and just be her great self. :) Even when a boy at school bullies her multiple times, she follows her grandmother's advice and shows the bully how remarkable she is, and they turn out to be friends.

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Thank You, Mr. Falker
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

The real-life, classic story of a dyslexic girl and the teacher who would not let her fail. A perfect gift for teachers and for reading students of any age.

Patricia Polacco is now one of America’s most loved children’s book creators, but once upon a time, she was a little girl named Trisha starting school. Trisha could paint and draw beautifully, but when she looked at words on a page, all she could see was jumble. It took a very special teacher to recognize little Trisha’s dyslexia: Mr. Falker, who encouraged her to overcome her reading disability. Patricia Polacco will never forget him, and neither will we.

This inspiring story is available in a deluxe slipcased edition, complete with a personal letter to readers from Patricia Polacco herself. Thank You, Mr. Falker will make a beautiful gift for the special child who needs encouragement or any special teacher who has made a difference in the child’s life.

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Stacey's Extraordinary Words
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

#1 New York Times bestseller! The debut picture book from iconic voting rights advocate and bestselling author Stacey Abrams is an inspiring tale of determination, based on her own childhood. Stacey is a little girl who loves words more than anything. She loves reading them, sounding them out, and finding comfort in them when things are hard. But when her teacher chooses her to compete in the local spelling bee, she isn’t as excited as she thought she’d be. What if she messes up? Or worse, if she can’t bring herself to speak up, like sometimes happens when facing bullies at school? Stacey will learn that win or lose . . . her words are powerful, and sometimes perseverance is the most important word of all.

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My Friend Maggie
Written & illustrated by Hannah Harrison
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
Hannah E. Harrison's illustrations are always so detailed and wonderfully colorful and expressive and this book is no exception. This books reminds us that participating in bullying may make you feel part of the in-crowd initially, but bullies are rarely nice for long, even to their "friends," and it's far better to be true to our true friends from the get-go. The message is fantastic, and I really appreciated the little example of forgiveness included as well.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“Paula and Maggie are best friends until Paula starts playing with some new friends instead, but when her new playmates turn on her, it’s Maggie who rushes to Paula’s defense”

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Super Manny Stands Up!
Written by Kelly DiPucchio & illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
"Manny stood up. And then he did the bravest, most courageous, kindest thing he ever could have done. He said: Stop It." Manny is a super hero after school every day, wearing a different color cape and conquering the fiercest monsters his imagination can devise, but it turns out his invisible cape he wears to school is the most powerful. The power and confidence practice and imagination can give you, and the reminder that once you stand up for someone, others will most likely follow and back you up is comforting, and who knows when you might make a new best friend. The illustrations in this book are modern and fun, and the message is spectacular.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

New York Times bestselling author Kelly DiPucchio and illustrator Stephanie Graegin bring a lionhearted new hero to life in this tender, sparkling story about standing up for what’s right—and finding your inner superpowers. Every day after school, Manny saves the world from formidable foes. I AM FEARLESS! I AM STRONG! I AM BRAVE! I AM POWERFUL! I AM INVINCIBLE! Zombie bears, evil cloud monsters, and alien robots with laser beam eyes are no match for Super Manny. But when Manny encounters a real-life nemesis in the school cafeteria, will he be able to summon his superhero strength to save the day?

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Mr. Lincoln's Way
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

When Mr. Lincoln, “the coolest principal in the whole world,” discovers that Eugene, the school bully, knows a lot about birds, he uses this interest to help Eugene overcome his intolerance.

