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Book Club — Elementary

The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin

By Joe Troiano and illustrated by Susan Banta

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten – 4th Grade

Spookley the Square Pumpkin is a square pumpkin who lives in a round pumpkin patch world. The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin, available as both a book and movie, delivers a message of tolerance and kindness in a fun, accessible format that is easily grasped by young students. By making these advanced concepts easily understood by early learners, teachers can help stop bullying before it begins.

This online toolkit includes resources educators can use to effectively present The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin as a multi-subject learning opportunity. The core elements of the online toolkit involve a reading of the book supplemented by downloadable lesson plans and other activities that teach bullying prevention and character values.

Access the online toolkit “Stop Bullying Before It Starts”

Henri and the Magnificent Snort

Written by Samantha Childs; Illustrated by Hannah Farr

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten – 4th Grade

Henri is a joyful French bulldog with a happy life – and a magnificent snort! But when his family moves, he is bullied for the first time. Henri is launched on an adventure to learn about himself and the world, and to discover how lovable he truly is. Equal parts charming and inspiring, readers will delight in and adore Henri and be moved by powerful messages of kindness and respect for all beings.

Download the classroom discussion questions.

Bullying and the Beautiful Truth |

Super Kena

Written by: Becky Cymbaluk. Illustrated by Zuzana Svobodova

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten – 4th Grade

Fierceness comes in many forms, but Super Kena's arrives in powerful determination. When kids at school make fun of her hearing aids, she gets a super idea. She will gather her differently-abled classmates to create a team of super heroes. There's Amazing Anna, whose glasses give her perfect vision. An insulin pump helps Watchful Wendy fight her diabetes. Using his super wheelchair to zip around is Zippy Zach. Quiet Quinn battles his stutter with the help of his speech teacher. A food allergy is no match for Precise Priya, who always makes sure to be careful around peanuts. And Determined Danny can run as fast as the wind with the power of his asthma inhaler. Together, they will use their superpowers to make a difference in the world – by spreading understanding and acceptance . . . one classroom at a time.

I Can Help

Written by: Reem Faruqi. Illustrated by Mikela Prevost

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten – 4th Grade

When Ms. Underwood asks if anyone wants to help Kyle, Zahra always volunteers. She loves spending time with Kyle – he’s creative and generous, and he makes the funniest jokes at lunch. But when Zahra’s other classmates start teasing her for helping him, she starts making choices she regrets.

I Can Help is a gentle, sensitive portrayal of reaching out, facing peer pressure, and learning from past mistakes. With thoughtful storytelling and poignant illustrations, this book will open discussions about choosing kindness in the classroom and beyond.

My Footprints

Written by Bao Phi, Illustrated by Basia Tran

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten – 4th Grade

Every child feels different in some way, but Thuy feels “double different.” She is Vietnamese American and she has two moms.  Thuy walks home one winter afternoon, angry and lonely after experiencing bullying. Then a bird catches her attention and sets thuy on an imaginary exploration. What if she could fly away like a bird? What if she could sprint like a deer, or roar like a bear? Mimicking the footprints of each creature in the snow, she makes her way home to the arms of her moms. Together, the three of them imagine beautiful and powerful creatures who always have courage – just like Thuy.

Don’t Blame Hazel

Written by: R.G. Frazia

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten – 4th Grade

Hazel may dress different but she loves the way she looks. At her new school Hazel is bullied over and over until one day someone who bullied her shows up at her front door as a slimy green toad!! What happens next may surprise you... "Don't Blame Hazel!" is a story that helps children recognize signs of bullying. It will encourage them to be themselves and empower them to maintain their individuality and confidence. They will discover that those who bully sometimes have their own weaknesses, and that through understanding and forgiveness, a new friendship can be formed.

Download the classroom discussion questions.

Smitty Tackles Bullying

Written by Wade Smith and illustrations by James Little

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten – 5th Grade

Smitty is one year older and a year wiser since readers last saw him. He has truly discovered his love of reading and is doing great in class and on the field, but when Smitty begins to notice his best friend, Luke, is skipping out of Reading Lab, he decides to investigate. What Smitty finds is that someone is bullying Luke because he isn't a strong reader! Smitty knows he needs to take action. He confronts the bully and tries to apply his dad's saying of, "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar." Smitty uses kindness and understanding to conquer the bully, and in the end makes a new friend and finds a way to help Luke with his reading. This charming picture book is the perfect story for kids who may be dealing with bullying themselves, and proves that it isn't ok to just stand by the sidelines. Sometimes, kindness, understanding, and true friendship are the keys to tackling bullying.

