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Are you always looking for ways to build a classroom community? Many times, this involves having different students work together. Additionally, it recognizes students for being kind and helpful to each other. While this is important all year long, it deserves a special focus during October for Anti-Bullying Month! Honestly, students genuinely need to understand why bullying is so wrong and hurtful. Luckily, there are fantastic picture books for Anti-Bullying Month! Every selection will inspire students to always be kind.
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#1- Tough by Erin Frankel
Do you ever reflect on how different school is for our students than we experienced? While changes are normal to occur over time, students are under so much pressure. Our students can lose sight of who they are with all of the pressure they are under. This is exactly the case with Sam. She spends her time trying to look “cool” at school. This means she thinks she has to withstand others being mean and not working together. Sadly, this causes her to tease a free-spirited classmate. She even gets a friend to join in on the teasing. A concerned teacher confronts Sam and her friend to talk about this bullying. Luckily, this eye-opening conversation shows Sam her actions have been mean and hurtful. Students will love to see Sam evolve from cover to cover!
Students will love this book so much. Thankfully, this series has three books to explain a different bullying experience. This is a great way to build connections with students! I love how the entire series shows students how to face challenges, stand up for what is right, and be kind to all.
#2- My Last Best Friend by Julie Bowe
Ida May experienced some of the toughest heartaches a fourth grader can- her best friend moved away! Sadly, Ida May really doesn’t have any other friends, thanks to a bratty, bossy classmate. However, Ida May insists she does not mind and vows to never have a best friend again.
Everything changes when Stacey Merriweather arrives at school. Since Ida knows what it is like to be lonely, she reaches out to Stacey through anonymous notes. While the girls continue talking like this, Ida May eventually reveals herself. While this story begins with heartache, it has a happy ending with a true friendship forming.
As you’re looking for more books to read during the fall, check out Fall Mentor Texts for the Elementary Classroom. These are great ways to remind students to be grateful for all the kind, caring people in their lives.
#3- The Juice Box Bully by Bob Sornson
Do you often tell students not to stand by while someone does something wrong? Honestly, teachers have this conversation every year! It takes a lot of courage and confidence for students to stand up versus being a bystander.
Using picture books for Anti-Bullying Month shows students how to stand up for what is right. They will learn this through the perspective of Pete’s new classmates. They have two options. First, they could be bystanders and just watch when Pete misbehaves. Second, they could help him make “The Promise” and stop being a bully. Thankfully, Pete’s classmates select the second option!
#4- The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
Do you have students who often wear the same clothes to school? Unfortunately, many families cannot afford to buy their children multiple outfits. Sadly, this leads to students getting teased and made fun of.
This is exactly the situation with Wanda Petronski. While she tells her classmates she has one hundred dresses at home, they know she wears the same faded blue dress daily. After leaving early one day, her classmates feel awful about their behavior. Luckily, there is a classmate who promises never to stand by again. Students will love to see how a classmate went from being a bystander to gaining the courage to speak up!
#5- My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig
Honestly, this is a story many of our students will relate to! It is the story of Monica and Katie- two girls who have been best friends since kindergarten. Sadly, Katie has changed and uses Monica as her target. Monica does not understand why Katie is being mean, calling her names, and purposely embarrassing her. Thankfully, Monica opens up to her mom. This conversation provides Katie with the strength needed to stand up to Monica’s bullying.
Truthfully, this book is fantastic for students, teachers, counselors, and parents. It shows the importance of opening up to a caring adult and never allowing someone to put you down.
#6- Goal by Mina Javaherbin
Ajani and his friends love playing with their soccer ball. However, it is not just a regular soccer ball. It is a brand-new, federation-size soccer ball! Since they live in a South African town, it is hard to come by this type. So, they play with it non-stop. Sadly, this excitement stops when bullies try to steal the ball. Readers will be on the edge of their seats while seeing how Ajani and his friends get their ball back.
Books have the power to change lives. They allow students to visit places worldwide and learn vital life-long skills. Additionally, reading even allows students to learn all about holidays, such as the Halloween Mentor Texts! There are even Halloween Close Read Passages to teach students about key aspects of Halloween while becoming stronger readers. Whether looking for books to help students believe in themselves or picture books for Anti-Bullying Month, there are many options! Thankfully, this means there are books for everyone to connect with.
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