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  • From Wimpy to Warrior the Navy Seal Way - National Bestseller Fifth grade was the worst year of Marc’s life. He stunk at gym class, math was too hard for him, the school lunch was horrible, and his class field trip was ruined because he couldn’t swim. But what was most awful thing about fifth grade? Kenny Williamson, the class bully, who calls himself the King of the Jungle. When Marc’s mother tells him that his Uncle Jake is coming to stay for the whole summer, Marc can’t wait. Uncle Jake is a for real, super-cool Navy SEAL. And Uncle Jake has a plan. He’s going to turn Marc into a warrior. Becoming a warrior isn’t easy. It means a lot of pull ups, sit ups, pushups, squats, swimming, eating right, and studying harder than ever before! Can Marc transform himself into a warrior before school starts in the fall - and finally stand up to the King of the Jungle himself? The Way of the Warrior Kid is a new illustrated chapter book by #1 New York Times-bestselling author and retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink.

  • My Panda Sweater - A quirky kid donates her beloved panda sweater, and through this act of sacrifice gains a new friend. With whimsical, contemporary artwork, this story balances the topic of selflessness with humor and heart, while also offering an opportunity to talk about bullying, sharing and self-confidence.

  • The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade - Sally McCabe is a very little girl, and nobody notices her, although she notices everything that goes on around her–but when she speaks out about the unkindness she sees, people start to pay attention.

  • Violet the Pilot - Violet is a science-loving girl inventor with a flair for the air! Fans of Ada Twist, Scientist and Rosie Revere, Engineer will love this classic underdog story by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Steve Breen. By the time she’s two years old, Violet Van Winkle can engineer nearly any appliance in the house. And by eight she’s building elaborate flying machines from scratch—mind-boggling contraptions such as the Tubbubbler, the Bicycopter, and the Wing-a-ma-jig. The kids at school tease her, but they have no idea what she’s capable of. Maybe she could earn their respect by winning the blue ribbon in the upcoming Air Show. Or maybe something even better will happen—something involving her best-ever invention, a Boy Scout troop in peril, and even the mayor himself!

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Prairie Lotus
Written by Linda Sue Park
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-12

Prairie Lotus is a powerful, touching, multilayered book about a girl determined to fit in and realize her dreams: getting an education, becoming a dressmaker in her father’s shop, and making at least one friend. Acclaimed, award-winning author Linda Sue Park has placed a young half-Asian girl, Hanna, in a small town in America’s heartland, in 1880. Hanna’s adjustment to her new surroundings, which primarily means negotiating the townspeople’s almost unanimous prejudice against Asians, is at the heart of the story. Narrated by Hanna, the novel has poignant moments yet sparkles with humor, introducing a captivating heroine whose wry, observant voice will resonate with readers.

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Just Right Jillian
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In this heartfelt middle grade novel from debut author Nicole D. Collier, fifth grader Jillian must learn to speak and break free of her shell to enter her school’s academic competition and keep her promise to her grandmother. Fifth grader Jillian will do just about anything to blend in, including staying quiet even when she has the right answer. After she loses a classroom competition because she won’t speak up, she sets her mind on winning her school’s biggest competition. But breaking out of her shell is easier said than done, and Jillian has only a month to keep her promise to her grandmother and prove to herself that she can speak up and show everyone her true self. A warm and relatable middle grade debut novel about family, friendship, and finding the confidence to break free from the crowd and be who you truly are.

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Sugar and Spite
Written by Gail D. Villanueva
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Can a bully be defeated by a magical love potion?Jolina can’t take Claudine’s bullying any longer! The taunts and teasing are too much. Though Jolina knows she’s still in-training to use her grandfather’s arbularyo magic, she sneaks into his potions lab to get her revenge. Jolina brews a batch of gayuma, a powerful love potion.And it works. The love potion conquers Claudine’s hateful nature. In fact, Claudine doesn’t just stop bullying Jolina – now she wants to be Jolina’s BFF, and does everything and anything Jolina asks.But magic comes with a cost, and bad intentions beget bad returns. Controlling another person’s ability to love – or hate – will certainly have consequences. The magic demands payment, and it is about to come for Jolina in the form of a powerful storm…Magic and reality mingle in this brilliant new middle-grade novel by Gail D. Villanueva that asks whether it’s ever okay to take away someone’s free will.

