October is Bullying Prevention Month and as such we wanted to share a few reading resources to help students feel seen no matter what they’re going through.
Key tip: We recommend letting students choose a few books that pique their interest. Why? Because book choice is key to student agency and motivation.
Now, let’s get into our top middle school books to promote Anti Bullying.
Out of My Mind, Sharon M. Draper
Melody knows she’s not like most people. For starters, she cannot walk or talk, but she has a photogenic memory and can remember everything she’s ever experienced. She is brilliant but dismissed as mentally challenged by her classmates in her integrated classroom because she cannot tell them otherwise. In a true display of courage, Melody refuses to be defined by her disorder, cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow.
This book is great for grades 5 and older.
Confessions of a Former Bully, Beth Adams
Ever wonder what goes on in the mind of someone who bullies? What if you’re the bully? Katie never thought of herself as a bully. She may occasionally exclude kids from games or say some harsh things to her friends every once and a while but it’s not like she ever got physical with anyone. So what’s the big deal, right? After Katie gets caught teasing a schoolmate, she faces consequences for her actions. The consequences help Katie realize that bullying has hurt not only the people around her, but her, too. And that words can hurt. Told from the unusual perspective of the aggressor, Confessions of a Former Bully provides kids with real life tips and tools they can use to help identify and overcome emotional bullying.
This book is great for students in middle school.
Wonder, R.J. Palacio
August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. The book begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. Dubbed “a meditation on kindness”—this book will ensure that every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.
This book is best for grades 5-7
The Adventures of Emery Jones Boy Science Wonder, Charles and Elsheba Johnson
Emery Jones is a genius. He even built a robot butler to get out of doing his chores. Despite his brains, however, Emery’s life isn’t easy. The other students don’t understand him, and that makes them lash out at him. When Emery accidentally sends one of the students who bullied him 190 million years back in time, he must figure out how to save him…or even if he wants to.
Told from the perspective of Emery’s best friend, Gabby, The Adventures of Emery Jones is sure to thrill and delight students. Combining an engaging story with real, tough lessons about responsibility and forgiveness, this book is an excellent way to open up discussions with students about the impact of words.
This book is best for students in grades 5-9.
The Survival Guide to Bullying, Aija Mayrock
The Survival Guide to Bullying covers everything from cyberbullying to how to deal with fear and how to create the life you dream of having. From inspiring “roems” (rap poems), survival tips, personal stories, and quick quizzes, this book will light the way to a brighter future for students from all walks of life.
This book is best for grades 5 and up.
What books would you recommend to promote Anti-Bullying? Share your top picks below in the comments section.
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