Download the classroom discussion questions.

Chisom The Champ

Written by Dr. Irene Okoronkwo-Obika

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten – 4th Grade

Enter into the life of Chisom, a young Nigerian boy, who gets bullied for his cultural identity. He discovers that his strength is actually found in his family upbringing and in embracing his cultural values. The story of Chisom teaches children across the world that self-love is key to overcoming bullies and other interpersonal obstacles experienced in life’s journey.

Should I Speak Up?

Written by: Olivia and Rinnah Maduabuchi   Illustrated: by Abidi and Solati

Suggested Audiences: Grades 1-5

A children’s illustrated book that empowers kids to stand for what is right:
Zinny didn’t understand why kids who were mistreated kept quiet, until she sees her friend Chloe in the same situation. Zinny confronts her friend to enquire why she did not stand up for herself. What did Zinny’s friend reveal? Will Zinny and her friend continue to keep quiet or will they speak up? Should I Speak up? is a simple but powerful story about friendship, encouragement, overcoming fear and speaking up for one’s self and others.

Bubbles the Beautiful Butterfly: And The Bully That Chloe Conquers

Written by Aria Craig. Illustrated by Janine Carrington

Suggested Audiences: Grades 1 to 5

A children's book for girls and boys who struggle with the pressures of bullying and the impact it has on their self-esteem. The book touches on: empowerment, self-esteem, encouragement, bravery, and confidence. 10-year old Chloe is a beautiful girl with a very unique smile who lives with her parents and dog, Snuffles. However, her mom and dad are unaware that when Chloe heads off to school she is teased because of her smile and deals with the struggles kids face when bullied. Chloe meets Bubbles the Beautiful Butterfly, who empowers her with tools to build confidence and help conquer the bullying situation.

If Only You Knew

Written and Illustrated by Iona Cordero

Suggested Audiences: Grades 1 to 5

If Only You Knew is a heartfelt story about a boy named Joey who wakes up every morning with the hopes of making his mother proud with all that he learns in school. But then he finds himself being bullied in not just one but all his classes every day by some fellow classmates. He's unable to concentrate on his school work and feels scared and alone, not knowing where to go or who to tell. Find out how Joey learns that finding his courage and facing his fears would bring him the greatest joy within himself, at school and at home, to last him a lifetime.

Bully on the Bus

Written by Kathryn Apel

Suggested Audiences: Grade 2 and older

All the emotions seven-year-old Leroy experiences as the bully on the bus taunts and threatens him are perfectly captured in this sensitive and beautifully written verse novel. The heartwarming ending is empowering and offers courage to anyone who’s ever felt small.

Discussion questions

Dexter the Tough

By Margaret Peterson Haddix

Suggested Audiences: Grade 2 and older

It's only the first day of school for Dexter, but he's already mad at the principal, and the secretary, and the janitor, and the kids who laugh at him. When his teacher tells the class to write a story, Dexter writes about how tough he is -- and how he's already gotten into a fight. Is any of Dexter's story true? Why was the other boy crying before Dexter hit him? And why would the other boy still want to be Dexter's friend?

Even Dexter doesn't know the answers to some of those questions. But as he deals with family problems, a persistent teacher, and a boy who's strangely interested in floor wax, he discovers many surprises hidden in his own tale.

Dancing Home

By Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta

Suggested Audiences: Grade 3 and older

Mexico may be her parents’ home, but it’s certainly not Margie’s. She has finally convinced the other kids at school she is one-hundred percent American—just like them. But when her Mexican cousin Lupe visits, the image she’s created for herself crumbles.

Things aren’t easy for Lupe, either. Mexico hadn’t felt like home since her father went North to find work. Lupe’s hope of seeing him in the United States comforts her some, but learning a new language in a new school is tough. Lupe, as much as Margie, is in need of a friend.

Little by little, the girls’ individual steps find the rhythm of one shared dance, and they learn what “home” really means. In the tradition of My Name is Maria Isabel—and simultaneously published in English and in Spanish—Alma Flor Ada and her son Gabriel M. Zubizarreta offer an honest story of family, friendship, and the classic immigrant experience: becoming part of something new, while straying true to who you are.