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Shadow of a Pug
Written & illustrated by Casey Lyall
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Middle-school detectives Howard Wallace and Ivy Mason are itching for a juicy case–but when they’re forced to prove that uber-bully Carl Dean didn’t pugnap the school mascot, they’re not thrilled. Now Howard and Ivy have to play nice with Carl, dodge a snoopy reporter, and deal with Howard’s worst enemy, Miles Fletcher. Can Howard handle these complications and still be there for Ivy when her life is turned upside down?

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Best at It
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From award-winning actor Maulik Pancholy comes a hilarious and heartfelt middle grade debut about a gay Indian American boy coming into his own. One of Time Out’s “LGBTQ+ books for kids to read during Pride Month,” this is perfect for fans of Tim Federle’s Nate series. A Stonewall Honor Book!Rahul Kapoor is heading into seventh grade in a small town in Indiana. The start of middle school is making him feel increasingly anxious, so his favorite person in the whole world, his grandfather, Bhai, gives him some well-meaning advice: Find one thing you’re really good at and become the BEST at it.Those four little words sear themselves into Rahul’s brain. While he’s not quite sure what that special thing is, he is convinced that once he finds it, bullies like Brent Mason will stop torturing him at school. And he won’t be worried about staring too long at his classmate Justin Emery. With his best friend, Chelsea, by his side, Rahul is ready to crush this challenge…. But what if he discovers he isn’t the best at anything?Funny, charming, and incredibly touching, this is a story about friendship, family, and the courage it takes to live your truth. –Kacen Callender, Stonewall Award-winning author of Hurricane Child

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  • Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage to Be Who You Are - How can Ralph be so mean? Lucy is one of a kind and Ralph loves to point that out. Lucy’s defining moment comes when Ralph truly needs help. Because she knows what she stands for, Lucy has the courage to make a good choice. This charming story empowers children to always do the right thing and be proud of themselves, even when they are faced with someone as challenging as Ralph.

  • The Tapper Twins Go Viral - Told as a series of interviews, photos, texts, social media hits, and videogame screenshots, The Tapper Twins Go Viral is a laugh-a-page story about online fame and shame, with internet pro-tips and a serious lesson about digital citizenship. Claudia Tapper just doesn’t get it: How is it possible that the video of the best breakup song she’s ever written is watched by virtually nobody, when her brother Reese’s completely moronic 2-second clip of an video game wipeout ends up being the hottest thing online at Culvert Prep? Unfortunately, Claudia’s bold declaration of injustice sets the stage for the bet of her life: Which of the Tapper twins can get more online followers in a week? She had better top Reese’s rapidly escalating popularity or she can kiss her social life goodbye if she loses the bet and is forced to post the most embarrassing video imaginable!

  • Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers - When we last saw George and Harold, they were headed to jail for the rest of their lives. What could be worse? How about being pulled from prison by a time-traveling tyrant named Tippy Tinkletrousers?!!? Now the boys are taking a trip back in time to the carefree days of kindergarten, when the scariest thing they had to face was not evil mad scientists or alien cafeteria ladies but a sixth-grade bully named Kipper Krupp, the nephew of their clueless school principal. And because George and Harold don’t invent Captain Underpants until they’re in fourth grade, the clever kindergartners are on their own. Will their brains be enough to beat the bully?!!?

  • My Life as a Potato - For anyone who has ever felt like a potato in middle school, this hilarious story about a boy forced to become the dorkiest school mascot ever will have readers cheering! “A grade A, spudtastic (not to mention FUNNY) debut. Arianne Costner sure knows middle school and middle schoolers!” –Chris Grabenstein, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Ben Hardy believes he’s cursed by potatoes. And now he’s moved to Idaho, where the school’s mascot is Steve the Spud! Yeah, this cannot be good. After accidentally causing the mascot to sprain an ankle, Ben is sentenced to Spud duty for the final basketball games of the year. But if the other kids know he’s the Spud, his plans for popularity are likely to be a big dud! Ben doesn’t want to let the team down, so he lies to his friends to keep it a secret. No one will know it’s him under the potato suit . . . right? Life as a potato is all about not getting mashed! With laugh-out-loud illustrations throughout, hand to fans of James Patterson, Gordan Korman, Jeff Kinney, and Chris Grabenstein! “A hilarious, relatable story for any kid who has ever felt out of place.” –Stacy McAnulty, author of The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

