21 Anti-Bullying Books Every Kid Should Read

Did you know October is National Bullying Prevention Month? Bullying is an issue that many kids deal with on a day-to-day basis. For kids who may be bullies, it’s important to get to the real source of why they’re lashing out, and for kids being picked on, they need to know they’re supported and that it’s okay to be different. Whether your child is the bully or the one being picked on, everyone can learn something about empathy and how to positively express themselves in these books for readers 8+!

1. Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

Four misfits are brought together when a bully plays a mean prank on Virgil and traps him and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. Now, Kaori, Gen, and Valencia are lead on a quest to find and rescue him and put the bully in his place. This book is special because it’s not only from the perspective of the four heroes, but the reader also enters the mind of the bully for a unique story of alternating perspectives and ultimate self-discovery.

2. Alan Cole is Not a Coward by Eric Bell

When Alan’s brother, Nathan, threatens to out him to the whole school unless he beats him in a high-stakes round of Cole vs. Cole, Alan must face his fears to complete seven nearly impossible tasks. Besides becoming the most well-known kid in school, Alan must stand up to his father, get his first kiss, and prove to Nathan, the world, and himself, that he’s no coward!

3. Let’s Pretend We Never Met by Melissa Walker

Mattie Markham thinks it should be illegal to change schools in the middle of the school year, but when she meets her neighbor Agnes, Mattie pushes aside her worries. But when she starts school, Mattie learns that Agnes is known as the weird girl who no one likes, and must decide if fitting in and being popular is worth ending their friendship.

4. Real Friends by Shannon Hale

As the most popular girl in school, everyone wants to be in Jen’s circle of friends. But getting in The Group isn’t easy, and staying in it can be even harder. Some girls would do whatever it takes — even if it means bullying others, so when Shannon’s best friend starts hanging out with Jen, she must decide to stand up for herself and fight for her and Adrienne’s friendship.

5. Superstar by Mandy Davis

When Lester’s mom goes back to work after his father, an astronaut, dies, home-schooled Lester must transition to a public school for the first time. As he acclimates to a new routine full of rules he doesn’t always understand, Lester focuses on one exciting thing — winning the school science fair and beating the bully at his own game!

6. Hamstersaurus Rex by Tom O’Donnell

In this first book of a funny, illustrated series perfect for reluctant readers, Sam will do anything to protect Hamstersaurus Rex from Kiefer “Beefer” Vanderkoff, the worst bully in the history of Horace Hotwater Middle School. The bully isn’t afraid of some weird little class pet. But maybe he should be…

7. Posted by John David Anderson

When cellphones are banned at school, the students find a new way to communicate by leaving post-it-notes around the school. But in this school, words aren’t just words, they’re also weapons and gifts used to reveal each other’s secrets and show support when a classmate is in need.

8. New Kid by Tim Green

Starting over as the new kid is never easy, but when Brock friends the bully from the wrong side of the tracks, his transition to his new town becomes even harder. When a prank goes wrong, and the baseball coach notices Brock, he suddenly finds himself on the school’s failing baseball team, where he’ll have to prove himself on and off the field.

9. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

When Auggie Pullman starts school for the first time, he’s determined to fit in. Being the new kid is hard, but being the new kid with a facial deformity is even more difficult. When Auggie starts getting bullied, he must learn who his true friends are and find the confidence to stand up to those who don’t believe he belongs in school.

10. Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson

Emmie is a shy, artistic girl — the complete opposite of popular, outgoing Katie. When an embarrassing note accidentally falls into the wrong hands, their lives unexpectedly intersect and the drama unfolds. Emmie suddenly finds herself in the spotlight and not all the attention is positive.

11. Loser by Jerry Spinelli

Branded a “loser” by his classmates, Donald Zinkoff doesn’t see that he’s any different from any of his other classmates. When disaster strikes one snowy evening, Zinkoff sets off to help and proves that there’s more to him than his classmates’ label would suggest.

12. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella of Frell has the “gift” of obedience, which means she must obey any order given to her, no matter how horrible it is! When her father remarries and brings into Ella’s life two rotten stepsisters, her curse forces her to do their bidding and let them bully her. Unwilling to accept this fate, strong-willed Ella sets out on an adventure filled with princes, ogres, giants, and fairy godmothers to break the curse forever.

13. The Thickety: A Path Beings by J.A. White

Kara’s mother was convicted of witchcraft when she was just a little girl. Now, years later, she and her little brother are still shunned by the people in their village who believe there’s nothing more evil than magic, except perhaps the Thickety that surrounds their island. When Kara gets lured into the woods, she discovers that there may have been more to her mother, and to herself, than she ever imagined…

14. Blubber by Judy Blume

This story is told from the perspective of Jill Brenner who turns from being a bully to the one being bullied when she accuses “Blubber,” an awkward and over-weight girl in her class, of getting her in trouble. She and her classmates hold a mock trial for Blubber where Jill finally stands up to her best friend and sets the class on edge.

15. Inside Out and Back Again by J.A. White

Inspired by the author’s own childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam and immigrating to Alabama, Inside Out and Back Again tells the story of Hà whose family escapes Vietnam during the war to live in America. In America, Hà must adapt to a new culture and a new life that is so much different than the one she left behind.

16. Hero by Sarah Lean

Leo has always struggled making friends, so when the cool kids invite him to hang out, he’s thrilled to be included, even if some of the things they pressure him into doing are mean. When he accidently does something that makes the town think he’s a hero, Leo decides to go with it, even if it’s a lie. But will he find the courage to be a real hero when the time comes?

17. Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Red is her neighborhood’s “wishtree.” The occupants write down their wishes and hang them from her branches on pieces of cloth. When a new family moves into the neighborhood and not everyone is welcoming, Red must use her experiences as a wishtree to set things right.

18. Bridget Wilder: Spy in Training by Jonathan Bernstein

When the Doom Patrol takes their bullying to new heights and picks on Dale Tookey (who once smiled at Bridget, probably) Bridget Wilder must use her new spy techniques to stand up for what’s right in this first book in a three-book series.

19. Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Spirit Week Showdown by Crystal Allen

Nine-year-old Mya Tibbs can’t wait to partner up with her best friend Naomi for Spirit Week! But when the partner picking goes horribly wrong, Mya gets paired with Mean Connie Tate — the biggest bully in school. Now, with her best friend mad at her and the school calling her names, Mya must find a way to put the spunk back in Spirit Week and work with Connie to win the VIP tickets to the Fall Festival.

20. The Other Boy by M.G. Hennessey

Shane Wood is just a regular kid; he likes comics, pitching for the baseball team, and spending time with his best friend, Josh. But Shane also has a secret — he was born a girl. When the school bully discovers this, Shane’s whole world comes crashing down and he must find the courage to stay true to himself and show the world he’s still the same boy he was before.

21. Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry

Because of her Tourette syndrome, Calliope June can’t always control the faces she makes or the noises that come out of her mouth. Now, as the new kid in school, she’s determined to hide her TS, but the students eventually realize that she’s different. Only her neighbor, who is also the most popular student in school, sees her as a good friend and interesting person, but not even he may be brave enough to take their friendship public.

What do you think of our list? Are there any books you would add or any advice you would give to kids currently struggling with bullying?