By Nora Raleigh Baskin

Suggested Audiences: Grade 3 and older

Elizabeth Moon grew up around dogs. Her mom runs a boarding kennel out of their home, so she’s seen how dogs behave to determine pack order. Her experience in middle school is uncomfortably similar.

Maggie hates how Elizabeth acts so much better than everyone else. Besides, she’s always covered in dog hair. And she smells. So Maggie creates a fake profile on a popular social networking site to teach Elizabeth a lesson.

What makes someone who bullies, and what makes a target? It’s all in the perspective, and the dynamics shift. From sibling rivalries to mean girl antics, the varying points of view show the many shades of gray in this illuminating novel from the award-winning author of Anything But Typical—because middle school is anything but black and white.

Drew and the Cyber Bully (1st Edition)

Written by Justine Danielle Del Monte,
Illustrated by Brandon Chappell

Suggested Audiences: Grade 2 and older

Drew and Boo use their cell phones and computers for fun and school! But soon discover that the online world is not all fun and games. They experience firsthand the pros and cons of social media when a cyberbully hacks into Drew's phone! Now they must come face to face with the cyberbully in-person! Through simple rhyming, the children's story aims to reinforce positivity on social media, even when receiving unkind feedback, and teaches young children about being polite when using the internet.

Download the free guide “Discussion Points.”

Lead With Your Heart

Written and illustrated by Jena Ball

Suggested Audiences: Grades 1-6 and beyond

The heartwarming story of a misunderstood pit bull and a very shy little girl named Reny. Together, with the help of friends, family, and a goofy pack of mixed breed dogs, they confront and overcome the challenges of being misjudged and bullied.

The adventure begins when Lance is adopted by Reny's family and must learn to be an "inside dog." He and the quiet little girl become buddies when Lance tries to help Reny overcome her anxiety about school where she is being teased and bullied. However, it quickly becomes apparent that Lance has problems of his own. Big, black and tough-looking, Lance often frightens people who don't know him. He is thrust into the limelight of a bigger problem when Mrs. Krutch, a grown-up who bullies, introduces a law to ban pit bulls from the town.

It takes a petition signing campaign, an appearance at city hall by everyone involved, and an act of courage by Reny to defeat the proposed law. In the end, it is Reny's ability to lead with her heart and speak her truth that overcomes Mrs. Krutch's fear and reminds everyone not to judge a book by its cover.

The Grumpy Bull

Written and illustrated by Adrienne Kummerl

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten to 4th grade

A grumpy bull walks into a village seeing animals of different color, shapes, and sizes. The bull can’t believe his eyes and points, laughs and criticizes. A lion approaches the bull and begins to explain without strife about differences as he teaches the bull an important lesson in life.

The Good, the Bad, and the Bullies

Written by Levi Fallavollita
Illustrated by Gabe Villa

Suggested Audiences: 2nd to 4th grade

Young author Levi Fallavollita and his friend Gabe Villa collaborated to tell their story about bullying in the hopes that their book will raise awareness about bullying and help other students who are struggling. Now in middle school, Levi and Gabe know what it’s like to be bullied, and this simple, powerful story will touch students and adults alike.

Bullied Comics

Written and Illustrated by Daniel Keane

Suggested Audiences: 1st to 8th grade

July 2014 marks the release of the first issue of “Bullied Comic.” This is a story about Joshua who, while just trying to get through school like everyone else, encounters a bullying problem. This story is told from the children’s point of view. It is a story of friendship, betrayal, parenting, and acceptance. Author Daniel Keane believes that “art has the ability to make the world a better place and unite people all over the world. Watch for future issues of the soon-to-be series!

My Secret Bully

By Trudy Ludwig

Suggested Audience: Elementary School

A touching, inspirational story targeted for 5- to 11-year-olds, My Secret Bully instantly draws young readers into Monica's world where she is bullied by a friend and learns how to cope and thrive. Relational aggression is an act of emotional bullying hidden among tightly knit networks of friends. Instead of using knives and fists to bully others, emotional bullies employ relationships, words, and gestures as their weapons of attack. Emotional bullying is often dismissed as a normal rite of passage, but research shows it is as harmful as physical aggression, with devastating, long-term effects.

Name-calling, humiliation, exclusion, and manipulation are some bullying tactics Monica's friend Katie employs. Monica learns to face her fears of betrayal and social isolation and reclaims her power from the bully with the help of a supportive adult - her mother. Included in this wonderful resource for children, parents, teachers, and counselors are helpful tips, discussion questions, and additional information.

