It's easy to picture bullying as obvious teasing that happens in the schoolyard, but it can take many different forms, from cruel name-calling to physical threats and rumors started from behind a keyboard. These books not only show the dangers of bullying, but also model appropriate responses to it for kids in upper elementary and middle school.
This is so important because even if kids are not bullies or victims of bullying themselves, many are bystanders to it. Middle school brings with it cliques, social media, and shifting social dynamics that can make bullying easier and more hidden. However, these titles will give your child the guidance and experience to navigate tough situations — learning how to notice bullying, stop it, and learn from it.
Kids can gain so much knowledge from someone else's experiences, even if that someone else is a book character. For instance, The Secret Battle of Evan Pao is an inspiring story about a Chinese American boy who learns how to stand up for himself, embrace his differences, and muster up the courage to forgive his bully. Chapter books with relatable topics reinforce important social-emotional lessons that will help the reader navigate tough situations in middle school and beyond.
To continue the discussion with your child, here are books for all ages that promote kindness and empathy. Explore more children's books by age and topic, including books to read by age 13 and books about being different.
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