Reading aloud children’s books to your elementary students is a great way to introduce and teach bullying. Below is a list of our favorite picture books to teach this social emotional learning topic. They all lend themselves well to facilitating rich classroom discussions around bullying. Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun, The Juice Box Bully, Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon and Macca the Alpaca are part of our bullying SEL Unit, which includes interactive read aloud lesson plans among tons of other resources for teaching bullying. Learn all about these picture books about bullying below and how you can use them to teach bullying prevention!
10 Picture Books about Bullying
Below are 10 quality picture books about bullying for elementary teachers. Your kids will love these read alouds! They are great for teaching ant-bullying, as well as many other concepts and skills.
1. Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy
Lucy is a kind girl whose favorite food is spaghetti in a hot dog bun. Lucy’s grandpa Papa Gino teaches her that even though people are different, everyone has a heart with feelings. Lucy has to put her grandpa’s lesson to the test when Ralph, a boy at school, starts to tease her. This story teaches students to choose kindness, even with others who may tease you. It also shows students how to be aware of bullying and teasing behaviors and know that they are unacceptable. My Bullying SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!
2. The Juice Box Bully by Bob Sornson
Pete is new to school and isn’t kind to his classmates. He uses harsh words when he talks to his classmates and he steals a ball from kids who are using it during recess. One day after a poor decision in the lunchroom, another student stands up for Pete and reminds readers that they don’t treat people like that in their class. Pete has never had anyone stand up for him before and he realizes that it is better to be nice. This story reminds students why bullies are usually mean, and how no matter what, we must emphasize kindness. My Bullying SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!
3. Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
Molly Lou Melon is the shortest girl in her class, is clumsy, and has teeth that stick out. Her grandma always taught her that she should be proud of who she is and stand tall. At her new school, a student starts to tease Molly about being short and having big teeth. Molly continues to be proud of herself and impress the other students with her unique qualities. Eventually, he is able to see Molly for who she is. Molly realizes that her grandma was right, if she loves herself others will love her too. This book is a wonderful story of self confidence, being authentic, and standing up to bullying behavior. My Bullying SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!
4. Macca the Alpaca by Matt Cosgrove
Macca the alpaca’s days are filled with laughter and glee, until one day a llama comes. The llama, Harmer, quickly brings drama and picks on Macca. The two compete and Macca proves the importance of kindness and wit. Join Macca and Harmer on an adventure that reminds readers there is more to a person than their size! My Bullying SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!
5. Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship by Edward Hemingway
The fifth book on this list of picture books about bullying is Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship. Mac was an apple who found a worm inside him! They loved being friends, until Mac’s apple friends said he was rotten. Taking the worm out, he realized how important the worm actually was! He would rather be rotten than lose his friend. This story tells the importance of friendship, standing up against bullies, and feeling proud of who you are! Check out these Bad Apple activities!
6. Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
Chloe’s teacher had a lesson about kindness involving dropping stones into water, showing that kindness would ripple. This prompted Chloe to reflect on how she was unkind to a girl named Maya. She set a goal to smile at Maya the next day. That is, until her teacher told them that Maya had moved away. Since Maya moved, she could not apologize. She could not try to correct her wrongs. This story shows the effects of bullying, the regret that follows, and how to learn from our mistakes. Check out these Each Kindness activities!
7. Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld
Stick. Stone. Both are always alone. One day, while Stone was playing on the playground, Pinecone came and made fun of stone. Then, Stick came out and vanished Pinecone away. Finally, Stick and Stone had a friend! This simplistic, rhyming story teaches students the value of friendship, the challenges with bullying, and the importance of kindness. Check out these Stick and Stone activities!
8. The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad
Faizah is very excited for the first day of school because her sister, Asiya, is wearing a hijab to school for the first time. The hijab is a beautiful shade of blue. In school, others make mean comments and ask questions. Faizah learns that Asiya is not upset by the boy in her class, and she continues to wear her hijab with pride. Students will learn the importance of not judging others based on appearance, diversity, and inclusion. Check out these The Proudest Blue activities!
9. The Ugly Duckling by Jerry Pinkey
A mother duck and her ducklings are confused by one of her eggs. The egg looks different, and when hatched, they tease him and he runs away. Through his journey, he faces discrimination and bullying, until he learns that he is actually a beautiful swan. This story teaches students to not judge based on outward appearance, to include others, and to be proud of your identity. Check out these The Ugly Duckling activities!
10. The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin
The last on this list of picture books about bullying is The Rough Face Girl. In this story, there was a man who had three daughters, two of which were mean and cruel, and they called the third sister The Rough-Faced Girl. This Native American fairytale is a take on the classic story, Cinderella. This story lends itself to teaching about bullying, teasing, advocating, and believing in yourself. Students will see the effect that bullying takes on the Rough-Faced Girl, and although she perseveres, she has a difficult life. Check out these The Rough-Face Girl activities!
Integrated SEL and Literacy Activities
Below are some integrated SEL and literacy resources for elementary teachers.
Our Anti-Bullying Unit, which is available individually or as part of a year-long SEL bundle, includes lessons for the first four books on this list. This unit is packed with lesson plans, teaching resources, games, and activities. Learn more about it!
SEL Book Companions
As I mentioned earlier, I love teaching SEL skills using picture books. That’s why I created the Starts With a Story Collection. High quality children’s literature supports elementary teachers in delivering meaningful and accessible SEL lessons. All of the read alouds on this list are part of this book companion collection. Check out the book companions below!
In closing, we hope you found this list of picture books about bullying helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts: