Using Literature to Stop Bullying

Bullying is a growing problem that needs to be addressed in the home and in the classroom. Basically, bullies lack compassion for others. They may feel isolated and may themselves be victims of abuse and neglect. Often they build walls to protect themselves from people who could help them. This is where literature can build a door in the wall. By experiencing problems of fictional characters, these problem kids are better able to understand the consequences of their own actions and look for positive ways to change..

Below is a list of books which would lend themselves well to character-building curriculums that focus on stopping bulling. Most of these books are in your library! (If can't find them, you can order them by clicking the title below and following the links.) The picture book units that compliment them are available online individually or in the Kids' Wings collections of 40 units. They represent several different genres! Check out two or three copies of each for your class. Let students choose their favorites and form literature groups. Give them copies of the unit to guide them to find the special treasure inside each book, to develop valuable skills, to problem solve, and to help them work together as a group! Books that are strong in character can reach many "unreachable" children!

Picture Books:

THE RECESS QUEEN, by Alexis O'Neill.  Scholastic Press, New York: 2002. Mean Jean is the meanest bully of all! Who is big enough to stop the bullying? Why, tiny Katie Sue, of course. (The Kids Wings Unit in Tickles, Tricks, and Treasure contains a fantastic readers theater script about bullying!)

CLARA CATERPILLAR, by Pamela Duncan Edwards.  HarperCollins, New York: 2001. When Clara's mother said goodbye to the egg that was Clara, she wished for Clara to be contented and courageous. This is the story of how Clara became both. How will Clara handle the bullying by a stuck-up red butterfly? (It's also great to explore C-Words and C-Sounds!) (Kids' Wings' Tickles, Tricks, and Treasure contains this classroom unit.)

STAND TALL, MOLLY LOU MELON, by Patty Lovell.  G. P. Putnam's, New York: c2001. Tiny Molly Lou Melon learns from her grandmother how to handle her differences. When she moves to a new place, she must put her lessons to the test when a bully tries to make her feel bad. (Kids' Wings' Tickles, Tricks, and Treasure contains this classroom unit.)

HOOWAY FOR WODNEY by Helen Lester. Poor Wodney Wat is bullied by everyone in his class. What will Wodney do when the biggest bully of all moves into the class? (Kids' Wings Unit in Book Buddies)

ANDY SHANE AND THE VERY BOSSY DELORES STARBUCKLE by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. Andy Shane hates school because of his bossy classmate who always seems to be getting him into trouble. Luckily, his wise grandmother knows just the trick to channel Delores's activities into a better direction! (Kids Wings Unit in Springboards.)

FROG'S BEST FRIEND by Marion Dane Bauer. In this short first-reader chapter book, frog learns that even best friends can be shared. (Kids' Wings' Tickles, Tricks, and Treasure contains this classroom unit.)

HUNTER'S BEST FRIEND AT SCHOOL by Laura Malone Elliott. Two raccoon friends learn important lessons about friendship. When Hunter's friend becomes a distraction, Hunter must learn how to be a good leader and friend. (Kids' Wings' Tickles, Tricks, and Treasure contains this classroom unit.)

JABUTI, THE TORTOISE: A TRICKSTER TALE FROM THE AMAZON, by Gerald McDermott. Folk tales often carry important messages. Talented Jabuti is attacked by the jealous Vulture. How will the King of Heaven handle the crime? (Kids' Wings' Tickles, Tricks, and Treasure contains this classroom unit!)

WIDGET, by Lyn Rossiter McFarland.  Farrar Straus Giroux, new York: 2001. A stray dog is bullied by a house full of cats. How will he ever fit in? (Kids' Wings' Tickles, Tricks, and Treasure contains this classroom unit.)

THE HERO OF BREMEN by Margaret Hodges. How can a crippled man who has to walk on knuckles and knees, a man who others put down, become a hero. This folktale personifies HERO. (Kids' Wings' Bluebonnet Celebrations contains this classroom unit.)

THE MIGHTEST HEART by Lynn Cullen. This folktale about a dog who is devoted to his master will teach compassion, the character trait basic to fighting a bully. (Kids' Wings' Forged in the Fire contains this classroom unit.)

THE SWEETEST FIG by Chris Van Allsburg. A story with an hysterical twist and a moral! (Kids' Wings Bluebonnet Celebrations contains this classroom unit.)

The Perfect Wizard: Hans Christian Andersen by Jane Yolen. In spite of difficult life events including bullying, Hans Christian Andersen used his talents and perseverance to become one of the most famous and beloved story tellers in history. (The Ripple Effect contains this unit.)

Novels:

WONDER by R. J. Palacio

FREAKY FAST FRANKIE JOE by Lutricia Clifton

BECAUSE OF MR. TERUPT by Rob Buyea

EllRay Jakes is NOT a chicken! by Sally Warner. 3rd grader EllRay Jakes has no idea why he's being bullied, but he knows what he's not going to do about it!

Toby and the Phantoms of the Fourth Grade by Art Wallace --Unit now available in download! A Kids Wings FAVORITE!

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (Kids' Wings' Roots and Wings contains this classroom unit.)

Roxie and the Hooligans by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Even though Roxie Warbler is the niece of the celebrated explorer, Uncle Dangerfoot, she is still the target of bullies. When Roxie is attacked by this gang of hooligans, she and the hooligans are thrust into an adventure that none of them expect, an adventure that takes them from being buried alive in garbage to standing face to face with blood-thirsty bank robbers. But, in the end, truth and justice prevail. (A Kids' Wings' The Ripple Effect contains this classroom unit.)

Flying Solo by Ralph Fletcher. When neither the teacher nor a substitute come and the class decides they can do it by themselves, how will the day turn out? Powerful character study!

Junebug by Alice Mead . A boy in the ghetto faces the worst kind of bullying and emerges stronger for the problems. (Kids' Wings' Character Connections contains this classroom unit)

 

 

 

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