Sunday, 6 April 2014

Bullies and bullying

A topic I am very passionate about - preventing bullying - whether that is in schools, online or in the workplace.

I recently discovered some new picture books that help raise and deal with this issue.  My current collection is large as this is a topic I used to teach with pre-service teachers, so I was delighted to discover some new additions.

"Dandelion" by Galvin Scott Davis (2013) is a delightful picture book written by a father (and author) when his own son experienced bullying.  I love the presentation of this book with its black pages, simple text and the story of Benjamin using his imagination and faith in dandelions to overcome bullying.  
A book review can be read here with a link to tips for overcoming bullying.   I found it interesting that Benjamin attends the "School for the Misguided" and I learnt not only about having courage and using your imagination but also the fact that the word "dandelion" means a lion's tooth.  The author discusses the creation and purpose of the book here:  A key message is that bullying is for people without imagination and that your imagination makes you very strong.  Another review can be read here and free teachers' notes are available through the publisher here (scroll down).  Find out how the book has raised money for the Sydney Children's Hospital Foundation here.

This story is about two friends Beth and Billy who move to middle school and realise they aren't as popular as they were in elementary school.  They experience bullying from older students and a new student named Gretchen.  They learn strategies for dealing with bullies with the help of their teachers, other adults and friends.  This sensitive and important topic is told through an interesting graphic novel style that embeds factual information about bullying within the narrative structure (e.g. identifying forms of bullying, helping a friend who is being bullied, getting help, cyberbullying etc.).  Writeen by Mike Cassidy, with the caption on the cover: "Defend yourself against bullies and cyberbullies", the text was published in 2010.  The graphic novel/comic style interspersed with jokes and funnies is sure to be a hit with kids.
Click on the image below to view a read aloud of "Weird!" by Erin Frankel (2012), illustrated by Paula Heaphy.  This series is fabulous and deals with many issues that face girls, including being constantly called "weird" and changing everything you do or wear to try to avoid being called it.  "Dare!" is written from the perspective of Jayla, a bystander who witnesses her friend being bullied but is too scared to stand up for her, until someone dares her to join in with the bullying.  "Tough" is from the perspective of the bully, Sam, who picks on kids at school sometimes but doesn't think she's really being mean, or is she?  
The Weird series is part of the Bully Free Kids bullying prevention resources from Free Spirit publishing, with true-to-life stories about bullying told from all three perspectives - the target, the bystander and the bully.  Tips for parents can be found here, tips for students here, and tips for teachers here.
Some of my other favourites picture books on this topic include: "The Juice Box Bully"  - click here to see a read aloud of the book or here for the book trailer.   A read aloud of "You're Mean Lily Jean" can be viewed here.  An annotated list of 30 anti-bulling books for kids can be found here and another list of ten titles can be found here.

Information about kids with asperges and bullying can be found here.

For support and further resources, Australian links and organisations include:

I have a pinterest board where I pin lots of ideas and freebies for social and emotional well-being including anti-bullying and behaviour management resources - you can view or follow that board here.

Please let me know if there are other resources or links you know about or have used for anti-bullying as it is an area I am very interested in.

Have a terrific week!


  1. Kylie-Two others I've used this year with my students were Bully by Patricia Polacco and Each Kindness by Jaqueline Woodson. I love your post and book recommendations. I'll certainly watch for these at Ollies (my little shop that sells books inexpensively) or grab them from our library at school.

  2. Thanks so much for mentioning these titles Carla. You have a terrific resource for "Bully" in your TPT store. The link is here for any readers who are interested in following up on this: I am unsure if you have also made a resource for "Each Kindness", but if you have, would you mind sharing the link please? Many thanks Kylie

    1. Thanks so much for sharing that. You didn't need to. I haven't made anything for Each Kindness, but Wendy at Read With Me ABC has a post about it. Different topic, but another really touching story I read to teach memoirs this week was The Memory String by Eve Bunting. It deals with death and step parenting...another great one for couselors. I shared these titles with our guidance counselor, and he was so appreciative.

  3. Karla, I was thinking that Chrysanthemum would fit in here too as she is teased about her name and you also have a resource on this one:
    I love your work :) Kylie

  4. If anyone else has any resources, feel free to leave the links - If I knew how to do a link up I would have added that to my post :) I don't usually do product posts, however if readers read this far, they are obviously interested, so please feel free to share any books you have used for bullying awareness, or any great resources you have either used or produced. Many thanks :)

  5. I am so happy to see these great resources. Bullying happens throughout life. A sibling, boss, love one or even a friend may bully you. This subject can't be over taught since the scars a bully leaves are forever.

  6. Indeed Anne and unfortunately, as you mention, it happens all through life, so if we can address this from the earliest years it might help people throughout their lives to cope more resiliently - I certainly wish it had been addressed throughout my schooling :) Kylie