Story time can be the perfect time to have conversations about big-hearted topics.

Story time can be the perfect time to have conversations about big-hearted topics.

Five Books to Help You Talk About Bullying 

Read and reflect to grow big hearts

We've seen the horrible impact of bullying in the headlines. We all know how hurtful mean kids can be.

Worse yet, we've all seen the capacity for mean-spirited play in our kids or ourselves from time to time. It’s not pretty, and most of the time we'd like to blame it on a bad night’s sleep. Still, it’s there just the same.

For a reminder of the many roles we all play in bullying, as the unhelpful bystanders, the victims, or the perpetrators, check out Dear Bully: 70 Authors Share Their Story by Jeannine Garsee. These popular young adult authors beautifully bring this issue to life.

Many schools, nonprofits, and parent groups are working hard to teach kindness and the golden rule early, with the hope and expectation that we can keep this problem from escalating. At Doing Good Together, we’re helping you bring this conversation home.

1. The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand up for Others by Rob Sornson and Maria Dismondy

Teach your kids how not to be a bystander with this story. One classroom has pledged to stand up for one another and to earnestly live by the golden rule. When the new kid starts to cause trouble, these classmates challenge one another to stay true to their pledge, ultimately teaching their new classmate what it means to be part of their community.

2. Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McLoud

This book pops up on every "kindness" themed list -- and for good reason. The message in this book is so clear and so motivating, that even the youngest children will set out at once to fill a bucket. Perhaps even more remarkable, older readers find it inspiring too! Thinking of bullies as people with empty buckets helps us all empathize with them.

3.  The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neil

This book is a lot of fun. It rhymes, it's totally relatable, and best of all, this book gives you ample opportunity to discuss how bullying begins and how to shut it down.

4. The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

What’s in a name, Shakespeare asked. For a child whose whole world is changing, the continuity of her own name may mean an awful lot. And friends who are willing to take the time to learn her name may mean even more. This is a great book about acceptance, friendship, and change.

5. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by David Catrow

Teach your children (and remind yourself) to be true to their own idiosyncrasies, in spite of teasing. This book will have your whole family cheering one another on for much-loved quirks.

And if you’d like to take your discussion even further, take a few minutes to do this simple Crumpled Paper Activity. Even the youngest of children will respond to this powerful metaphor. Mean words last long after an apology, just as the creases in the paper remain visible after it is smoothed out.

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