Just Kidding

By Trudy Ludwig

Suggested Audience: Elementary School

When Teasing Is No Laughing Matter. A joke that has a sharp edge to it can cut you to pieces. That’s what D.J. finds out from his encounters with Vince, a smart-aleck classmate whose biting humor is more hurtful than funny. With the help of his dad and teacher, D.J. learns how to stand up to put downs and make healthier friendship choices.

A beautifully illustrated story, Just Kidding captures the truth of harmful teasing when children hide behind the words “just kidding” after treating others in embarrassing, hurtful or mean-spirited ways.

A great resource for children and all who work with them, Just Kidding includes useful tips, discussion questions and additional information to help young readers understand that one-sided fun really isn't much fun after all.

The Invisible Boy

By Trudy Ludwig

Suggested Audience: Elementary School

Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party…until, that is, a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine. Author Trudy Ludwig shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish.

Loukoumi and the Schoolyard Bully

By Nick Katsoris

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten – 4th Grade

Our names are an important part of who we are, so having someone make fun of your name can hurt a lot – and make you feel bad about who you are. In this story, Loukoumi is about to have a baby brother. When her friends discuss what to name him, Igor the alligator makes fun of Loukoumi’s name. With kindness and the support of her friends, Loukoumi leads Igor to see that bullying isn’t okay.

The audio narration of this book features award-winning actors Morgan Freeman, Nia Vardalos, and Olympia Dukakis.

Watch Loukoumi's story unfold!
You can watch the Make a Difference with Loukoumi TV Special online. It's a great opportunity to watch an engaging, educational, and fun show with your kids. Look for PACER's Kids Against Bullying pledge during the show!

Heart Eyes: Beth and the Bullies

By Vicki Chandler

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten – 4th Grade

Heart Eyes: Beth and the Bullies addresses the impact that bullying can have on bystanders, including making them fearful of reporting bullying. Parents and educators will find this book helpful when teaching bystanders how they can create a safer place. The central character, Beth, sees others differently. With her heart eyes she notices the pain and potential in children who are bullied. Her story will inspire readers to find creative, non-confrontational solutions to bullying.

The book includes follow-up questions adults can use to guide discussions. The author, Vicki Chandler, shares the collective frustration about bullying as a parent (her son has ADHD and was bullied) as an adjunct professor (teaching special education courses at Cairn University), and as a former school administrator, special education teacher, and classroom teacher.

The Weird Series

by Erin Frankel and illustrated by Paula Heaphy

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten – 4th Grade

These three books tell the story of an ongoing case of bullying from three third graders’ perspectives. Luisa describes being targeted by bullying in Weird! Jayla shares her experience as a bystander to bullying in Dare! And in Tough!, Sam speaks from the point of view of someone initiating bullying. Kids will easily relate to Luisa, Jayla, and Sam, as each girl has her own unique experience, eventually learning how to face her challenges with the help of friends, peers, and caring adults.

The books may be read separately or as a set; readers will enjoy tracking small details that carry over from one book to another. These books on bullying each conclude with “activity club” pages for kids, as well as information to help parents, teachers, counselors, and other adults reinforce the books’ messages and foster dialogue with children.

Nobody! A Story About Overcoming Bullying in Schools

by Erin Frankel and illustrated by Paula Heaphy

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten – 4th Grade

Thomas feels like no matter what he does, he can’t escape Kyle’s persistent bullying. At school, at soccer — nowhere feels safe! “Mom said Kyle would grow up over the summer and stop picking on me, but he didn’t grow up, he just grew.” With support from friends, classmates, and adults, Thomas starts to feel more confident in himself and his hobbies, while Kyle learns the importance of kindness to others. The book concludes with “activity club” pages for kids, as well as information to help parents, teachers, counselors, and other adults foster dialogue with children about ways to stop bullying

Great Things To Be

By Kenin O'Connor

Suggested Audiences: Ages 3-8

Great Things To Be, Mom's Choice Award Recipient, features upbeat rhymes and colorful, full-page illustrations that teach children positive characteristic traits that encourage and build up their self-esteem and improve their approach to life. Let’s help children choose kindness over bullying and confidence over self-doubt as they embrace these easy to understand messages.

