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.
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.
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.