Too many children are bullied. The National Center for Educational Statistics reports that one out of every four students report being bullied during the school year. That’s a depressing statistic, but it doesn’t have to be a hopeless one. Another study indicated that school-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25%. That’s a huge impact and completely doable; the Stomp Out Bullying website will send information to anyone interested in starting a program at their school. Unfortunately, sixty-four percent of children who were bullied did not report the incident; it’s heart-breaking to think that children and teens aren’t asking for help. Books can be great conversation starters though and even offer suggestions on how to handle bullying. Here are some recommended picture books for elementary aged children. Adults and older children can ask a librarian to point you in the right direction for additional titles.
Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty, by G. Neri, is based on a real child who lived and died on the streets of Chicago. Only eleven years old and already with an extensive criminal background, he was a child, but he was also a gang initiate and had been stealing his whole life. His father was in jail, his mother was on the streets, and he was being raised by his grandmother, as best she could, so she said. This book takes a look at Yummy’s life from the perspective of another young boy who knew him…went to school with him…lived near him…and whose brother was in the gang with him.
Myers takes readers inside the walls of a juvenile corrections facility in this gritty novel. Fourteen-year-old Reese is in the second year of his sentence for stealing prescription pads and selling them to a neighborhood dealer. He fears that his life is headed in a direction that will inevitably lead him “upstate,” to the kind of prison you don’t leave. His determination to claw his way out of the downward spiral is tested when he stands up to defend a weaker boy, and the resulting recriminations only seem to reinforce the impossibility of escaping a hopeless future.
Coming soon ... Envy (an Empty Coffin novel) by Gregg Olsen: Fifteen-year-old twins Hayley and Taylor Ryan of Port Gamble, WA, known as "Empty Coffin" because of a local legend, investigate a former friend's Christmas suicide and, along the way, discover a secret from their own past.
Gray hopes that going to a slumber party with the "Lucky Seven" at her private school will take her mind off her mother's cancer, but when she is taken from the party by a deranged woman, both she and the other girls discover things about themselves and each other.
A quirky and utterly logical seventh-grade girl named Emma-Jean Lazarus discovers some interesting results when she gets involved in the messy everyday problems of her peers.
This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. You can browse our book matches here.
Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess
Haunted by flashbacks, fifteen-year-old Meredith learns that three years in prison has not changed the abusive father who molested her.
If you like Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess, you might like these books:
Lessons from a Dead Girl by Johanna Knowles
An unflinching story of a troubled friendship -- and one girl's struggle to come to terms with secrets and shame and find her own power to heal. Leah Greene is dead. For Laine, knowing what really happened and the awful feeling that she is, in some way, responsible set her on a journey of painful self-discovery. Yes, she wished for this. She hated Leah that much. Hated her for all the times in the closet, when Leah made her do those things. They were just practicing, Leah said. But why did Leah choose her? Was she special, or just easy to control? And why didn't Laine make it stop sooner?
Light on Snow by Anita Shreve
Written from the point of view of 30-year-old Nicky as she recalls the vivid December day, 19 years earlier, when she and her father found an abandoned infant in the snow, this is a beautiful contemporary novel about love and memory.
Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff
LaVaughn is saving money for college, babysitting for a single mother whose life is out of control! Meanwhile, LaVaughn and her friends have other things to figure out.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Reachout.com and YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) have teamed up to offer ReachOut Reads, a selection of YA fiction titles that address tough topics like bullying, depression, eating disorders, self-mutilation and suicide. Throughout May, Reachout.com will also be hosting a series of live chats with YA authors. Visit reachout.com/reachoutreads for more information.
This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah's voice recounting the events leading up to her death.
Here are some books that deal with themes similar to Thirteen Reasons Why:
Aimee by Mary Beth Miller
After she is accused of playing a role in her best friend's death, a young woman battles depression, anger, guilt, loneliness, and the problems of her own family as well as those of the families of her old friends.
By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
High school student Daelyn Rice, who's been bullied throughout her school career and has more than once attempted suicide, again makes plans to kill herself, in spite of the persistent attempts of an unusual boy to draw her out.
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Sixteen-year-old Valerie, whose boyfriend Nick committed a school shooting at the end of their junior year, struggles to cope with integrating herself back into high school life, unsure herself whether she was a hero or a villain.
Hold Still by Nina LaCour
Ingrid didn't leave a note. Three months after her best friend's suicide, Caitlin finds what she left instead: a journal, hidden under Caitlin's bed.