Download the teacher / parent guide to Great Things To Be

The Bully and the Shrimp

By Catherine Allison and Kim Geyer

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten to 3rd grade

When small-for-his-age Noah Shrimpton moves to a new school, the class bully starts picking on him. Noah has no friends to support him and is afraid to tell anyone. He starts to use his journal to express himself, doodling all sorts of outlandish scenarios where he beats the bully (sometimes involving superheroes or giants!). Follow Noah as he learns to make friends and gain the confidence to stand up to the bully in this contemporary tale. Developed in conjunction with school teachers and child development experts, this picture book deals with the current issue of bullying in a sensitive way and is perfect for any school-aged child and their parents.

Download the special The Bully and the Shrimp doorknob hanger!

The Dinosaur’s New Shoes

Written by James S. Martinez, Illustrated by Timothy T. Civick

Suggested Audiences: Ages 5 to 12

The Dinosaur's New Shoes is a wonderfully inspiring story about Teddy T-Rex, a young dinosaur that, when he sees someone being bullied, stands up to the bullying, instead of just being a bystander. This story helps to teach children how to properly confront bullying and demonstrates how, through empathy, compassion and caring for others, that bullying can be overcome and eliminated. This book provides a way to open a fun dialogue with children, parents, and educators through a lovable and engaging role model, named Teddy T-Rex, with whom they can identify and follow his example. This book also includes resources for kids, parents and educators on anti-bullying, such as how to identify someone who bullies, who may be at risk, and how to properly respond to bullying. Parents and children will love the wonderful life lessons found in this book. “The Dinosaur’s New Shoes” will inspire all readers to change the world by helping those in need.

Frenemy Jane: The Sometimes Friend

By Stephanie Sorkin

Suggested Audiences: Ages 4 to 8

Have you ever felt like you’re riding a wave? Day to day, you don’t know how your friend will behave? Join us as we tackle the issue of a “sometimes friend.” Nice one day, not so nice the next!

Amanda’s Big Dream

Written by Judith Matz, illustrated by Elizabeth Patch

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten – 4th grade

Weight bullying is one of the most common forms of bullying faced by kids. Amanda’s Big Dream helps parents, teachers and other caregivers discuss this topic with children in an entertaining and positive way.

Amanda’s Big Dream is the engaging story of a girl who dreams of a solo in the Spring Ice Show. When her skating coach makes a comment about her weight, Amanda loses confidence in her ability to make her dream come true. Despite reassurances from her parents, her doctor, and her best friend, Amanda decides to quit skating. Will Amanda return to the ice? Or has she given up forever? Come along with Amanda as she realizes the true secret to following her big dream!

A Friend for Lakota: The Incredible True Story of a Wolf Who Braves Bullying

By Jim and Jamie Dutcher

Suggested Audiences: Preschool – 5th grade

In the heartwarming story of Lakota the shy wolf pup, readers will learn of Lakota’s strength growing up as the lowest ranking and frequently picked on member of a wolf pack until he finally finds that supportive and nurturing friend he always wanted. Matsi, the packs high ranking wolf, stands up for Lakota and through their friendship Lakota is able to open up and develop the courage to just be himself. The book also introduces young readers to the need for wildlife conservation awareness; through Lakota’s life story, children will come to understand the many challenges wolves in the wild face today.

A Wrinkled Heart

Written by Tracy Hoexter, Illustrated by Lindy Burnett

Suggested Audiences: Pre-K through 3rd Grade

A Wrinkled Heart is a touching and delightful story about learning to be kind to others. This eBook is based on a folktale long used by teachers to teach that words do matter. Elliott, a young bunny, encounters some friends who hurt his feelings and his heart begins to wrinkle… until it's all wrinkled up! Later, his friends and family apologize for their hurtful words and try to take the wrinkles out. Elliott feels better, but some wrinkles get left behind. He decides to always be careful with his words so he doesn't wrinkle anyone's heart. Readers learn the importance of kindness, friendship and the Golden Rule.

Gladys Glasses

Written by Harry E. Pacheco, Illustrated by Phill Villanueva

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten through 5th Grade

Gladys is an elephant going to school for the very first time, and is bullied because of her glasses. She teaches kids it’s okay to be different, to be nice to each other and gives them a few lessons on being nice no matter how you look like.

Stanley No Stripes

Written by Harry E. Pacheco, Illustrated by Phill Villanueva

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten through 5th Grade

A kind-hearted story about a teenage tiger with no stripes facing the adversity of being a late bloomer. As Stanley searches for acceptance amongst his friends he shows children the importance of being comfortable in their own skin. The story also gives our youth an incredible insight on trying to fit in through the peer pressures that occur in their everyday life.