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The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict
Written by Trenton Lee Stewart & illustrated by Diana Sudyka
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13

Before there was a Mysterious Benedict Society, there was simply a boy named Nicholas Benedict - now it’s time to meet the boy who started it all. Nine-year-old Nicholas Benedict has more problems than most children his age. Not only is he an orphan with an unfortunate nose, but he also has narcolepsy, a condition that gives him terrible nightmares and makes him fall asleep at the worst possible moments. Now he’s being sent to a new orphanage, where he will encounter vicious bullies, selfish adults, strange circumstances – and a mystery that could change his life forever. Luckily, he has one important thing in his favor: He’s a genius. On his quest to solve the mystery, Nicholas finds enemies around every corner, but also friends in unexpected places – and discovers along the way that the greatest puzzle of all is himself.

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Princess Posey and the First Grade Boys
Written by Stephanie Greene & illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Posey is the perfect fictional friend for any first-grade girl.–Kirkus Reviews Posey takes on boys (and bullying) in the eighth book in this charming chapter book series for first grade readers! Will Posey ever be able to get along with boys? Probably not. They barely ever sit still, they make lots of rude noises, and they are just plain annoying. But when Posey teases Henry for being a weirdo, Miss Lee tells her that she’s being a (gasp!) bully. Only by calling on the help of the Pink Princess can Posey step back and see that boys have feelings as well. And maybe, in the end, she can be friends with the boys too.

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Karen's School Picture (Graphic Novel)
Written by Ann M. Martin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Another graphic novel in this fun series spin-off of The Baby-sitters Club, featuring Kristy’s little stepsister!Karen has to get glasses! She doesn’t want them, especially because school pictures are going to be taken soon. But she picks out some pretty pink ones and thinks she looks very grown-up.Then Yicky Ricky at school starts calling her names, like Owl Girl and Googly Eyes. If Karen wears her glasses for the school picture, Ricky will make fun of her. If she doesn’t wear them, she’ll feel like she’s afraid to be herself. Glasses or no glasses, that Ricky is going to get it!

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Accidental Trouble Magnet
Written by Zanib Mian & illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

An exciting #OwnVoices middle-grade debut starring a Muslim boy with a huge imagination Welcome to the imaginative brain of Omar! Omar and his family have just moved, and he is NOT excited about starting at a new school. What if the work is too hard or the kids are mean or the teacher is a zombie alien?! But when Omar makes a new best friend, things start looking up. That is, until a Big Mean Bully named Daniel makes every day a nightmare! Daniel even tells Omar that all Muslims are going to be kicked out of the country . . . Could that possibly be true? Luckily, Omar’s enormous imagination and goofy family help him get through life’s ups and downs. Omar’s funny, relatable narrative is the perfect answer to the call for both mirrors and windows to fill bookshelves with diverse stories.

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Not Quite Snow White
Written by & illustrated by Ebony Glenn
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A picture book for magical yet imperfect girls everywhere, written by debut author Ashley Franklin and perfect for fans of such titles as Mary Had a Little Glam by Tammi Sauer and the classic Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman.Tameika is a girl who belongs on the stage. She loves to act, sing, and dance–and she’s pretty good at it, too. So when her school announces their Snow White musical, Tameika auditions for the lead princess role.But the other kids think she’s “not quite” right to play the role. They whisper, they snicker, and they glare.Will Tameika let their harsh words be her final curtain call?Not Quite Snow White is a delightful and inspiring picture book that highlights the importance of self-confidence while taking an earnest look at what happens when that confidence is shaken or lost. Tameika encourages us all to let our magic shine.

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