This week is Anti-Bullying Week, and I can think of no better way to talk about bullying than with the help of some of these brilliant books. A word to the wise – some of these will probably make you cry. Some will make you laugh as well.
Let’s get started!
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
This one is an incredibly popular book from a couple of years ago. Auggie (August) was born with a disability which makes him look very different from other children. Until he turns ten he is homeschooled because of his disabilities. The book roughly follows his first year of school, from his point of view, including all of the trials and tribulations of the year. A massive part of the book is about the bullying which Auggie suffers at the school. It’s a really feel-good book, and would be a fantastic choice for parents or teachers looking for a book to read to their year 5 and 6 child(ren), especially as there’s a lot in it that would make fantastic discussion points.
A brilliant resource pack for teachers about Wonder is available from TES for free here.
Manfred the Baddie by John Fardell
I have to admit that this one is actually one of my sneaky favourites. Manfred is an evil villain, who kidnaps people, steals things and even commits piracy. He’s a really cruel person to all of his henchmen as well. When Manfred gets unwell, he realises that no-one likes him as they all happily go about their business in his absence. With the help of a wise doctor he decides to change his ways. This book is a hilarious story about the importance of being nice and would make a brilliant bedtime story. The pictures are really brilliant, and children LOVE it – this is one of those books which is constantly out of the school library!
Willy the Wimp by Anthony Browne
An absolute classic: “Willy is kind and gentle, and bullied by the suburban gorilla gang who call him “Willy the Wimp”. Desperate to do something about his situation, Willy answers a bodybuilding advert and grows big and strong, determined no-one will ever call him “wimp” again.” Anthony Browne’s distinctive artwork is something that never ages. It’s difficult to believe that this book has been around for over Thirty years!
Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson and David Roberts
When an egg ends up in the wrong nest, a duck-bill ends up growing up as a tyrannosaurus, however his Tyrannosaurus sisters begin to call him Tyrannosaurus Drip, and being cruel to him. This is a brilliant rhyming story of a dinosaur who isn’t afraid to be himself, with a brilliantly cathartic ending.
The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams
Dennis likes to wear dresses. He teams up with the most fashionable girl in school to dress him up as ‘French exchange student Denise’. Under this guise, he goes to school and takes part in a football match where the truth is discovered and he gets in trouble for his cross-dressing.
The bullying in this book mostly comes from the headmaster, but the book in general is fantastic for the message of tolerance that it upholds.
Scholastic have an excellent pack of free resources to go with this book, which is available here.
Obviously there are plenty of other excellent books out there about bullying which would be excellent for any child to read, and these are just a couple of examples. If you’ve got any others you’d like to suggest, please feel free to comment!